The Steelers play the Titans on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
It’s a 1 p.m. kickoff and presumably the last home game in that time slot that will feature Ben Roethlisberger as the starting quarterback. According to Twitter, it’s a damn shame that so many tickets are still for sale on the secondary market and that they’re almost dirt cheap (in the ticket-buying world, of course, not the dirt world—dirt is still much, much cheaper).
I mean, how can so many tickets still be unsold when you’re talking about the chance to see the big guy play one last home game at 1 p.m.? (This will also be the last football game that Roethlisberger will play in with the winds blowing out of the northwest.)
Anyway, Twitter would sell its left lung to go to any Steelers home game, let alone the presumed last 1 p.m. home contest featuring Roethlisberger at quarterback. In fact, when Twitter was a child working in a coal mine for four cents a week, it dreamed of being able to see the Steelers play the game of professional football in person.
What is up with these new fans and their lack of passion for Pittsburgh’s best football team?
Maybe they’re old fans. Yeah, and those old fans should be forced to give up their season tickets so more passionate younger (or older in some cases—50 is the new 30...I hope) can help to present a far better atmosphere at Heinz Field each and every Sunday.
As the kids say, miss me with the guilt trip. You know why fans aren’t attending games at Heinz Field like they did 10 years ago? Because the magic and intensity currently aren’t what they were 10 years ago. This was why Three Rivers Stadium seemed far more intense in 1979 than it did in 1989. It was super loud from 1992 to 1997, though. Why? Because new head coach Bill Cowher helped to usher in a second championship (or at least championship-contending) era for the Steelers.
But by the late 1990s, when that second championship-contending window came and went, Three Rivers Stadium was kind of a meh place to be during Steelers’ home games.
More often than not, fans will tell you the state of their favorite team by the level of enthusiasm for and during home games. As I’ve said before, Twitter is always ablaze with Steelers' passion. Why? For starters, Twitter is insane. But, also, a lot of Steelers Twitter is made up of fans who aren’t from Pittsburgh, and these folks view this city as some magical place far, far away (and not a logistical nightmare with no grid and all of the potholes).
To quote Jimmy Carter, there’s a malaise in Steeler Nation--at least the undervalued Pittsburgh portion of it. We know the deal with the 2021 edition, and this is why the passion just isn’t there. I realize that some folks view going to games as a religious experience, regardless of the state of the team, and can’t fathom why others would rather stay home than pay good money to see a 6-6-1 football squad, but this doesn’t make those religious folks better fans.
Despite what you might say, going to a Steelers game isn’t a privilege. You know how I know? Because I’m not seven and can pretty much do whatever I want, provided I have enough money in my bank account.
Back in December of 2013, when the Steelers were 5-8 and looked to be all but eliminated from the postseason, my old boss gave me two free tickets to the game against the Bengals on Sunday Night Football. I figured I’d take my uncle since I owed him a free game or two. Anyway, despite my best efforts to layer up, I was COLD. I was so cold, in fact, I spent about half of the game hiding in the men’s restroom in order to stay warm.
I shared my experiences the next day in a Behind the Steel Curtain article and was told by more than one person that I should have been grateful to see a Steelers game live. Really? Because I got frostbite in my big right toe, and to this day, I can’t experience a cold moment without it going numb on me. Free tickets, my right...toe.
In conclusion, I can’t say who is worse: The Steelers fans who spend 100 percent of the time acting like they actually hate the team or the ones who supposedly cry when they land at Pittsburgh International Airport and then cry again like 15 minutes later when they come out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel (inbound).
When it comes to those latter fans, I got a message for you: If you want to sit in the parking lot of Heinz Field and drink shot after shot in the hours before a Steelers game, that’s nice. But to paraphrase the bartender in Rocky: I like watching the Steelers from my living room. I don’t gotta take no shots.