Fan Presence Needed at Playoff Road Games

January 12th, 2006

Fan Presence Needed at Playoff Road Games

Over the last few years, NFL teams have started to catch on that Steelers fans travel to see their team play, and they’ll most likely pay to do it. When buying group seats in Houston and San Diego, we were required to purchase a set of preseason tickets. Tickets to games that we would never go to, but pay for anyway. Then this seasons’s game at Baltimore started the whole PR campaign against the Steeler Nation. Ravens Coach Brian Billick asked his disgruntled and fiesty fans to fill the seats with purple instead of staying home or selling out to yellow towels. Once the Playoffs started, the Bengals jumped on the same public relations campaign to keep Paul Brown Stadium orange. This sounds strange to the Steeler Nation, because we know what playoffs mean. It seems unfathomable that other teams must publicly ask their patrons to come back for one more game. PLEASE?

Could you imagine Cowher asking Steelers fans not to sell their tickets? Could you imagine selling your playoff tickets to anyone? Could you imagine the City of Pittsburgh making a public plea for fans to go to the game instead of watching at home? I didn’t think so.

So it seems the secret is out. Coaches have finally realized that the fans are important. The crowd noise in the RCA Dome for our Monday Night defeat in November was deafening. The noise definitely hurt the Steelers off the line. No matter what the gripe was about pumped up noise, 50,000 fans in an enclosed stadium are going to be loud. Yet with those acoustics, 10,000 Steelers fans could reverberate too. Hopefully the Steelers will be better prepared for this during the playoffs.

But the home crowd can also be a problem. At the Wild Card playoff game in Cincinnati the crowd listened to the pleas and kept all the tickets “in the family.” A Steeler fan I talked to who has gone to Cincinnati every year claimed this was the least amount of Black and Gold he’s seen at a game. And the Bengals got into a frenzy once Carson Palmer went down. The fans were screaming bloody murder about cheap shots and cheaters.

All over Paul Brown stadium men in Steelers jerseys heard,”take out Roethlisberger! See how well they’ll do then! You cheap-shot cheating faggots! Yeah I’m talking to you Polamalu. You Suck!” And while the Bengals fans threw bottles on the field, Steelers fans got a break to wipe the spit from off the back of their necks. That is unless they used that time to break out in fisticuffs. But if you want to see the end of the game, keep your fists to yourself.

The Bengals fans couldn’t keep it up for the whole game. Oh the thrill of victory is loud, but the agony of defeat is lonely. It was almost uncomfortable to realize how quiet the Cincy fans got once the Steelers took the lead. Some even started leaving in the third quarter. And that lack of support affects the players. Prolonged silence at home is the sound of lost hope.

The Steelers are headed back to Indy for the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Coach Dungy has asked Colts fans not to sell their tickets to Steelers fans. Those who do will probably ask for a high price. But the Steelers need every chance and every fan they can get. If you are thinking about going to the game, remember that every Steeler voice is important. If you are sitting at the office on Friday trying to plan your weekend, look for tickets online, grab a friend, and make the 6 hour road trip (from Pittsburgh) to Indianapolis to watch what could be the game of the year.

If you’re still looking for tickets when you get there and they ask you about your Pennsylvania plates tell them you’re a Peyton fan from Philly, and you’d never miss a Colts playoff game. (Hide the Terrible towels until game time).

In a close game, the crowd can make a difference. And in the NFL, on any given Sunday, either team has a chance to win. It ain’t over til it’s over!

Go Steelers! Beat those Colts! (Cut that Meat! Cut that Meat!)

View the Photo Gallery for the Wildcard Playoff Game in Cincinnati

View the Photo Gallery for the Divisional Playoff Game in Indianapolis

Fan Presence Needed at Playoff Road Games

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