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fordfixer
03-08-2009, 09:30 PM
Such Steeler Nation unity is magical

By Chris Togneri, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 8, 2009

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 10693.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_610693.html)

Chris Togneri can be reached via e-mail or at 412-380-5632.


Approaching Raymond James Stadium four hours before the Super Bowl, I gazed out the media bus window at a sea of black and gold.

For eight days in Tampa I met and interviewed Steeler fans people who followed the team south from western Pennsylvania; heads of fan clubs in far-off places like Washington state, Colorado, and the United Kingdom; and transplants who may have lived in Florida longer than they did here, but still call Pittsburgh home.

They could have held this Super Bowl anywhere in the world yes, even in Phoenix and Steeler Nation would have outnumbered the opposing team's fans.

In 2000, I was working as a travel editor in the Slovak Republic. As I traveled across the country that spring, the national hockey team was somehow managing to knock off the world's greatest superpowers in the rink, including host Finland, Canada and Russia.

I watched games in the capital city of Bratislava, in the Hungarian-speaking south, in farming communities and in tiny mountain villages where the television set shared a shelf with a bust of Stalin.

When Slovakia won the title its first Ice Hockey World Championship since the split of Czechoslovakia an old man in an orange worker's uniform grabbed my face and kissed me.

To witness such unity was magical.

And last week, I witnessed it again.

In Tampa, I heard chants of "Here we go Steelers" on trolleys, in elevators, and even in restaurant bathrooms. I met people who jumped in cars and drove 19 hours straight from State College with the hope of landing a ticket.

I spoke to Mr. Rooney's former secretary, who beamed as she recalled the team founder's kindness and dedication. I saw total strangers walk into Tank's Tap Room, a Steelers bar in Tampa, and hug each other simply because they were wearing matching Jack Lambert jerseys.

Inside the stadium on game day, I saw Terrible Towels flying everywhere. I saw the Steeler Nation outnumbering Arizona Cardinals fans three to one, easily.

I saw fans weeping when Larry Fitzgerald split the defense late in the game for the go-ahead touchdown. And moments later, those same fans cried tears of joy when Santonio Holmes made his catch.

This was the greatest Super Bowl ever. And, fittingly, I saw it played in front of the greatest fans on earth.

Djfan
03-08-2009, 10:32 PM
Love being in the familia!

On SB Sunday I hugged more sweaty men than I care to admit. It was worth it.

buckeyehoppy
03-09-2009, 12:49 AM
Love being in the familia!

On SB Sunday I hugged more sweaty men than I care to admit. It was worth it.

On SB Sunday, I jumped into a bank of melting and icy granular snow in glee after Jimmy Hate from Kent State ran 100 yards for a TD...THAT was worth it...and I'd do it again!!!

Jooser
03-09-2009, 09:18 AM
http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc218/unique-c_s/unity.jpg

pfelix73
03-09-2009, 12:23 PM
Amen brothers and sisters. Steeler Nation is strong.

If we could only create something like this for our country that seems to be in more trouble as the days go by.......

RuthlessBurgher
03-09-2009, 01:30 PM
I saw the Steeler Nation outnumbering Arizona Cardinals fans three to one, easily.

3 to 1? Seriously? It was a LOT more than 3 to 1. Yikes.