Well, it's been a week since the Pittsburgh Steelers' sixth Superbowl win in Tampa, and I am just beginning to come off of my high. What a game... what a team... what an awesome way to make history and put the city of Pittsburgh on the map.
If yinz didn't know already, I grew up in Pittsburgh. I've been living here in New York for a little over six years now, but my love for the Steelers hasn't faded, in fact, it's grown. If you're ever sick of your hometown, I know the remedy.... move. It's freeing to get to know a new city, and slowly, you begin to appreciate/miss the quirky trademarks of home and develop a newfound pride in where you came from. You turn up the TV when the news mentions something about it, your ears perk up when you hear someone nearby talking about it, or in my case, you feel the need to become BFFs and buy shots for anyone wearing a Steelers jersey in the bar...
When the Steelers made it to the Superbowl three years ago, I bought an inconvenient and slightly disastrous flight home (looking at an outdated schedule and taking the PATH to Newark Airport with only 45 minutes til takeoff to miss the flight at the gate by 5 minutes... and then sitting in the airport for 6 more hours with only a freaking $8 food voucher, grrrrrr), and when the Super Steelers made it once again this year, I knew there was no place I'd rather be.
It was a perfect weekend; the city truly comes alive when our Steelers do well. I spent my Saturday afternoon in the Strip. It's the spot to get your not-so-official Steelers gear from the street vendors and your breads, meats, cheeses and chocolate from the mom and pop delis and bakeries along the way. A stop for lunch at the original Primanti's location with a line out the door and a group of crazed middle aged women decked out in Steeler gear doing cheers made the day complete.
On Sunday, I did not leave my house. The whole day was spent preparing nervously for the game. Many Iron City beers were consumed, the Superbowl spreads and dips were made and I changed three times into different Steeler shirts, unsure which was best to wear at game time. I decided on my old Bettis jersey... lucky #36. Worked for me in Superbowl XL and worked for me the past two playoff games. Everyone in the whole city was wearing Steeler apparel, even the dogs. With amazing foresight, I bought my german shepherds, Renner and Luna personalized Steeler doggie jerseys for Christmas.
What an awesome game. From the moment of kickoff, my phone was buzzing with texts from literally everyone I knew in New York. In the first 5 minutes of play, when we almost got our first touchdown, we thought we might have an easy game (ha). When James Harrison intercepted the ball and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown at the half time mark, we were amazed, elated and pumped to power through the next half.
Halftime... the Boss delivered a great show. I'm loving this reversion to old school rock stars like last year's Tom Petty and now Bruce. I may have been born forty-some years too late.
The third quarter began and was finished before we knew it. Then came the fourth quarter and a severe blow to our confidence in the Steel Curtain. Two touchdown passes from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals their first lead in the game by a mere three points, with only a little over two minutes left in the game. My mom and I held hands, no joke, and the house went silent.
We prayed for a miracle, and a miraculous play was exactly what we got. Ben moved the ball down the field pass by pass to the 6 yard line. After an incomplete pass to Santonio Holmes in the end zone, Ben threw again on second down to Santonio on the opposite side of the end zone. It worked. It worked!! It was a heavenly catch, a magical catch by Holmes, toes dragging in the end zone, arms outstretched and grabbing the ball out of the air. And that was it. With 35 seconds left in the game, we ripped the Cardinals brief lead away from them and took home history.
I stayed in Pittsburgh til Wednesday so I wouldn't miss the victory parade. What a show. The city was packed by 9:30am, and we started drinking 16oz. IC Lights in Primanti's by 10. The streets filled up so we took to the parking garage to get a bird's eye view. Even the top level of the garage was filled with fans. We watched each Chevy truck drive by and screamed and waved our Terrible Towels with everyone else. We saw Jeff Reed (knowing him right away by his bleached mutton chops), James Harrison with the Vince Lombardi trophy and Santonio Holmes, proudly showing off his MVP trophy. And, highlight of the day, we saw Troy Polamalu crowdsurf into the fans below us. Too raw (sorry, that's my brother's phrase). And in an interesting twist, he was wearing Uggs, hahaha.
I love, love my team. I will become a New Yorker in very other way, and I will like the Giants and love the Yankees, but I will always love my Steelers more. I have pride in Sixburgh. :)