Monday, December 09, 2013
Blizzard of thoughts - Steelers/Dolphins (12-8-13)
Just before I zipped down to Heinz Field, I got a text message from Crickdude.
Crickdude: Any plans for Steerel game?
Saf: Heading down to the stadium. My prediction is 10,000+ no shows.
Crickdude: I was wondering what the official attendance over/under was.
Saf: I just set the attendance line at 54,875 (out of 65,050).
Crickdude: I'll take the under.
A few hours later, they flashed the official attendance figure --- 52,489.
Score one for the legend of Wooly Swamp, or Crickity Crick or whatever.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Steelers Nation is for the most part, a sick joke. When the going gets tough (losing record, inclement weather), Steeler fans stay home. Not only do they steer clear of the stadium, they barricade themselves indoors. If by chance, they do summon the courage to go to the stadium, they eat tickets by the mouthful and stream out the exits at halftime. No big surprise. I've seen this scenario play itself out about a gazillion times. Must leave early. Must go to the casino and play vidiot games. Must chain smoke cigarettes. Must go to the bar. Must beat traffic... in that defining order.
Literally tons of empty seats, row after row after row. Yesterday, the only place worse was Fed Ex Field. Maybe Daniel Snyder can blame Redskin attendance woes on insensitivity toward Native Americans. What could Rooney blame the situation on? I don't know... maybe "hatred of the sidelines and cold Primanti's."
Anyway, I was meeting up with Crickdude, the Professor and G Minimum - so I set out to score all us tickets. I spotted this one couple holding up a pair, so I asked them if they were freebies. Surprisingly, the guy said, "Yep, we just can't get rid of them. And they're club level, too." Hot damn! Free club seats! A good score for two reasons ($200+ per ticket - this meant nothing as all tickets had quickly become worthless... but, it would offer an indoor respite from the cold river winds and wet snow).
So I engaged them for awhile and all seemed well. I was barely out of earshot, when I saw them talking with this other couple. "Ohh no! I just gave two tickets away to this guy about 30 seconds ago. If I knew you needed them, I would have given them to you guys. You could have sat with us in the club"
So I was faced with a moral quandary. What would I do? If you're guessing, I bet Saf took off running... you would be INCORRECT. I walked over and insisted they take back the tickets and give them to their friends. Everyone in the circle was blown away. Little did they know that I had suddenly morphed into some kind of atheist-jew-angel-do-gooder. Just in time for Festivus I suppose. Seriously, what was I supposed to do??? Be an asshole? Truth be told, I knew that ticket acquisition wouldn't be an issue with all the worthless stacks floating around. So, aside from stampede prevention, this was my good deed for the year.
I ended up talking to the beneficiary couple for about 10 minutes. Turns out they had come all the way from Duisburg, Germany. We talked soccer - the 2014 World Cup draw, German Bundesliga, English Premier League and of course a little bit of stampedes thrown in for good measure. Very nice couple. Turns out they were staying at the same hotel with the other twosome. They were all partying at the hotel bar the night before. That's how they all "knew" each other.
They headed inside and I resumed my search. Scored 1 extra from the wife whose family owns Monitcello's restaurants (about a dozen locations). These people were exceptionally cool. Gigi and I went to the Monticello's in Shaylor a few years ago. I think I had the lasagna. Moral of the story - support their establishments. They are most certainly worthy. So many yinzer assholes would rather EAT their tickets rather than actively try to give them away. But I digress.
Anyway, I scored 2 more tix and a print-out off this other dude and we were all set. When everyone showed up, I learned they had already acquired 2 tix, so it turns out that most of my shenanigans were unnecessary. More ticket stubs for the downstairs bathroom wall I suppose.
On the way into the stadium, I noticed one of the new security signs:
You can't see the items in his right hand, but it's a cell phone and a wallet. You'd think that the NFL or any of the people responsible for stadium security would issue a simple warning --- that while a game is in progress, any evacuation order or panic-inducing information delivered over a cell phone is a deadly hoax. After all, this sign visually acknowledges that everyone has a cell phone on them (something that irreparably alters emergency evac protocol and is the most seemingly obvious, dirtiest secret in the history of mankind). You would think the NFL front office and Roger Goodell would give just the slightest of a damn. Seriously though... why would the NFL or Heinz Field security give a fuck about saving lives? Why should the societal burden fall upon them? The truth is simple. They only care about that which involves money, is blatantly obvious or has a minimal impact on food and beverage sales.
And here's the greater irony - they weren't doing any pat-downs yesterday. Just the metal-detector wands. I guess "their version of what constitutes security" becomes less important if the weather sucks and everything becomes a "hassle."
We took our seats on the edge of the 500 level. Front row. Not that it mattered. Anyone could have sat anywhere, but it was a good vantage point. The game lumbered on, back and forth. Exciting stuff. The weather reminded me of the regular season Chicago Bears game during the 2005-06 Superbowl run. Another total white-out for the first half. You couldn't see the skyline, the city or anything beyond the stadium. We won that game 21-9 and rode the Bus to the Superbowl. Not so fortunate this time around.
We headed down to the pit for the 4th quarter. When Big Ben went 4 and out, late in the 4th quarter, we exited the stadium with about 2:12 remaining on the clock. We were only down by 3 points but I couldn't fathom us getting the ball back. Plus, if Miami didn't score a touchdown, they would most certainly kick a field goal (which they did).
I get back to Gigi's house and she's talking about the thrilling finish and Antonio Brown stepping on the sideline. I was a little confused but began to process everything. On the brief trip back to her place, I heard them on WDVE yapping about "what almost happened" but couldn't put it all together. Then I saw the lateral replay madness.
For the love of Christ, yesterday I became one of "those Steelers fans." The kind I despise. The kind that always leave early. The kind that show up in a limo. The kind that only go to playoff games and spend hundreds or thousands on stubhub tickets. The kind that buy a brand new "official NFL" Steelers jersey every year. The kind that would rather eat tickets, preferring NOT to give them away. The kind that need a hotel room waiting nearby. The kind that bitch about the quality of service at a packed Jerome Bettis Grill on game day. The kind that don't go if it's cold or raining. The kind that suck.
Now I have officially become one of "those" fans - the kind that suck. Well... maybe I'm not quite one of "them." But I did learn an important lesson, n'at. Real fans stay til the final whistle blows.
Thank God we lost. Like I saying... as of yesterday I joined the official battalion of Steeler douchebags. Somebody stick a tampon in my ass! I am done. Well, until next Sunday. Big night game against Cincy.
Maybe I'll make some "SIDELINES SUCK" t-shirts.