NEWLY UPDATED FOR 2013
You wont find any staid player statistics, by-the-numbers game summaries or tedious team histories here. This Steelers book teems with the passion and pride Pittsburgh has for its football team. It’s told through a multitude of intimate fan portraits that put a face on Steelers Nation.
Journalist John Luciew, a life-long Steelers fan and twenty-year season ticket holder, takes to the streets of Pittsburgh’s Strip District and scales the heights of Heinz Field’s 700-level nose-bleed section to uncover the personal connections that have forged an unbreakable bond between town and team.
Youll visit a university art exhibit that explores Pittsburgh’s football obsession in all its glory. How do Steelers fans entwine themselves with the team? This exhibit archives the ways. There are colossal collages of Steelers tattoos, a Troy Polamalu-groomed poodle, a scale model of Heinz Field that overtakes a fan’s basement and an exact replica of a black-and-gold Steelers’ man-cave.
Luciew makes the rounds with Pittsburgh historians who recount the Steel City’s manufacturing fall and its football ascension. Laid off steel workers who could no longer wear their hardhats to work donned them instead for football games. And an army of migrating Pittsburghers fanned out across the country looking for work and gave birth to Steelers Nation in the process. Today, theres a coast-to-coast collection of Steelers’ fan clubs and bars that all point to Pittsburgh as its Mecca.
UPMC psychologists recount how humans harbor a natural drive to connect with something larger then themselves. In Pittsburgh, that human need is in overdrive, resulting in an epidemic outbreak of Steelers mania. Newborns are swaddled in Terrible Towels in Pittsburgh maternity wards. Football party hosts insist upon strict seating charts so as not to alter anything from one game to the next, lest they jinx the team. Children grow up forever equating Steelers football with food, fun, family and a burning desire to be great.
One proud product of Pittsburgh’s African-American neighborhoods and its rough-and-tumble public schools recounts how the pursuit of excellence embodied by the Steelers helped elevate his own goals. This Pittsburgher now commands the lofty heights of high finance from atop a PNC banking tower. His story shows how the team that borrowed its name from Pittsburgh’s old economy helped fuel the pride and effort necessary for Pittsburgh to forge its own renaissance.
And while the steel mills might have closed; the furnace fires all but extinguished; the ingots all grown cold, they still mass-produce one thing in Pittsburgh — Steelers fans.