When the Bethany Bell Tolled for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2009

It was my choice. I wanted to get away from my comfort zone, but not too far away.

And with that, I left my home in Ocean City, New Jersey, to attend Bethany College, in Bethany, W.Va., closest to Wheeling, W.Va., but also in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, the college was only an hour from Pittsburgh, Pa.

I am going to date myself a bit, but it will define my purpose of writing this story. You see I am a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. When I was 12 or so, I also liked the Oakland Raiders. As an Oakland Raiders fan, I loathed the " Immaculate Reception" and as an Eagles fan, I paid the Steelers no mind.

With this background, I attended Bethany College from the fall of 1976 to the spring of 1980. The Pittsburgh Steelers, during this time won Super Bowl titles in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 1980.

They won the Super Bowl so often and there were so many Steelers fans on campus that during my junior year, I thought the bells chimed for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers," I said to a friend, who was a Green Bay Packers fan.

"Yeah, it does sound like that," my friend chuckled.

My real quandary came when the Steelers played the Dallas Cowboys in the 1979 Super Bowl. Now, I hated the Cowboys for a long time, and my distaste for the Steelers was growing as the championship years built, the "One for The Thumb" campaign mounted and the Steelers jackets reproduced faster than a couple of rabbits across the campus.

If it were now, though, I think I would root for the Steelers, but then, in 1979, I might have sided with the 'Boys in said 1979 Supe.


It is now 2009, and the Steelers got their thumb ring in 2007. My distaste for them has grown, again, into indifference. I even like Ben Roethlisberger a bit. He is tough quarterback and a great leader.

My Facebook notices are somewhat like this: "Oh, you've been quiet since the Eagles lost in the playoffs." Profiles posts include: "I hope the Cardinals (sorry Scott) join the Steelers in the Super Bowl." Hey, yeah, thanks.

And really, if I had to come up with one side to root for, it might be the Steelers. It would give them their sixth Super Bowl championship, passing the Cowboys and 49ers, who each have five Super Bowl wins.

It is a time in my life I will never forget. A time when the Steelers ruled the football world. I took no great pleasure in their championships, but I marvel at the superiority of the team.

For whom the Bethany Tower Bell proclaim? It rings for me and the thousands of students who walked through the gates of Old Main and attended the Small College of Distinction.

Thy bell: It tolls for me.