I love old football footage from the '70s. Any Steeler fan does. But beyond watching the Steelers in action, I love the images of the outrageous hairstyles, outdated uniforms, stadiums long demolished, and immoderate fashions all artfully documented by NFL Films.
The faded footage reveals an America from a bygone era. My favorite shots are of stands filled with fans wearing unofficial, unlicensed street clothes. Even Steeler Patriarch, Art Rooney Sr., receiving his priceless first Lombardi, stands aloft in the Steeler locker room dressed in charcoal and lemon.
People wearing non-regulation, homespun versions of their team colors are a thing of the past.
Today, nearly every fan displays their team pride by donning the jersey of their favorite player on game day.
I have my selection from which to choose.
My vintage "88" with "McCann" ironed onto the back in fuzzy '70s font, bought for me while I was in grade school by my Dad, is taken out of its protective hanger bag for special occasions only.
My Roethlisberger jersey is never worn on Sundays or the team loses.
My Polamalu jersey is my "go to" gear, and it has never let me down since I first wore it to the Bears @ Steelers winter wonderland game in 2005.
Last but not least, my Pro Bowl Faneca jersey that was purchased for me on a previous Mother's day is so large, that I plan to have it custom fitted into a chic mini-dress just for the laugh.
Our jerseys show our team pride, but they also reveal a little bit about who we are.
I plan to buy my first "away" jersey this year. My collection is incomplete until I secure a No. 86.
My sister, on the other hand, can't make up her mind about who to support since her Larry Foote jersey was made obsolete in April.
I got to thinking, maybe more people have trouble choosing whose jersey to wear, so I devised a little quiz that may be helpful to fans who are without a plan for the '09 season's game gear.
Any person who has wasted a little time at work playing a "which celebrity are you" on line game should take to this quiz like a duck to water.
1. Are you an individual who throws yourself into your work, does everything to the best of your abilities, and maintains good relationships with those around you?
If you answered yes, then you should proceed and buy yourself a new Steeler jersey.
2. Is your demeanor between your work self vs. your life self segmented into two distinct categories?
If you answered yes go to A. if no, skip to question three.
A. Are you a beast at work, clobbering any hindrance that may get in your way, while maintaining a Zen-like calm among your family?
If you answered yes to A, get a Troy Polamalu jersey. You can even go the extra mile and get a wig if you are so inclined. If you answered no, go to B.
B. Are you cool as a cucumber at work, completing your tasks with precision accuracy while maintaining a low profile until the sun goes down, and you hit the bars, grab several beers, and proceed fill the Internet with of you photos that people wish to God weren't there?
If you answered yes to B, get yourself a Jeff Reed, you are an alpha dog. If you answered no, move on to question three.
3. Are you the person upon whose shoulders the task is placed to take a project from start to finish with pin point accuracy?
If you answered yes, go to C. If no, skip to question four.
C. Do you live in the limelight, do things your own way, and thrive when proving your fiercest critics wrong?
If you answered yes to C, you need Ben Roethlisberger's jersey yesterday. Ladies, the pink ones are cute, but don't forget about Jessica Simpson's pink jinx—proceed with caution! If you answered no, go to D.
D. Are you virtually invisible, even though you are a critical link in the chain?
If you answered yes to D, you should get a Greg Warren jersey and celebrate the unsung, yet clutch performances given week in and week out by the Steelers' long snapper.
4. Are you a bulldozer in your profession, prone to deck your competition if they dare get in your way?
If you answered yes, go to E. If no, skip to question five.
E. Do you protect your company, defend it with all 205 lbs. of you, and flatten anyone who dares to advance against your company's policies and goals?
If you answered yes, buy yourself a Ryan Clark jersey, it will fit you life a glove. If you answered no, go to F.
F. Do you lead your company fearlessly into any challenge, leveling anyone who impedes your progress?
If you answered yes, I hope that you have recently been promoted because you are the type of person who will look amazing in a Hines Ward jersey.
5. Are you a person who has risen from nowhere to distinguish yourself with your outstanding accomplishments?
If you answered yes, go to G. If no, skip to question six.
G. Was your determination to succeed under-girded by the guidance of a wise co-worker in a position of mentor ship?
If you answered yes, invest in a Willie Parker jersey. Maybe go the extra mile and get a SB XL version since that game featured Willie's record-breaking 75-yard TD run. If you answered no, go to H.
H. Did you have to make an extra effort, compiling a list of failed attempts before you climbed to the top of your profession?
Your work has paid off, you have definitely earned the right to wear the jersey of James Harrison. You also should invest in a SB XLII version of the jersey, since Harrison broke Parker's Super Bowl record that day with an 100-yard gallop down the field for a defensive touchdown.
6. Last on my list is the person who marches to their own unique beat. Either ahead of or behind the times, this person exists in the now but lives in another time. If this is you, go to I.
I. Were you a trendsetter back in your day? Have you always had an eye for quality and talent, yet still have some nostalgia for the way things were done during your heyday?
If you answered yes, you will stand out from the crowd in your brand new authentic Joe Greene jersey, as you proudly represent the only Steeler player to own all six Super Bowl rings. If you answered no, go to J.
J. Well, you haven't found your jersey yet so you must be the individual who looks to the future. You're a person who throws their weight behind the speculation of an organization whole-heartedly. You are the fan who shows up to training camp in your Ziggy Hood jersey, regardless of the scorching July heat.
If you have completed the quiz and still do not see the jersey that suits your personality, may I suggest that you pay attention to the player who makes you cheer the loudest, or jump the highest, and invest.
Someday we'll look back at the jerseys that we wore in '09 and be amused by how charming and naive we looked without our shoulder pads!