Pittsburgh Steelers: Bleeding Black and Gold
I bleed black and gold. What true Steeler fan has not said that at one time or another?
It has been a while since I contributed to Nice Pick, Cowher. Between having some minor health issues that came with some annoying pain and moving from southern Georgia to Omaha, Nebraska, life has been hectic. However I’m glad to be able to contribute again and thankful for the welcome back from the NPC staff.
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Here’s one thing that has just irritated me lately: I grind my teeth whenever the announcers say “Pittsburgh fans travel well.” They rarely say that about Dallas fans, I imagine, because everyone KNOWS that Dallas is America’s team. Puh-lease! You people better put your glasses on. True Yinzers know that many of us moved to find better opportunities when there were some dark economic days in and around the ‘Burgh. I am among them. But, I never left the teams behind. During 10+ moves due to military repostings, I never stopped bleeding black and gold and I ALWAYS find others in the local area who do as well. After our recent move, my husband and I went to a local sports bar to watch the games. (Full disclosure: he’s a Giants fan, but we all can’t be perfect.) We often try to go where we can sit at the same table and each watch our teams. This particular sports bar has tons of screens and every game was on. As I look around, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the Steelers on the center screen in one of the three sections and all the tables in front of it full of people in Black and Gold! I just nodded my head because I knew. Steeler Nation is not regional. The Steelers may not be acknowledged as “American’s Team,” but I think that is OK with most of Steeler Nation. We know our team it’s place in the hearts of a wider population than the broadcasters tend to acknowledge. For example, I went to my new doctor and saw the receptionist has decorated his part of the office with Steelers memorabilia. It was overflowing! Of course, I asked if he was from the Pittsburgh area so I could have the obligatory discussion of what we both missed from the ‘Burgh. He wasn’t from Pittsburgh and had never been there. He was a fan because he liked how the team played when he was growing up. Steeler Nation is strong and has an appeal.
As the Steelers continue to have their ups and downs and fans get frustrated with coaches and players alike, one thing is certain. Steelers may travel to away games, but more than likely those Steeler fans you see at the away games are “locals” who are absolutely psyched to have their chance to see their team in person. Those of us geographically separated look at any empty seats at a home game with a wistfulness thinking: “I would have gotten tickets if I was in the area!” We are passionate and would you want anything else? Other teams and their fans may make fun of us, but secretly, they know why we are passionate. Yinzers have an expectation of hard work and 100% commitment from the organization, the coaches and the players. When they seem to fall short, we are quick to point it out even when it seems like a knee-jerk reaction. Accepting mediocrity is not why most of us would pay a small fortune to see our Steelers play.
I understand the regional nature of the NFL, but for heaven’s sake Chris Collingsworth, Phil Simms, Al Michaels, and the rest of you broadcasters, quit saying the Steeler fans travel well. Give us a bit more credit than that. Steeler Nation is everywhere and is fiercely loyal. It runs in our families and we love it. Occasionally, we find a convert, but it’s all the same passion. I bleed black and gold and I’m proud of it.