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View Full Version : What this Super Bowl means to me as a Steelers fan...


steelfanman
02-04-2009, 02:01 AM
This is probably more appropriate for a blog, being pretty long, but I don't have one, so hopefully it is ok to post....

I consider myself a very passionate Steelers fan. Too passionate sometimes, I admit. And I apologize for the length of this, but I think a lot of us younger fans will understand what I’m saying:

My experiences as a die-hard Steelers fan always left me feeling like I was born 10 years too late. I grew up just a little too late, and a little too detached. Not quite old enough to remember the Steel Curtain, and living too far away to grow up with the team every Sunday on TV. But always watching what I could, and having to hear people say “yeah, but he was no Swann” or “yeah, but they aren’t the Steel Curtain”, and wondering what that all meant.

I didn’t really start watching the Steelers constantly until 1994 when I could start going to sports bars in college. I can remember just a few games I saw before then, like the two previous playoff losses, the OT Wild Card win against Houston, and a few other scattered games on TV (Mike Singletary’s last game in a Bears blowout, Cleveland returning 2 punts for TDs). But that first game in 1994, getting whipped by the Cowboys at home, started a streak of somehow being somewhere to never miss a Steelers game for 15 seasons and counting.

I felt it as my duty as a Steelers fan, that if I could not at least experience the glory of Steelers past, that I at least know who those Hall of Famers were, what they contributed, and why the Steelers legacy is as glorious as it is. I watched the SB highlights over and over, and later the entire games themselves when I got my hands on them, wishing I could have experienced the joy of cheering for those great teams and those great wins in person. I also stood in awe growing up seeing the performances now ingrained in the minds of all NFL fans – Montana, Elway, Brady – the teams and players immortalized by those iconic moments they cultivated. But I’ve always felt a wanting to cheer for a legend for MY TIME, from MY TEAM. I wanted my Bradshaw, my Joe Greene, my Drive, my Immaculate Reception…something that I can say I was a part of as a fan.

All the suffering of the early Cowher years, the excruciating pain of being so close so many times. The talent that crossed through that locker room, but could never match up to the accomplishments of the legends. The desperation, the thought that my generation of fans (those under 40) could possibly never experience what those before got to experience.

That is why Super Bowl XL meant to much to me. I made my older friends and relatives from here to Irwin understand that this was MY Championship. Yes, it was number 5 to most of you, but to me it was almost like the first one. My long time older Steelers fan friends totally understood my perspective. Sometimes in low moments, I never thought I’d see it happen, and I did. And I feel like I suffered enough letdowns in those 12 years, always coming back to believe they’d do it next year, and that now I could really feel like a part of the Steeler Nation.

However, as history moves on, it is obvious that SB XL didn’t produce that legendary game or that legendary performer that will forever be remembered in the minds of the ordinary fan. Yes Hines was so clutch, Willie so fast, but will you ever see those plays in the light of Montana’s drive, or Brady’s drives, or Swann’s acrobatics, that won games and made those legends immortal on the biggest stage in sports? No careers were defined in game winning drives in that Super Bowl, and the outcome wasn’t really ever in the balance in the way that serves to test the will of a champion. At the time I didn’t care, it was a win. But having to endure the media’s criticism of Big Ben’s performance (which, until Sunday, had pigeonholed Ben into that awful “game manager” label), with the controversies about the officiating, and the “questionable” QB TD sneak….I almost drank the Kool Aid being served that said the win was somehow tainted.

The Steelers going back to the SB was again a dream come true. But this time I began to realize I wanted more out of this one. I don’t even need to go into how badly I wanted the Steelers to win against this particular team, being raised in Arizona, with the realization I could never live this down knowing the Steelers lost to the team who’s home stadium I drive past every day, and have to read about in the local newspaper…and that a lot of my other friends root for…..with a media and a culture here that leeches onto anything stinking of just a little twinge of latent success……and a bandwagon that without shame freely admits anyone no matter how disloyal they were 6 weeks ago.

