Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Loyal Fans

In case you haven't heard, Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl!

They are climbing the stairway to SEVEN.

They are knocking at SEVEN's door.

Genaro Armas of AP looks at the phenomenon of Steeler Fever:
Proud, tough and resilient. The same adjectives that could describe the Pittsburgh Steelers could also apply to their large and fiercely loyal fan base.

"It's in your blood. I have the Terrible Towel that I was wrapped in as a baby," said Rob Mowry, 35. The Pittsburgh-area native manages a trading company and owns a restaurant in Chicago, but still flies back to western Pennsylvania at least four times a year to watch Steelers games.

A yellow placard taped to a car window in a hotel parking garage offered a reminder through a new signature phrase: "Knocking On 7's Door."

After another AFC title trophy presentation at Heinz Field, team president Art Rooney II spoke Sunday night of "finishing the job."

"Steeler Nation, we're going to Dallas," he proclaimed. The Steelers, known as a model NFL franchise, have been run by three generations of the Rooney family.

It's the organization's mom and pop-type feel that resonates with its fan base, even if the Steelers are a big business and one of the top-selling teams in the NFL. The franchise's sense of loyalty appeals to the blue-collar sensibilities of western Pennsylvanians.

Many of those who departed [Pittsburgh] took their Steelers allegiance with them and passed it on to children and grandchildren. Those who stayed viewed the team as the common bond that offered a brief distraction from the economy's harsh realities.

"It's our way of life," Coen said. "If you're in this town, and you're not a Steelers fan, you're almost not accepted."

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