This should not come as a surprise to anybody: the Steelers' fan support across the country is unrivaled. Our fans are notoriously crazy and at times viewed as annoying.
But when is being passionate about something a crime?
So Steeler fans, grin from ear to ear—and Cowboys fans, please control your blood pressure—while I explain why America's Team wears black and gold.
Steeler fans are the best. You can talk all you want about the Green Bay fanatics; no one has the fans that we do.
We have fans that go to mass on Sundays in team apparel and with a priest that ends in time to catch the game. We have fans that have been known to jump into the freezing Ohio River after big wins. We have fans that wrap new born babies up with Terrible Towels in the hospital infirmary.
No outsiders could understand Pittsburgh's love affair with our team. It's a special bond passed down from generation to generation.
It's Steeler Nation and we're taking over!
Every visiting stadium always has a contingent of fans there to support them. Games in Jacksonville have been reported to have had 15,000 Steeler fans in 2008 and estimates close to 25,000 fans in 2004. In many instances, the fans travel well, but in most cases they are already in these cities far and wide.
Then there are the slumping years, not with the team, but with people in general. It's amazing that the Steelers' championship success has always coincided with tough times in the country and economy. When major industry collapsed and rising oil prices put the average American in a strain, they always had the best football team in the world to watch.
In Pittsburgh, the team did not solve the unemployment problem or bring back the steel mills, they simply gave people hope. Even today, when Pittsburgh has completely rebuilt itself from an industrial town to a thriving business center, the Steelers lift our spirits regardless of the current banking crisis.
How could you not love a team that is always there for you when you need them the most?
What about success? In case you haven't noticed, the team isn't too shabby, either. What better NFL team to be "America's Team" than one that is a perennial champion—much like the American spirit.
Finally, the Steelers are truly America's Team because they are not "America's Team." Pittsburgh would never have the audacity of trying to pass themselves off as superior to other teams. It's not in our attitude. The head-fake of this article is that Steeler fans don't want that title.
Little known fact: After the 1978 season, the NFL was making highlight reels for teams and asked team founder and owner Art Rooney if they could call his Steelers "America's Team" in the clip. Rooney vehemently refused and the league simply bestowed it on their second choice, the Dallas Cowboys. True story.
So, Steeler fans, rejoice, and all other fans of different teams, you are still Americans and Pittsburgh doesn't necessarily have to be your team. We have a classy organization from players, coaches, and especially the owners.
I sure am glad I was born in Pittsburgh and root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, America's Team!