This time I wanted redemption for Ben, and as much as I knew it would give me a stomachache, my dream scenario was that the Steelers would win with Ben’s arm on a game winning drive that would erase all doubts about him. And I always had this wanting for my favorite team to somehow, someday, create a Super Bowl victory that would be not just a victory, but to do it in a fashion that creates something spectacular and historical and famous like Elway against the Packers or Montana against the Bengals or Brady x2. I think it's because I have a bit of envy for those old enough to remember the dynasty of the '70's, and even those teams never had to win a SB on a final drive, yet there is that aura about those old teams, and I just wanted to have something like that taste to call my own that I could experience. I just wanted a piece of that feeling for myself, and I think I got it with the two greatest plays in SB history, in arguably the most exciting game ever, and perhaps concluding on the greatest drive in SB history. Winning the way they did makes it feel like it was EARNED, and thus so much more satisfying. There was an opportunity to be seized, and the Steelers took it. No flukes, no gadgets, no let up in intensity, just going down the field and seizing the moment.

I won’t say that Ben is Montana or Bradshaw or Elway, Harrison is not Lambert or Ham, and Holmes/Ward are not Swann/Stallworth, to say so would trivialize those legends. But for me as a younger fan, I do feel like I witnessed on Sunday the type of performances that have come to define the legendary status of those great players.

And dare I say we even have our generation’s own Immaculate Reception, or I suppose Immaculate Interception?

I sat my 6 year old daughter down on my lap, next to my wife, to watch Dan Rooney accept Lombardi No. 6 (wow..that coincidence just hit me!). Even her first multi-syllable word was “Roethlisberger”. She didn’t watch the game (she’s six, why should she care?). But I did tell her, that if she does grow up to be a Steelers fan, that she should watch this 5 minutes and try to remember it for the rest of her life. If my parents had done that with me, I’d probably remember XIII and XIV. And if they never win another one, at least she’ll have some memory of this one. She took me so seriously; she went and wrote herself a note: “The Steelers Wun The Sooper Boll” in red. And when I questioned to myself whether she really understood the magnitude of what was happening, she answered me. After Santonio thrust his Lombardi Trophy into the Tampa sky, she pulled out a silver marker and amended her note with a perfect rendition of it, little silver laces and all.

LambertWardSteel
02-04-2009, 02:30 AM
This is a good read, thanks for posting.

4xSBChamps
02-04-2009, 02:47 AM
http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?t=33279

tony hipchest
02-04-2009, 08:52 AM
hell yeah its ok to post that. well done! :cheers:

it should be posted as an article on the main page.

Sixburgh Baby
02-05-2009, 01:02 AM
Awesome Post. I'm slightly older than you. Been sa Steeler fan forever and I'll tell you, 43 was everything we needed it to be. The reason why the 70's teams are so remembered is because of the way the offense AND the defense would compliment each other. Don't forget, even the Vaunted Steel Curtain gave up 31 points to the Cowboys in the SB.

Point is, this game had it ALL and it solidified Ben's place in history - right next to Montana. Not too many QB's have done what he did - on the biggest stage, biggest moment, biggest test... you get the idea. But, now you know that forever you can look back at this and own it. That's how we feel about the 70's but the 70's are long gone. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that the way you felt on that last drive and what it means to you now as a Steeler fan is exactly how it felt and what it meant back then. It's insane how deep and meaningful it is to be a Steeler fan, they'll never understand - but I know exactly where you're coming from - Congratulations Steeler fan, now do your job and make sure sure your daughter grows up to scream her head off when they get their tenth ring - One for the Pinky!

Indo
02-05-2009, 09:55 AM
That was Beautiful---brought tears to my eyes

I was in Junior High/High School back in the '70s----played football----Lived and Breathed STEELERS; went to St. Vincent's every year with my dad (St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA is where the Steelers practice in Pre-season--if you didn't know)---I got Franco's and Rocky's and Lynn's autographs; was just mesmorized at watching Lambert walk by---like some kind of god or something!

