Savoring Sixburgh

OK, so you non-football types are sick to death of all the game talk and can’t wait for it to be over. Don’t worry, it almost is. We just need a little time to savor (or sigh, depending on your allegiances).

Mike and I ended up at our local bar hangout for the game. First time we’ve done that and it was pretty fun, although I really missed hearing Tunch and Bill call the game. It’s so much more personal (and biased!).

Am I the only one that noticed that not once did the cameras pan the stands to show the fans, and not once did we see a sea of Terrible Towels waving (except briefly and out-of-focus in the background), nor did the network announcers talk about the ratio of Steelers fans to Cardinals fans? I had to listen to the post-game accounts to confirm that yes, there really were more Steelers fans there! I know the rest of the world gets sick of Steeler Nation and the tremendous support we give our team, and the NFL wants to downplay it to make it seem more “fair,” but to ignore it is just plain wrong. After all, nothing is stopping any other team’s fans from doing what we do.

But, back to the bar. Every table had some of these on it — after all, it was Sunday and Pittsburghers are God-loving/fearing people:steelerprayer3

I was worried people would be standing in front of us — we were sitting at a table just across from the bar (and the taps), with a great view of one of the TVs. I should have known that ‘Burgh fans are way more considerate than that. There weren’t many standers at all, and everyone was careful not to block anyone’s view.

I was surprised fans weren’t more rowdy. We didn’t hear “Here We Go” once, although they did play Renegade at the end of halftime. Someone had a horn that sounded like a moose, and someone else had a New Year’s Eve noisemaker. Other than that, it was just your typical yelling and towel-waving. I’m sure I embarrassed myself during Harrison’s impossible-yet-there-it-was interception return — a middle-aged woman screaming and jumping up and down. (That was the beginning of the throat pain that persists today.) In fact, that was one of the reasons I was a little worried about going in the first place — I’m a vocal fan, and I didn’t know how that would play out in public. I’m still not sure, but oh well.

What can you say about the game that hasn’t already be said, or felt, by everyone who was there or who watched it? Mike gets all caught up in reading the blogs and media accounts afterward — he so wants it to be a “clean and clear” victory with no controversy. Unless it’s a blowout, that never happens. He hates reading that people think the NFL (via the officials) gave us the game, or that Harrison or Santonio didn’t really deserve those touchdowns, or that Harrison should have been thrown out of the game for his behavior, etc. Or people who call us the “Stealers.”

I’m much more pragmatic: How many bad calls went against the Steelers this season? How many plays has James Harrison NOT been held this whole season? Do you think he might get a little frustrated about it from time to time? And didn’t we have as many crucial penalties called against us that reversed touchdowns and cost us points? Am I biased? Of course! But yesterday, things worked out our way, even though at one point all I could think of was, “This is how New England felt last year.”

We’re all still in shock, I think. And how can we top that victory parade and celebration from last time? (That one has to go down in the annals of football fan history.) Not counting the ceremonial Pro Bowl next Sunday (with very few Steelers in it), we now have a loooonnnggg, football-less winter to get through. At least I can do it wearing a new Sixburgh shirt from time to time and with a new sticker adorning my car to admire. I may even have to buy some Steelers Smiley cookies before they disappear (assuming they’ll be around for a little while yet), because when I stopped at E&P yesterday, there were none to be had. (The kid at the counter actually said, “We have Valentine hearts [Smiley cookies].”…..Uh, thanks but no thanks. Where are the Keebler elves when you need them?)

So, a little black-and-gold shopping is in order to wrap up this heart-stopping, surprising, highly improbable season. And some throat lozenges would be nice about now.

Those last couple of yards were probably tougher than
anything I’ve done in my life, but probably more
gratifying than anything I’ve done in football.
                         ~ James Harrison, talking
                               about you-know-what play


  1. jewels said,

    Monday, February 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    What a game! I think I chewed off all my fingernails, but it was so worth it in the end. I was at a Starbucks today and overheard these two middle-aged men complaining that it seemed like the Cardinals were getting “all the calls against them.” I just had to chuckle to myself. Don’t you just think that people hate winners? Think Yankees, Patriots, Red Sox…people love the underdog and AZ certainly fit the bill this year, but I’m so glad that we won!!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Ha ha, yes, I hate the Patriots for sure. My voice is slowly coming back 😉

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