There are many types of fans in the sports world. Never-say-die fans, fair-weather fans, casual fans, optimistic fans, and perpetually pessimistic fans, just to name a few.
No matter what type of fan you are of the Black and Gold, you were at least a little bit let down by the events that took place on the field at Acrisure Stadium as the San Francisco 49ers beat our Steelers 30-7. Heck, some of you may have needed a day off of work on Monday just as a grieving period over the loss.
I’m not sure which type I am, possibly never-say-die as I watched every snap to the bitter end of that debacle. Maybe I’m part casual, as once the second quarter started I wasn’t getting upset at the action on the field—I had more or less accepted the end result at that point. The touchdown drive before the half revived my hopes, so maybe I’m optimistic. I started thinking it only takes two plays to get the lead back, just two plays! Boy, was that short-lived. Ironically, it only took San Francisco two plays to squash that optimism.
My brother, on the other hand, texted asking me about the game as he was out on a hike and had spotty cell service. As the game was available for him to watch at home on his TV, I questioned whether or not he qualified as a true fan. This is the same brother, after all, who punched a hole in his living room wall when the Pirates lost the 1992 NLCS to the Braves. We’re all different. By the time I finished texting him a summary of the first half, I was semi-jealous of his hiking.
The most intense fandom I’ve ever had in my life was for the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team. Back in the ‘90s before you could find any game you wanted on TV or online, I was that guy who would shell out $29.99 for a pay-per-view to watch Tennessee take on Montana Tech or Whatsamatta U. I’d have a tape in the VCR to record each game and you better believe I watched it a second time, third time if we lost. It was some sort of self-imposed punishment I guess.
My fandom peaked walking out of the Orange Bowl in January of 1998 after witnessing Peyton Manning’s last game in college. I cried walking through the parking lot. Am I proud of the fact that as a 29-year-old I cried over a football game? No, I am not. But I did it so I’ll own it. I cried, not because it was Manning’s last game, but because Tennessee football was the only thing I was truly passionate about in my life. Tennessee had been knocking on the National Championship door for a few years. That squad was the best roster Tennessee ever had. Manning and seven others would be drafted the following spring and even with all of that talent, we were only good enough to get our butts thoroughly beat down by Nebraska 42-17. It was obvious to me that night that we would never be good enough to win that elusive championship. Those of you who know college football history may know that the joke was on me as the very next season Tennessee would go 13-0 and bring home the crystal football.
A season is rarely defined by its first game. Last year the 49ers started 1-2 with losses to the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos, two of the three worst teams in 2022. Did it mean their season was over? As Blutarsky asked in Animal House, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” No Sir! The 49ers would win 12 of their last 14 games and play for the NFC Championship. Now, would I bet on us finishing 13-4 after what we saw on Sunday? Nope, not even with your money! But you never know and that’s what keeps bringing us back as fans.
So cheer up, Buttercup! There’s nothing any of us can do to change what happened last Sunday. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look forward to what comes next.
I’m curious to see how intense we are as a community. Please rate your Steelers fandom in the poll below based on how long you stuck it out on Sunday. If you couldn’t watch or listen, how long would you have based on what you’ve learned?
How did your Steeler fandom rate this game?
This poll is closed
Never-Say-Die, I watched every snap
Optimistic, found something better to do after McCaffrey’s TD
Fair Weather, turned it off at 20-0
Pessimistic, watched it all just to take notes for ranting purposes
Casual, did something else with my time and checked score