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Old 09-13-2006, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Pittsburgh Pride

A friend of mine sent me this great article written by Rich Eisen. Wow - it sure makes us Pittsburghers proud and we Steelers fans even prouder! Long read, but well worth every minute - enjoy!

http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story/9658045

(Sept. 13, 2006) -- With the first 16 games of a new majestic National Football League season in the books and all 32 teams making noise in some way or another, I promise that in my first in-season column in this space, there will not be a single mention of T.O.

Doh!

From now on, I mean.

Because there's more pertinent things to discuss. Like Steve McNair looking like that last piece of a puzzle. Like the convalescing quarterback who enjoyed the best Week 1 performance was not named Carson, Daunte or Drew, but rather Chad. Like people getting free furniture in Bears Country. Like that giant sucking noise we heard in the Black Hole Monday night. And like the fact that there's a taxi cab currently tooling the streets of Pittsburgh with my John Han**** on the hood.

We'll take the last one first, since it involved the Opening Kickoff of this whole deal. Prior to covering the Miami-Pittsburgh season opener for NFL Total Access, I had never been to the Steel City and it took me very little time to surmise that the good people of Pittsburgh are absolutely nuts about football and, in particular, their Steelers. You see, as our plane whisked down the runway upon landing at Pittsburgh International Airport, your humble narrator looked out the window and noticed old military planes parked nearby with engine covers bearing the Steelers logo.

Then came the stroll from the gate to baggage claim. Forget about the legion of folks ambling about in Ben Roethlisberger jerseys and Troy Polamalu jerseys and Hines Ward jerseys. At the top of the escalator that leads to the airport tram, there's a statue of George Washington, who at the ripe age of 21 took part in the first skirmish of the French-Indian War, in what would eventually become known as Pittsburgh. Next to the likeness honoring the Father of Our Country is a statue of Franco Harris in his infamous bent-at-the-hips reach for the football, commemorating Pittsburgh's other great moment -- the Immaculate Reception. I cannot tell a lie: No one was posing for pictures next to George.

Then came the dramatic entrance to the city itself -- driving on I-279, you get spit out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and behold the entire landscape laid out before you like Gotham City. All three rivers, Heinz Field, PNC Park and a bevy of bridges are within a single glance and, to quote Dr. Evil, it's quite breathtaking. Even at night, it appeared to me that almost everything is either black or gold. And why not: Have you ever noticed that Pittsburgh is the only sports town in which all of its professional teams are color coordinated? The Penguins, the Pirates and the Steelers all wear black and gold.

It also struck me that part of the zeal for the Steelers could come from the fact that the Penguins and the Pirates for the most part, well, sorta blow. For instance, on Kickoff Thursday, I took a noontime jog around the downtown area to run off the fat Primanti Brothers sandwich I had scarfed down for lunch. Actually, the word "fat" doesn't do justice to the grub served up in the Pittsburgh institution. For the uninitiated, there's no such thing as a "side" at Primanti Brothers. They put the fries and the cole slaw on the sandwich, which, as you might imagine, stands about 10 feet tall. As I heard my wife's admonishments reverberating in my head, I laced up the Reeboks and went for that run around town -- through Point Park, which overlooks the convergence of the famed Three Rivers; over the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which spans the Allegheny River and around PNC Park, home of your Pittsburgh Pirates.

Circling the ballpark, I couldn't help but notice that every 20 feet or so the Pirates have a banner picturing each of their current players in action. There's Humberto Cota in the catcher's crouch. There's Chris Duffy hitting. There's Ian Snell pitching. Now I know I've been off of SportsCenter and focusing on only one sport for three years now, but with all due respect: Who the hell are these guys?

For sure, the Steelers have the undivided attention of Pittsburgh. And with them coming off a Super Bowl victory? Fuggedaboutit. The night before the opener against Miami, four of us from the NFL Total Access crew hopped a taxi (yes, that's how I roll) and what we saw inside was a bit over the top. The cabbie, dressed in black and gold Steelers fatigues, handled a steering wheel with Steelers logos placed at "ten-and-two" and drove in a seat with a Steelers headrest cover. I had no idea they made such things. By the way, the shotgun seat headrest had the same treatment. The cabbie could not stop talking Steelers football the whole ride back to the hotel, where upon arrival he insisted I do something I've never been asked to do in the 10 years that I've been blessed to be a national television sportscaster -- he asked me to autograph the hood of his car.

