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lamberts-lost-tooth
09-18-2006, 05:08 AM
Steelers don their road jerseys vs. Jaguars, hoping there's still some magic left
Monday, September 18, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Game: Steelers (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0).
When: 8:30 p.m. today.
Where: Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
TV: ESPN, WTAE.
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970).





JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- They came early, filling the hotels along First Street by Friday, jamming into Sneakers sports bar Saturday afternoon for Pitt-Michigan State, wandering aimlessly in the sand, lugging cases of beer into the Comfort Inn, screeching all the way.

In this beach town 20 miles from Alltel Stadium, Steelers fans await the arrival of the first road game of the season. It was on the road, after all, that the Steelers themselves made history last season when they became the first NFL team to win three games as the visitors and went on to complete the grand slam with a victory in the Super Bowl.

It's white jersey time again for the Steelers when they play the Jacksonville Jaguars at 8:30 p.m. today, the first time they've worn them in a real game since Super Bowl XL. That was their fourth consecutive victory away from Heinz Field. Of the Steelers' eight-game winning streak that delivered their fifth NFL championship, six came away from home.

They play the Jaguars tonight on the road, where they are 17-2 in the past two seasons, including the postseason.

"We've thrived in that environment, taking on not only a team but the fans and the noise and the atmosphere," guard and co-captain Alan Faneca said. "I don't know if it makes guys focus more but it makes us better in that environment."

Win at home, play .500 on the road is the map for a playoff football team. The Steelers shredded that diagram in the final two months of their extended season. They did so well on the road that though the NFL designated the Steelers as the "home" team in Detroit Feb. 5, coach Bill Cowher opted to have his team dress in its road whites.

Perhaps to show they have no such superstitions, the Jaguars opted to wear their teal jerseys tonight -- they've dubbed it "Allteal" Stadium -- putting the Steelers in white. When they have played in Jacksonville in September, the Steelers are 0-3, having worn their black jerseys each time because the Jaguars chose their more reflective white in the Florida sun.

The sun will set before kickoff tonight, but the Jaguars obviously ignored the karma of it all.

"A lot of our guys like to play on the road," said nine-year Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend. "For us, there's nothing better than playing at home, but when we're on the road, it's just us guys on the team against the other team and the entire stadium. It's like we're all a big family and we take it as a family against everyone."

Not quite everyone. The phenomenon known as Steelers Nation also shows up on the road, to the embarrassment of many a home club. Many opponents who normally do not sell out have forced customers to purchase one or two other games if they want to buy a ticket to their game against the Steelers.

The Jaguars did not, because, with 10,000 of their seats covered at Alltel Stadium the way the Pirates once did at Three Rivers Stadium, they sold out their non-premium seats for the season. But they did sell their remaining $200 club seats on an individual basis and they've pleaded with their own fans not to sell their tickets to Steelers fans this week.

An estimated 30,000 Steelers fans took over Alltel Stadium two years ago for a Sunday night game, and the Jaguars don't want to see that again on prime time.

Last year, the Jaguars did something more sinister to the Steelers and their fans when they went to Heinz Field and won, 23-17 in overtime. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose knee was injured the previous Monday night in San Diego, did not play in that game after he pleaded with Cowher to start him. Tommy Maddox played instead and it ranked as one of the worst performances by a quarterback in Steelers history. Maddox lost a fumble without getting hit in overtime in field-goal territory, completed only 11 of 28 passes and was intercepted three times, the final one returned by Rashean Mathis to give the victory to Jacksonville.

The Jaguars won't have Maddox to kick around tonight when the two 1-0 teams clash. Roethlisberger enters the game much as he did last year, with his appearance officially in question. Last year he was "doubtful" and did not play. All this week he has been listed "questionable" but expected to start after practicing every day since the Steelers began preparations for the game Wednesday.

"We expect Big Ben," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "I'd be real shocked if he's not [starting]. He looked like he could have gone [in the opener], just watching the game."

HometownGal
09-18-2006, 07:11 AM
Good article, LLT - thanks. :smile:

I don't believe in superstitions as a rule, but if good karma continues to roll their way by them wearing their white jerseys, more power to 'em I say! :tt02:

Steelers
09-18-2006, 08:14 AM
Why did teams like Philadelphia and Dallas wear their white (away) jerseys playing at home yesterday? No one that I asked could give me an answer to that one...

bigbensgirl7
09-18-2006, 08:20 AM
I am a very suprerstitious girl, so this is good news for me!
I can't wait to see all the Steeler fans in Jax this weekend. It's always great esp. on primetime to hear the announcers talk about how many Steeler fans there are. Actually I hear it every away game, which just proves the Steelers have the best fans in the NFL!!!!

Infamix
09-18-2006, 08:25 AM
Good read, I bet 1/6 of the stadium will still have terrible towels swinging:tt02:

bigbensgirl7
09-18-2006, 08:30 AM
Good read, I bet 1/6 of the stadium will still have terrible towels swinging:tt02:

Atleast!!!!

Midnightwriter07
09-18-2006, 08:35 AM
i am very superstitious and if they want us in white .. so be it !! We are very good on the road so lets hope we can keep it up !!

wadester47
09-18-2006, 09:00 AM
great article.
We are great in white- lets keep it up

go steelers!!!:tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

Justin Otstott
09-18-2006, 09:52 AM
I hope we get this win tonight... 2-0 sounds good!~