This is my response to Metamorphosis of a Steeler Fan
I was born in 1968, in Providence, RI, the first game I ever watched (although I did not know it at the time, I was forced to sit by my father's side on the couch), Super Bowl IX. All I remember of that game, white and purple. The first season I really got into, watched as many games on NBC (at that time, the stattioned that broadcasted AFC games) as I could, 1976. That was, in my opinion, the greatest Steeler Defense I have ever watched. For those of you who were not alive in that era, it was a different game, it was a pounding, physical game. In an era of machoism, the Steelers were the bullies. You had to line up with them, man on man, and slug it out. There was no finese, it was more geared for the defense to be successful.... The Blount rule, which came about later, was a perfect example...... Anyway, when I turned on a Steeler game in 1976, I expected them to totally dominate the opposing offense. It got to the point, at the end of the year, where I was shocked if they gave up a FG. Run of more than a few yards, I fell off my couch! It was utter and complete domination, and not only did you sense it, but you could see it in the opposing offense.
Those years, those were good years to be alive, to be a Steeler fan. You knew, aside from a few injuries to key people, the Steelers would be in the playoffs, in the AFC CHampionship Game, and probably winning a Super Bowl.
The 80s were hard, very hard. Not picking Marino, not picking the hometown hero, I still imagine how differently things could have gone...... There were flashes, Mike Merriweather, but bad luck/choices with QBs really led to a decade of averageness. Now, a decade of averageness would be fine for a fan of some other team, but not for me, not for any Steeler fan!
The 90s, Cowher, Barry Foster, things were looking good! The defense was becoming dominate again, but our QB problems still bit us..... Badly! However, what a run we had with Cowher, we did not win as many Super Bowls as we all would have liked, but we won a ton of games, we won division titles, hosted AFC Championship, a fan of any other team (other than maybe Dallas and San Fran) would have been thrilled! But for us, it was always a little short of expectations.....
Through all the years, my allegiances to the Steelers grew, my loyalty never waivered, and my dislike for all other NFL teams deepened.
Now, I moved from Providence, to West Palm Beach in 1989. Things were different back then, no internet, tickets to Dolphins games were tough to come by. Whenever the Steelers came to town, unless you knew someone, you were not getting tickets.
In 2005, I moved to Ocala, went to every Steeler game I could in Jacksonville. The Jags were decent then, stadium was always full. My wife, who never really liked football, I "forced" to go to those games with me. She loved the feel of the game experience, the ups and downs. Meeting fans from both teams and talking to them (I am not a loud mouth fan, I like engaging people and speaking to them). After talking some to her, we decide we want to be able to see the Steelers, whenever they come to Florida. We do not want to give up our first child for tickets either (as you well know, Steeler tickets are expensive, no matter where they play), and we pick up season tickets for all Florida teams.
In the years since, we have grown to like the Jags and Bucs, seeing them often, getting familiar with the players, and making some great friends in the sections we sit. My wife and I are huge NFL fans now, I enjoy seeing as many games as I can (and seeing certain players, Calvin Johnson in particular). Watching the Ravens get beat on MNF last year in Jacksonville, that was great! GREAT! And all those people I sit around know I will be a huge Jags/Bucs/Fins fan when Cleveland, Baltimore and CIncinnati comes to town, and I will root for them for any other game. They also know, when the Steelers come to town, I will be in my black and gold, and while I will be respectful to them, I will be loud and crazy. They also know, once the game ends, no matter the outcome, we will shake hands, talk about the game as the stadium empties and walk out together, as friends.
I am thrilled by the opportunities I have being close to three NFL teams, I get to see 12-16 NFL games a year. My wife and I are now going to visit a different stadium each year, two years ago it was Heinz, of course, my first trip there and walking in was akin to a religious experience for us. Last year, Atlanta against New Orleans. This year, we have tickets to the Steelers/Titans Thrusday Night game. I have found, getting older, having more fleixibilty and options, that my football tastes have expanded. That seeing different cities and meeting different people and talking to them about their team is fun, and that has only strengthened my loyalties to the Steelers.
That first game I watched, I was forced to, and whether I became a fan of the black and gold as a result of theoutcome of that game, I do not know. I think it could be so, my favorite jersey has always been the Steelers road unis. But, I think, the loyalties we all feel for the Steelers is something on the molecular level. I could never be a Steelers "light" fan. I could never not care what happens, or if I don't see a game (I have Sunday Ticket on DirecTV and I record all the Steelers game, and I watch them once I get home). My 5 children all were born and wrapped in Terrible Towels. My mini-van proudly carries a Steeler license plate and the large window logo. Years have not made me sour on them, to the contrary, the years have made me realize how lucky I am to be a Steeler fan. It has made me realize that at any time, a bad team can make a great pick and be good for a decade (Pats, Tom Brady and the Colts with Manning). It has also made me realize that we have had two great QBs that has led us to multiple Super Bowls and I will enjoy Big Ben for as long as he plays. It is hard to find an elite QB, and once you have one, anything is possible.
Enjoy Steeler Nation! There is no better fan base then us! There are no fans more loyal than us!