Week XIII: Welcome to Jackson-Burgh

November 6th, 2004

Week XIII: Welcome to Jackson-Burgh

Drawn by a feeling of great importance, I decided to go to Jacksonville at the last minute. My instinct told me that this would be a tight game where the Steelers would need all the support they could get. I was hoping the Black and Gold would come out in record numbers and make it another home game, like the one at Texas Stadium. I was not alone. The estimates vary but 15,000 tickets were sold to people with Pennsylvania addresses. Some reports estimate as many as 30,000 Steelers fans at Alltel Stadium, their first sell-out crowd this season.

Welcome to Jackson-Burgh, Florida (AKA Roethlisville). I showed up at the stadium around 1 PM and it was several hours before I even saw a Jaguars fan. They were totally out numbered until the last minute. As you might expect, Florida is home to many one-time Pittsburghers, but I also met fans that drove from Corpus Christi, Texas, flew from Detroit, Michigan, and everywhere in between. Once again, the local news did a story on the loyal Steelers fans, which were all hoping for a little face-time on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football broadcast.

Everywhere you looked in Alltel Stadium there were Terrible Towels and Steelers jerseys. The local fans were annoyed, but not surprised. The Steelers took an early lead, and made some strong defensive stands, but the game was a nail-biter, coming down to the final few seconds. You could feel the tension in fans from both teams throughout the final two minutes. Steelers fans watched as Big Ben lead a confident drive that setup the winning field goal, and prayed for the Jaguars to miss their final attempt at scoring. It was a big win for the Black and Gold, and a hard loss for Jacksonville.

Could the fans be the deciding factor in close games? The Steelers still have some tough games ahead of them, but I sense that having tens of thousands of fans at away games, gives them the support they need to come back from behind. Remember Dallas? Some Steelers fans showed up in Jacksonville this weekend just to check out the view from their seats. If the winning streak keeps up, they say they’ll be back February 6, 2005, for Super Bowl XXXIX.

Final Outcome: Steelers beat Jacksonville Jaguars 17-16
Steelers 11-1

Week XIII: Welcome to Jackson-Burgh

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