After the bye and a gritty Monday night win over San Diego, we would face the Jags with a standard 1pm start. It was mid-October and definitely football weather. Before we headed up, Killer mentioned that he didn't have any parking passes. I think he gave them to some tire retailers. I figured no problem - I'll just park the monstrosity off in the distance, on the North side, but not in the ghetto. I always have this eerie premonition of someone throwing a brick through the front windshield. I dropped the six of them off and ventured up above the stadium. I found a good spot about 3/4 mile from the stadium. I then hoofed it down to the PNC lot and joined the regulars for some brief tailgating. That was the last time I'd ever see my favorite backpack cooler. Scottie has assured me that one day we'll be reunited. Half of me believes him - the other half is indifferent. It is a nice cooler though - very portable.
The tailgating in the lot and build up to the game seemed more subdued than usual. I was having difficulty finding a ticket. There just weren't that many out there. I joined a large crowd in front of Heinz Field and started yelling, "Anyone got an extra?" Right after I'd gotten a little more brazen, a man said "Yeah, I got one." I asked how much and he gave me the how much you willin' to pay routine. I squinted and said, "How about forty?" Much to my surpise, he said ok and handed over the ticket.
I remember a strange malaise over the crowd. Most of the fans just seemed to be expecting a win. One guy in the restroom started yelling "We've got to take these guys seriously or we're going to lose!" Turned out to be pretty prophetic. I remember telling Scottie at the half how disgusted I was with Maddox. I was convinced that Cowher would bench him even though we were leading. Cowher opted to not follow my advice. What transpired was an atrocious 2nd half where we did everything humanly possible to lose the game. Eventually, we got beat in OT. Lots of highs and lows - entertaining yet ultimately disheartening.
I decided to make a move for the limo. I had to pick everyone up near the stadium so I knew it was going to be a tricky. After all, everything becomes turns into outgoing after the game is over. I figured that I'd swoop down from a Northwest direction. It quickly turned into a serious pain in the ass. Traffic was spilling out from every little mom and pop store parking lot. I even had to dodge a few crusty North Side hookers. I finally got moving. I saw this yellow light and decided to zip through it. Big Mistake! I was immediately pulled over by a Pittsburgh drunk-tank van. This black city cop emerged and comes up to my window. His female partner at the passenger side window. He starts screaming. "What's wrong with you? You almost ran me off the road. You just barrelled through that red light. You could have killed someone. You almost killed me. Why are you driving like a maniac. Where do you have to be that it's so important you almost kill someone? Why don't you have your seat belt on? LICENSE and REGISTRATION!!!! I humbly apologized and told him my boss had just called and they were waiting for me by the stadium. I gave him my license and he takes one look at it and says "Eric Saferstein, don't I know you?" I'm bewildered - "How on earth do you know me?" He fires back, "Didn't I issue you an open container violation a few months ago?" I couldn't believe it, it was the same fuckin' cops who nailed me at the Miami pre-season game. I'm in a state of shoch and awe. I asked, "How on earth could you possibly remember that?" He starts up again, "Remember that???? I know everything that happens in this town. You're driving like a maniac, someone's going to get killed. I've got kids. Do you want them to grow up without a father? What's wrong with you anyway? Do you drive like that in West Virginia? " Eventually, he calms down a little bit and goes back to the car and run my info. It all comes back clean and I offer up a sheepish response, "Well on the good side of things, at least I paid the fine." I wondered to myself if he was going to bring up the hostile letter that was included with the payment. He didn't. "Put on your seat belt and drive like a normal human being and get the hell out of here. I never want to see you again." I'm like "Yes sir, sorry sir, I'll be more careful in the future."
Anyway, I snagged the crew. They were indifferent to the loss, hooping it up and having a good time. We stopped at the 19th Ho for a beer that night and Lisa grabbed Justin Dustin's guitar and started strumming; well, let's call it flailing away. Rechter was not amused. Another long one.