I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying this football season. Not only is my team (the Steelers) doing well, but there have been some major upsets and surprises.
Some of the underdogs, ehem Chiefs, came out of no where to really kick some butt.
Last year’s Super Bowl winner got beat by a team that no one saw coming.
The two #1 seeds going in to the playoffs got beat this past weekend.
And the Steelers are still in it! Does it get any better? I don’t think so.
I haven’t always been a Steelers fan. In fact, I haven’t always loved football. Ask anyone I grew up with. I had exactly zero interest in the game, either at the college or pro levels. This surprises a lot of people given that I’m from Nebraska. You’re practically born here with a Husker pacifier in your mouth. I’m probably not a Husker fan because I didn’t grow up in a Husker household, no I was spared from the fever. We’re a Notre Dame family. Wait, what’s that sound? I think I just heard half of my Nebraska readers “tsk tsk” in disgust. Yes, you read that right. We’re (or rather my mom, dad and sister) are Notre Dame fans. I didn’t drink the kool-aid though. I just endured it.
Then I went off to a college that wasn’t UNL or even in this state and was able to get further away from the Husker Hoopla. I went to a small private school that had a Division 3 football team. The games were a fun social outing (read: drinking event) but nothing that we got super crazy over. The only sports I really cared about at Coe, when I wasn’t studying or shooting photos, were drinking and partying (and yes, those are athletic events much of the time).
My parents weren’t devoted followers of any pro teams either (though my dad watches pro football, and roots for the Broncos, he isn’t super in to it) so I wasn’t exposed to it. Heck, I don’t even remember watching any Super Bowl games until 5 years ago or so, and even then I only went for the social aspect of it (and to watch the commercials).
The turning point came when I did a 6 week assignment for Del Monte in Pittsburgh in December of 2007.
I was in the heart of Steeler Nation and it was hard not to get sucked in. I was surrounded by it everywhere I went. The Del Monte office shared a parking lot with Heinz field so I saw the stadium every day.
Jerome Bettis’ restaurant was downstairs from our office and we ate there for lunch several times a week. All my co-workers were huge fans and everyone would wear Steeler gear on game days. When the Steelers were featured on Monday Night Football, there would be people everywhere around the stadium with their Terrible Towels. One night I had the MNF game on in my hotel room as I did some work and the commentators were talking about how it was pouring rain outside. I thought to myself, “Yeah it’s raining here too” and then realized my “here” was the same place they were talking about on TV! I looked over and saw an image of the Pittsburgh skyline and could see my hotel. It was surreal and I instantly got hooked.
And I’ve been a fan ever since.
I bought my first t-shirt that week from the airport on my trip home. I still have it (along with a handful of others) and wear them every weekend of football season.
The 2008-2009 season was the first where I really followed them – and they won the Super Bow!. Oh man that was exciting! I thought maybe I was their good luck charm!
Then the next year came and they didn’t do so great. It’s the Super Bowl curse I tell you!
And now here we are again, heading in to the game that determines who will be the AFC champion and move on to the Super Bowl. All they have to do is beat the Jets. Ha! I say that like it will be easy. It won’t. In the past 2 weeks, the Jets have taken down the might Colts and Patriots so the Steelers will need to bring their best.
And Isabella and I will be cheering as loud as we can!!
(CJ says I look a little crazed in this picture. I was trying to show enthusiasm and get Isabella to smile. You can see how well that worked.)