Rick Reilly is an excellent writer. He does great stories that bring attention to events and causes that deserve at least the 800 words he gives them. He also tells it like he sees it without pulling any punches. Tiger Woods, James Harrison, Jay Cutler have all been in his crosshairs.
Reilly just wrote a column on ESPN.com that you can read here. It basically tells you that unless you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, you should cheer for the Green Bay Packers this weekend. Despite being a Steelers fan, I found it to be a great read. Reilly doesn't say anything about Ben Roethlisberger's legal issues or Harrison's hits (Which is surprising when he made it clear in a previous column that he doesn't like the way Harrison plays). He just points out how much the Packers mean to the city of Green Bay.
|Steelers fan are in good company around the world.|
Of course, the column made me feel the need to counter with the reasons non-Packers fans should be pulling for the Steelers on Sunday.
You root for the Steelers because you know they'll never leave you. The Penguins and Pirates have almost left the city in recent memory, but there has never been that fear with the Steelers. Even when the steel mills were closing and young people were leaving the city, the Steelers remained a constant for the city. They have been around for 78 years and will be around for another 78. Probably more.
Visitors are greeted by two historic figures when they arrive at the Pittsburgh airport. One is George Washington. The other is Franco Harris making the immaculate reception. Harris' catch and touchdown didn't win the team a Super Bowl. Hell, it didn't even get the Steelers to the big game. They lost in the AFC Championship the next week to the Miami Dolphins. But the moment represents the rise of the Steelers. It was their first playoff win.
You root for the Steelers because you find fellow fans no matter where you go across the country. You could be driving in Nebraska and see Steelers bumper stickers, or sitting on a beach in Guam when a Japanese tourist runs by with a Steelers shirt on. Steelers fans are everywhere and never hide their love.
You root for the Steelers so that maybe Roethlisberger will be put in the same tier as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. It's where he belongs.
You root for the Steelers because while it may not be on Broadway yet, you know about and have seen "The Chief" at the local theater or went to a special screening of the film version.
The Steelers took an everyday household item and made it one of the most recognizable symbols in sports. The Terrible Towel has also raised more than $3 million for a local charity. Who cares what Clay Travis says. Steelers fans feel a sense of unity when they wave their towels together in a show of support for their teams.
You cheer on the Steelers because they've made Sundays a weekly holiday. Whether you celebrate it with friends or family, every week you get together for the game and all other conflicts or issues are put aside for at least three hours. New conflicts, as to whether the defense should be more aggressive or the offense should run more, do arise, but they are quickly forgotten when the team brings home a W.
You root for the Steelers because they participate in countless charitable organizations in the area. You may not run into them in the grocery store as often as you would run into Packers in Green Bay, but you view them as a part of your community. And Joey Porter is no longer here, so miniature ponies are safe again.
|Steel would crush cheese. It's science.|
You root for the Steelers because they have prevented the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns from doing anything in the playoffs.
You root for the Steelers because they aren't cute or fancy. They punch you in the mouth and then move on to their next victim. They don't shy from contact, but ask for more. There are rules in the league that were made specifically because of the way the Steelers play and it bothered other teams and their glass-jawed players.
And Reilly asked if we wear steel beams in Pittsburgh. Yes, we do. We just prefer the Terrible Towel.
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