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Old 02-06-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default Steelers fans sullen, subdued -- yet proud -- in defeat

Steelers fans sullen, subdued -- yet proud -- in defeat

By Margaret Harding and Chris Togneri
Sunday, February 6, 2011

On the bright side, Lauren Evanov's Bettis jersey is going to smell better.

Evanov, 22, drove from Kent, Ohio to watch Super Bowl XLV with her friends on the South Side, and she wore a Jerome Bettis jersey that hadn't been washed in awhile because, "If they lose, you wash it. If they don't, you wear it."

So she'll be washing it after the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-25 last night in Arlington, Texas. Thousands of heartbroken and tearful fans weathered the final moments of the game in sullen living rooms and quiet bars across Western Pennsylvania. The streets were quieter than after the Super Bowl victory two years ago, as the loss took the air out of the city's sails.

"I'm not gonna go find a bridge to jump off, but it's disappointing," said Joe Derkas, 26, as people shuffled to their cars on the South Side. He tried to be positive. "It was a good game. ... Thirty teams envy the Steelers' position. They're the second best team in the NFL."

Dozens of Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans at Dino's Sports Lounge on the outskirts of Greensburg didn't wait until the final whistle before they left in disappointment.

After the Steelers failed on a fourth down with less than a minute to go, a lot of them headed for the door, still clutching their Terrible Towels.

"It's a good team we lost to in Green Bay," said Jennifer Mode of Greensburg. "We just had a lot of trouble."

Mode was further disapponted because her friend, Kim Gillespie, traveled all the way from Charlotte to watch the game in Steeler country.

"Oh well, we'll come back next year," she said.

Nancy Johnston 63, of Jeannette, blamed the Steelers multiple turnovers. "The team that makes the most mistakes usually loses, and today, it happened to be us. It's always heartbreaking when you lose when you get this far, but hopefully we'll be back next year."

Some of the only celebrating around Pittsburgh happened in Peter's Pub in Oakland, where, in a sea of black and gold, Ed Paiewonsky wore the green jersey of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The pharmacy graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh said a few beers had been spilled on him while walking to the bathroom, and the bartender overcharged him a dollar for his pitcher of beer.

"I took it out of his tip," Paiewonsky said.

As the final seconds ticked away, a group of plainclothes police officers walked out of the pub and said, "Well, looks like it's going to be an easy night for us. Nothing's going to happen." Then they got in their unmarked cars and drove away.

Still, the police presence in Oakland was heavy, with as many a dozen officers in riot gear standing at intersections on Forbes Avenue.

Mike Wereshagin also added to this report

Margaret Harding and Chris Togneri can be reached at or .

Read more: Steelers fans sullen, subdued -- yet proud -- in defeat - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1DFHrwRUD
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