As the four-day Thanksgiving comes to a close, I wanted to share a few stories that make me proud to be a Steelers fan. The first comes from a reader at Mondesi’s House:
I was in NYC for business over the past weekend and linked up with the New England rep and his fiancée to watch some football on Sunday. They're Patriot fans. Found out about a Steeler Bar in NYC, Scruffy Duffy's, donned my #36 jersey and headed over. An hour before kickoff, the place is filled with #7, #12, #32, #47, #58, #75, #86...........with more and more by the minute. As game time approaches, the Steeler polka and Here We Go is played. People are singing and my buddy asks me, "Do you know the words to this song?" Of course I do. Game starts and there's passion in the air. Folks are disappointed by the start, but no one has given up. The place is erupting with every key 3rd down pick up and exploding with Ben's touchdown run. After momentarily being silenced by Cribbs' return TD, the place builds up and explodes again with the final TD drive. Final Browns drive. The bar has a wheel that it spins with numbers associated with different plays that will result in a free drink: Interception return for TD, Fumble return for TD. The free drink for the second half was a 50 yard field goal. So as Dawson lines up, a make equals a free drink, and miss equals a victory. Victory is preferred to even a $6 beer and place goes crazy. Here We Go is being blasted again. High five and hugs for people who would be strangers if not for their Steelers garb.
The scene and passion of the past four hours has confused my Patriot friends. As we walk back to our hotel to begin going our separate ways, the comments I heard were:
- "Why don't we (Patriot fans) have a song?
- "I'm not sure I wouldn't have been rooting for the free beer."
- "Even the girls wear Steeler jerseys. And not those pink ones."
- "You guys (Steeler fans) are crazy."
- "Do you think they have Patriots' bars in other cities?"
I have also come to find out that my buddy bought a Pats #12 jersey on Monday. It's amazing what happens when fans of other teams get a glimpse at the Steeler Nation.
I have had discussions with folks over the years about the most passionate football fan base. I challenge anyone to prove that their team, whether it is the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, or, this season, the New England Patriots are more passionate or more wide-spread than the Steelers. Stories like the one above happen all over the world. Seriously. The Post-Gazette has a detailed list of Steeler bars, which includes places to watch the Steelers play in all 50 states, plus Canada, Iraq, Mexico, Japan, Germany, China, Brazil, Peru, Spain and more.
In case you wanted to make an argument for the Dallas Cowboys, since they are “America’s Team,” check out this story courtesy of the DC Steeler Nation group:
"The term was coined by sportswriter Bob Ryan in 1979, although he didn't have the Cowboys in mind when he created it." After the '78 season, the Cowboys had just lost a crushing Super Bowl to the Steelers," he recalls. "I wanted to come up with a different twist on a story I was doing. So, I asked the Rooney family if I could name the Pittsburgh Steelers, 'America's Team'. But, I was surprised when the Rooney family said no. The next year I asked the Cowboys franchise and they said yes." Other media personalities soon adopted the colorful phrase and within a matter of weeks football fans from coast to coast were referring to Dallas as America's Team. Surprisingly, Steelers owner Art Rooney still has no regrets about declining the honorific title. 'We didn't want that," he says. "We're a Pittsburgh team. We feel strongly about that."