This is going to be much different than my normal posts. It has nothing to do with the draft but rather to do with how I became a Steelers fan. Also, just as a note, I am not the best writer so this won't be as perfectly written as some of the other posts on here.
For those of you who don't know, I am 18 years old and I am from New Jersey. Not the typical area to become a Steelers fan. My entire family (mother, father, and four brothers) are all Giants or Jets fans yet when I was about 8 and started to get into football I really hated watching those two teams play. The year was 2001, the month was December, and the day was the 9th. The New York Jets were scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers and my three brothers and my dad who are Jets fans made me watch the game. The Steelers dominated the entire game with an incredible defensive performance, at least in my eyes. They gave up a measly 61 rushing yards and just 220 total yards. They won the game by a score of 18-7 and my dad and brothers were devastated. I was thrilled. I told them all I was going to be a Steelers fan and that I found my team. My dad kind of had a dejected look and he asked me how I could possibly be a Steelers fan. I told him that there style of football, smash-mouth, in-your-face, football entertained me more than the Jets pathetic excuse for a style.
The next week, the Steelers had a Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens and my parents allowed me to stay up and watch the game. What I saw was a game where the Steelers outgained the Ratbirds 476 to 207 yet only won the game 26 to 21. Little did I know at the time that a five point victory over the Ratbirds would be so impressive. This game I remember mostly because of an incredible block that Hines Ward laid on one of the Ravens corners. In the ten or so football games I had watched before this one, I had never seen a WR block someone so aggressively. By this point in time I wanted my dad to get me a jersey. However, I did not know what jersey to pick so I waited a few weeks.
After watching the last three games of the season and seeing the Steelers finish the year 13-3 I decided whose jersey I wanted. It was Hines Ward. Watching him lay people out week in and week out gave him a special place in my heart for a reason you will find out later.
Anyways, the Steelers first playoff game was against those Ratbirds again and this time not only did they dominate the yards (297-150), they dominated the scoreboard with an incredible 27-10 win. I was thinking the Steelers had a shot at a Super Bowl but than they ran into the mighty (or not so much) Patriots. The Cheatriots beat the Steelers in a classic game 24-17. Little did I know at the time that they were dirty freaking cheaters and only one because they filmed our practices and were complete and utter cheater. The season was over by my fandom was not. Throughout the next couple years and was dissapointed two years in a row. Then, after a miserable 6-10 season, my fandom reached new levels.
I was a huge Ben Roethlisberger fan in college since my dad is a Miami Ohio alum. I kept telling my dad in the days and months leading up to the 2004 NFL Draft that the Steelers would take Big Ben and he kept saying they wouldn't because he would be picked before them. Well, little did my dad know that the ten teams that picked before the Steelers all had morons for GMs and allowed the best player in that draft to fall to the Steelers and change the face of this franchise for the next 7 years and counting.
I immediately got my dad to purchase me a Big Ben jersey which I later got signed. The 2004 season Big Ben was supposed to be on the bench but he was thrusted into the starting lineup because of an injury I believe. All I knew at that time was that he was playing and he was going to win. People on ESPN called him a "game manager" who leaned on his defense. Well, Mr. ESPN, do game mangers complete 66% of there passes? Do game mangers go 15-1? No, they don't. Elite NFL QBs do those sorts of things and that is exactly what Big Ben is. Anyways, my year ended in devastating fashion as I watched my hero Big Ben essentially lose the Steelers the game to the hated Patriots in the AFC Championship game. But I knew there were brighter days ahead. I could just sense that Big Ben was going to take us to the promise land. And I was right.
When the Steelers barely made it to the playoffs in 2005, everyone was counting them out and saying they were done. But not me. I went into school the Friday before there Wild Card game against Cincinnati wearing my Hines Ward jersey and boldly proclaimed that the Steelers would win the game. I came in on Monday even louder than I was on the previous Friday and the Steelers would beat the Colts. People called me crazy, asked me if I had lost my mind, and said that Peyton was unbeatable that year. But I came in the next Monday (despite the refs and Jerome Bettis trying to prevent me from being able to do so) and said that the Steelers were going to destroy the Broncos and go to the Super Bowl. And yet again, the next Monday, I said with confidence that they would destroy the Seachickens and win the elusive "one for the thumb" and send The Bus (who had quickly became my third favorite player) off in style. And again I was right. Big Ben had become the youngest QB to ever win a Super Bowl. Jerome Bettis did go out in style and my fandom had elevated to a new level. I bought a Jerome Bettis Super Bowl Jersey to make my collection a whopping three jerseys. Then, people started calling me a front-runner who only routed for the Steelers because they win Super Bowls. I have lived with that for my entire life since then and it probably wont ever go away but why would I give a shit. I know I am a real fan and I know why I am a fan.
Anyways, the last five years since then have featured another Super Bowl win and one devastating loss with a whole lot more ups then downs. One of the reasons is because the two years they missed the playoffs were the years my football teams won the championship which helped ease my pain. Now I am going to talk about myself for awhile.
Earlier I told you that you would find out why I love Hines Ward. The reason is because I have always been the under-sized kid that really should not be good at football, but I have defied the odds and turned into a really good FS. When I would step onto a field, opposing players would tell me they were going to run me over. I would laugh. They would walk into the huddle. I would tell my teammate, "I'm going to fuck that kid up" and sure enough, at some point in the game, I would lay him out and stand there and laugh at him. When I got into eight grade I had HS coaches from Don Bosco and Bergen Catholic (the two best HS football teams in my area) trying to convince me toa go to there school. I am now a senior at Don Bosco Prep and have established myself as the hard hitting, under-sized safety who puts it all out on the field. When someone asks me who my favorite player is, they expect me to say Troy Polamalu and when I tell them its Hines Ward they are typically surprised. Anyways, back to my story.
Watching the Steelers lose on that dreadful Sunday in February 2011 devastated me. I had never thought I would see the mighty Steelers lose in a Super Bowl game. Nontheless, I moved on by getting right into draft coverage and have not even thought of that game until now. Anyways, I am ready for a new year and adding another great year to my fanhood and being a fan of the best team on Earth. The Stairway to Seven starts now and starts with an ass=whooping of the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at 1:00 P.M. Lets go.
Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed.