I just recently joined this site as a member this summer, but I have been an avid reader for a couple of years now. I realize training camp is getting underway, but since the real season is still far off (I've never enjoyed preseason games) I thought I would share an anecdote with the BTSC community from 2009.
Just a bit of backstory:
I grew up in New Mexico, admittedly a long way from Pittsburgh (but certainly not as far awar as many fans I have heard of on this site...Steeler Nation should really be called Steeler Globe it seems to me). After becoming a Steelers fan in the late 1990s as a kid, it was always a dream of mine to see a Steelers home game in person. Finally, when I graduated high school in 2009, I told my parents I wanted to combine my graduation, birthday, and christmas gifts into a trip to Pittsburgh to see a game. Since I was heading off to college in Houston in the fall of 2009, I had to wait until my winter break to see a game. Luckily, the Steelers second-to-last regular season game of the year was at home against the Packers (Dec. 20). Their final home game a week later against Baltimore sounded like a much better game at the time, but my parents didn't like that it was too close to Christmas time (Dec. 27). That irked me a little, but I was still excited nonetheless and before the season started I personally thought the Packers game would be very winnable, considering we had just won the Super Bowl and the Pack were in a post-Favre malaise. Little did I know what was in store...
As it turned out, for those of you who have sharper memories than mine, the Steelers entered the week 15 game against the Packers with a 6-7 record, after losing 5 straight games. After the 6-2 start to the season, I had really high hopes, but injuries to Troy Polamalu (missed 5 games) and Aaron Smith (10 games) really deflated the defense, while Ben fought through concussion and knee problems. A few days before the Packers game, it became obvious that to have any realistic shot at a Wild Card berth, the Steelers would need to run the table in their last 3 games against Green Bay, Baltimore, and Miami.
The Game (oh baby):
The morning of the game (December 20, 2009) I left the hotel without my parents so I could get to the stadium a whole 2 hours before kickoff so I could soak in the atmosphere. It was a brisk day in the mid 30s and I had my Heath Miller 83 jersey proudly stretched out over my down jacket. I even wore a pair of silk Steelers boxers my grandparents had given me a year earlier for luck. Right before kickoff, my parents met me at our seats on the 3rd row of the upper level. Kickoff, and then...Roethlisberger with a deep bomb to rookie Mike Wallace for a touchdown on the first play of the game. I went bananas and my mom couldn't get me to stop twirling my terrible towel for minutes afterward.
Of course, afterward I settled down a bit as the Packers kept matching each Steelers touchdown. Our offense was cruising, but it hurt seeing Aaron Rodgers complete long passes to Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley, while Tyrone Carter (filling in for Troy) and William Gay kept getting burned. It seemed like the pass rush of Woodley and Harrison didn't even matter because the Packers receivers were always open. After the Steelers got a 24-14 lead in the 3rd quarter, the Packers scored 3 more touchdowns (plus a two point conversion), while the Steelers settled for field goals, making the score 36-30 in favor of Green Bay with just a bit more than 2 minutes left.
We all know what happened next...Big Ben lead the offense down the field and eventually hit Mike Wallace in the front left corner of the end zone for a toe-tapping, as time-expired, game-tying TOUCHDOWN!!! Extra point in and I was absolutely convulsing with joy. I hugged several fans that sat near me, old and young alike.
Up to this point, I have mostly just stated how the game proceeded, and for even more of a refresher here is the link to the box score from that game...
However, I have a few personal thoughts I had about the game and my stadium experience...
We didn't end up making the playoffs that season, but that team played their butts off and managed to run the table those last 3 games.
All in all, I guess the point I am trying to make is that...I got my money's worth and I will never forget that game