Is that a Super Bowl at the Bottom of my Glass?

<p>1999 was a tough year for Steeler bars around the country. Not only was there no bonus Sunday beer mingling in January, but the buckets of Rolling Rock sat idle well before the long Thanksgiving weekend had even set in. The turning point of that Black and Gold bar season was the late game meltdown on November 14th against the newly reborn Cleveland Browns <b><i>in Pittsburgh</b></i>.</p>

The demolition team could have blown up Three Rivers Stadium on the 15th and few of the Hoffbrau (just outside of Denver) regulars would have noticed after that 16-15 embarrassment.

Next Sunday there would be no line outside the bar before the 11AM opening. The place was empty except for me, my Burgh gal, her visiting father, and an older guy from Central Catholic who was fond of playing the Steeler fight song on his kazoo. The rest of the Steeler faithful did not miss much as the Steelers gave away a sloppy game to the Titans. The already thin hopes of most Steeler fans had evaporated during those last few minutes against the Clowns.

In almost every state there is a Little Pittsburgh. For reasons economic and otherwise, the Steeler faithful have been spread far and wide. Sure, there might be bars for the Cowpokes and the Pack around this country of ours as well, but there is something special about the Steeler nation. For many of us it is not just the team we miss, but home.

I'll never forget the first time I landed at the Hoffbrau in Colorado. The parking lot was full of cars, trucks, and jeeps that all sported one type or another of Steeler pride. Fans mingled around in Steeler jerseys, and suddenly I felt right at home. There was tailgating. There were a few cases of contraband Iron City. Damn, it was as if the Allegheny and the Monongahela converged right there to form the Ohio in the Mountain West.

The stories were pretty much the same. Jobs were lean in the Burgh and folks in their late teens or early twenties, the future of Western PA, picked up stakes to move elsewhere in search of work. What they carried with them was that indomitable Pittsburgh Pride and their love of the Steelers. Their hometown was recreated each Sunday during the fall in some non-distinctive bar in the suburbs of Denver, non-distinctive save for the Black and Gold adorning the walls on the inside. When the Browns stumbled past the Steelers in 1999, Little Pittsburgh left Colorado all too soon.

I expect the Rolling Rock and Iron City will flow freely in Steeler Bars around the country for a healthy five months in 2002. I am sure I will fumble my fair share of Rocks, doing my best impersonation of Richard Huntley, as Cowher continues to do his best to torture us barstool fans. I will continue to do my part, draining green bottle after green bottle until I see that Super Bowl ring at the bottom. All along the way, from the pre-season satellite dish hunting for KDKA to the big party in San Diego, I will keep you posted of the Steeler View from the Barstool…


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