Now, I've signed dollar bills before and I've even signed toilet paper. But I've never received a request to deface an automobile and figured there had to be some law against that sort of thing. Nevertheless, the cabbie would not take no for an answer, and even though I was pulling his leg the whole time by telling him I was actually Kenny Mayne, I relented. NFL Total Access features producer Mike Derouin snapped the photo on his camera phone for posterity. Fittingly it was black Sharpie ink on top of a gold hood.

As for the game, the atmosphere could not have been more exhilarating. I know because I personally had the great fortune of being the one to whip up the crowd as part of the pregame extravaganza on NBC. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get to introduce a team before its first game as Super Bowl champions on its own turf. Talk about Goosebumps. Now, many of my friends accused me of doing a really bad Michael Buffer impersonation that night but I'll take the lumps. Standing up there, watching the sea of 70,000 waving Terrible Towels, it looked a lot like ? Super Bowl XL in Detroit. And in the end, the Steelers played like it, too.

If you were provided the quarterback stat lines without names attached before the game, clearly one would have assigned Daunte Culpepper to the line that read 15 of 25 for 209 yards, three touchdowns and no picks, and backup Charlie Batch to the line of 18 of 37 for 262 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. But it was Batch who played mistake free, tossed for two nice scores in the first half and completed the longest pass play to a tight end in 32 years for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

All right, I can already hear the Miami fans (and the still very much seething Seahawks fans) say that the refs blew the call on the Heath Miller 87-yard touchdown dash, but, in all honesty, the coach has to do more than triple clutch on a nonchalant last-minute challenge hanky toss. Yes, the refs need to have a bit better peripheral vision after a challengeable play, but, in the end, Nick Saban will take the bullet for the rest of his coaching fraternity, who you know will huck that red napkin like it's a javelin from now on. They may even pull a Jeff Triplette and toss the flag into someone's eye.

Joey Porter's fourth-quarter pick-six of Culpepper iced the proceedings and reminded all those in need of a refresher of this fact: Other than the Bus, safety Chris Hope and Cincinnati's favorite all-time Steeler Kimo Von Oelhoffen, the defending world champs pretty much field the same team that basked beneath the confetti last February. That said, fresh off a season-opening Striped Cat pasting of the Kansas City Chiefs and Trent Green (wonder what Bengals Nation thinks of that "late" hit to knock out the other team's starting quarterback?) the folks in the Queen City are already feeling their oats.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Excellent read and thanks for sharing.

Our city has now been praised by both Rich Eisen and Pat Kirwan. Steeler Nation....nothing like it.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

It was a great article. Hey I wasn't born in PA. But both of my parents were born within 30 minutes of Pittsburgh. They installed that Pittsburgh pride in me. Especially my mom. She is so proud of her roots. It sucks I was born in Indiana. But Pittsburgh will always be in my heart. I love that freakin city.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Rich used to always rag on the Steelers on TV. Change of heart apparently. Good read.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

the only thing i can describe driving through the ft. pitt tunnel the 1st time is seeing the grand canyon for the 1st time. apearantly im not the only one taken by this sight.

simply amazing.

good job rich. him, patrick, olberman, and mayne were the best sportscenter ever had.
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Excellent article! I used to drive a Limo and I wish I had a dollar for everyone that was floored by the sight of the "Steel City" as you come through the tunnels!! It seems the rest of the world still believes in the "Smokey City" that is the more popular image. The view of our city has to be one of the prettiest sights around, when you come in the Parkway and enter the tunnels the unsuspecting visitor has NO clue they are about to be knocked for a loop by that view!! Yeah it makes me PROUD to call it home!!!
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Old 09-14-2006, 06:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Love the article... that was some good writings and lets ya (me) know just how the town of Pittsburgh is run...does anyone have pictures of these things that he has mentioned? I would love to see them..
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Old 09-14-2006, 06:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Quote:
Originally Posted by wedosesteelers2006 View Post
Love the article... that was some good writings and lets ya (me) know just how the town of Pittsburgh is run...does anyone have pictures of these things that he has mentioned? I would love to see them..
I'm glad everyone enjoyed the article! Wedo - Lyn posted some awesome pics of Pittsburgh a month or so ago. Here are a few I found -



Fort Pitt Bridge is the bridge you see in the pic.



PNC Park -



The Point - where the 3 rivers come together -



Heinz Field near the Point -

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Old 09-14-2006, 06:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

I just had to post this pic of an old friend......RIP TRS.

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Pride

Pittsburgh has always been a beautiful city, but has really been cleaned up since most of the steel mills have closed and the addition of some beautiful new structures. The Burgh has a magic about it and those who live here know what I'm talking about.
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