I don't know where you were during the Steelers heart-breaking and gut-wrenching overtime playoff loss to the Denver Broncos on January 8th, but I was trying to watch that game while at a bowling alley during one of my weekly matches. It was one of the hardest things to try and concentrate on bowling when all I really cared about was the Steelers vanquishing Tim Tebow and the Broncos and advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
As "luck" would have it, the Steelers open up their season in prime-time this coming Sunday against the Broncos in Denver, and once again, I'll be at the bowling alley with one eye on my bowling match and the other on the television screen. I'll certainly be more focused on my match this time around since it's only week one and all, but the start of the Steelers season is like an unofficial (oh heck, official) holiday, and it would still be nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the game with some friends and family.
However, it's not the end of the world for me. Being a life-long Pittsburgher, I take it for granted that I get to witness about 98% of Steelers games that are played, even of the preseason variety.
I'm well aware of the amazing amount of Steelers fans located around the country and the world, but I often lose sight of the fact that a good deal of them can't watch the majority of the games if they don't have a premium channel that affords them the opportunity. Even Steelers fans living in certain parts of West Virginia or Ohio probably have to venture out to a Steeler bar if they want to watch a game that is only being shown in the Pittsburgh market.
And preseason games are almost certainly out of the question unless they happen to be on the "Big Network Game of the Week."
I never have to worry about finding bars or certain feeds to see my favorite team. I can just sit in my living room in Crafton, Pa.
Well, this week, the tables are turned, and every Steelers fan around the country will get to sit in front of their television sets if they so choose and watch the Steelers take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos on NBC Sunday Night Football while I'll more than likely have to go watch a replay of the game after I'm done bowling a few 118s. And you know what? I'm happy for you. Why should I have all the fun just because my family happened to set down roots in the Pittsburgh area? Steelers fans are Steelers fans, no matter what part of the world they happen to live in.
Being from Pittsburgh and living here for 40 years, the Steelers are so ingrained in the culture that winning is really the only thing that matters to most of us locals. I can't speak for everyone, but style points really don't mean much to me. I'd rather see the Steelers win, 3-2, than lose, 30-29. I could care less how "entertaining" a loss was. You'll never hear me say, "Well, the Steelers lost a heart-breaker, but man, was that entertaining to watch!" It doesn't matter that much if I have to miss a game or two. Heck, I'd spend three hours locked in a cold, dark room if it meant a Steelers victory (don't any of you overly-superstitious Steelers fans get any ideas! It was just an expression). However, for someone who rarely gets to see them in action, it probably is highly entertaining just to get to see the Steelers play four quarters of football a few times each season.
Anyway, this Pittsburgher will gladly take one for the team this Sunday evening if that means my fellow Steelers fans living in other parts of the Nation can kick back and watch our boys on national television.
Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. There are 15 more games for me to watch.
Enjoy and Go Steelers!