As a Steelers fan living in the heart of Baltimore, yesterday was one of the most exhilarating, cathartic, fantastic experiences I’ve ever had.
I am having one hell of a Monday.
It isn’t because it was a completely unexpected win, although it was. It isn’t because we beat our most hated rival, although we did. It isn’t because I got to walk into work today twirling a terrible towel and getting heckled by coworkers, although I did.
It’s because of the smug, overconfident drivel that I’ve had to digest since week one of last year.
Before yesterday’s game, I decided to go into the lions’ den and tailgate at M&T Bank stadium before making the journey across the harbor to the Steelers bar, a cramped corner spot that serves as a safe haven to the fifty Steelers fans that cram themselves in there each Sunday to listen to renegade, twirl our terrible towels, and use language that would make a sailor blush.
It feels like home, for three hours each week during the fall.
During the tailgate, the hubris was thicker than Joe Flacco’s eyebrow. These were fans lining up to see a bullfight. The outcome was predetermined when the schedule was made, and it was all over except for the traditional Gatorade bath. When I asked a Ravens fan to even consider the possibility that Jonathan Dwyer might slash their weak run defense, he laughed, and then replied, “We’re going to put eight in the box and force Charlie what’s his name to throw the ball.”
And throw he did, over and over, to the tune of 276 yards and a heroic victory. Come to think of it, I bet he knows Chuck’s last name by now.
I thoroughly enjoyed walking through Canton square last night with a crowd of displaced Pittsburghers and those planning to finally make the pilgrimage, chanting things we’d never repeat while sober, and walking past Ravens fans that looked caught somewhere between shocked and confused. They were a crowd of fans whose team had just lost their personal super bowl to a 38 year old man that got rocked by Cleveland last week.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. The Steelers were supposed to be the sacrificial lamb, slaughtered on the altar of another division championship. That was not the case, as Chuck Batch decided that this dog wouldn’t be rolling over anytime soon.
I have never been so excited to see a city as miserable as it is this morning. This loss is so upsetting that last night I got pulled over for being a Steelers fan. I’m not kidding. Fourth amendment violations aside, I was thrilled and amused that a cop decided it was worth breaking the law to hit the sirens, pull over my friend Cait (big shout out to the designated drivers of Steeler nation), and say “Nothin wrong with your drivin, but don’t be twirlin that thing in this city,” in reference to the yellow emblem I was proudly displaying to anyone willing to look.
If you’re ever in Baltimore for a game, please consider stopping by NcDevin’s bar and grill, 801 S Decker, and be sure to stick around after we win, because while this city probably doesn’t like the crow it’s eating this morning, beating the Ravens in Baltimore is delicious.