Then my education/career forced me to move away from Pittsburgh when I was 24-25. I Bleed Black and Gold (like everyone else on this forum), but I would gladly give my left testicle to be back in The Burgh---I have felt REALLY disconnected all these years (I'm 44 now)---it has sucked not being able to listen to Myron and Bill/Tunch.

But this game was Something Special (like when they used to say, "Pittsburgh, Someplace Special"...

That last 2 minutes was just absolute Poetry...a more Beautiful Work of Art I have Never Seen


keep educating your daughter about Our Team--she's the Future of Steeler Nation

markymarc
02-05-2009, 03:16 PM
Now that was awesome and thank you very much for posting.

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
02-05-2009, 03:27 PM
Great post! I am only 22, so I missed out on the glory days of old. My first Steelers Superbowl experience was XXX, needless to say I think I learned some of my first cuss words during that game. XL was so tainted by the media and such a lackluster game, that I didn't really feel like we won it. This time though, we overcame adversity and with 35 seconds left, drove our way down the field and into the realm of legends.

Oh, and Tom Brady sucks and is a cheater!

steelfanman
02-06-2009, 01:12 AM
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that the way you felt on that last drive and what it means to you now as a Steeler fan is exactly how it felt and what it meant back then.

It's so encouraging to hear that what I'm experiencing now is really what it was like the 70's, at least just the raw emotions of it if not the same cast of characters, and not just wishful thinking on my part. This has been just an unbelievable week of celebration, in front of all the Cardinal bandwagon, wearing my colors every day, seems so much more intense and satisfying than SB XL. I'm so full of pride this week, I don't even want to start thinking of drafts, free agency, etc.

went to St. Vincent's every year with my dad (St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA is where the Steelers practice in Pre-season--if you didn't know)-it has sucked not being able to listen to Myron and Bill/Tunch.



I watch in reverence my satellite feed of Sportsbeat every training camp wishing I could get out to Latrobe just once. That campus looks so nice and the Steelers always stopping for autographs after the practice sessions!

I wish we could listen to Bill and Tunch simulcast with Sunday Ticket. Wow that would be sooo sweet. Like hit the SAP button and get WDVE perfectly synced. I love the '05 playoff DVD set with the original network broadcast but the radio call for audio:

"Pack your bags, we're goin' to Denver!"
"Wait, unpack your bags, hold those reservations....."
"Repack you bags, remake your reservations, we're going to Denver!"
"Pack you bags, we're goin to Detroit!"

Ha..I love Tunch.

I did get to listen to a few games over the internet in Myron's last years, and I have heard the radio calls of the old SB's. I love listening to Myron too!

My first Steelers Superbowl experience was XXX, needless to say I think I learned some of my first cuss words during that game. XL was so tainted by the media and such a lackluster game, that I didn't really feel like we won it. This time though, we overcame adversity and with 35 seconds left, drove our way down the field and into the realm of legends.

Oh, and Tom Brady sucks and is a cheater!

It sucked for so long having SB XXX be my lone Steelers SB experience, although I was old enough to know all the cuss words I used during that game. I don't think any of my older friends were as crushed by that game as I was, and I continued to be crushed with every AFC Champ loss thereafter. And I totally agree about SB XL, like everyone was trying to take it away from us. Even the media here now is trying it, but the desperation of it is just ruining everything the Cardinals accomplished this year. Luckily the national media isn't really buying into it, or making nearly as big of a deal as the local media is.

My daughter is just old enough now to hopefully remember this, and my son is going to be 3 soon, so by the time Ben gets the rest of the Steeler Nation's remaining fingers filled with rings, he'll be just old enough to enjoy and remember it!

Thanks for all the kind words and support....we live in the greatest nation on earth...the Steeler Nation of course!