So I've gotten this question from many irritated Bengals' fans from Cincinnati as my Steelers adoration becomes known to them. When I tell them that I went to college with Big Ben they quickly roll their eyes, dismissing me because I'm not a long-time Steelers' fan from Pittsburgh. "So, if Ben ever leaves the Steelers will you stop being a Steelers' fan then?" is Always without fail the next question. And if anybody really knows me, I'm loyal to a fault so of course my answer is no, but there's more to my Steelers' fandom then that, so I thought I'd try to elaborate for those of you wondering why I'm so die hard.
I grew up a Vikings' fan because simply I grew up in and around the Twin Cities, the Vikings' home. When I moved to Ohio, however, it was difficult for me to keep up with Vikings, have little access to the internet (and not really knowing how to use it enough at that time to keep up on the team) and having no cable therefore no ESPN, I started to lose track of the Vikings and had a lull where I didn't watch any football when I had been used to watching it nearly every Sunday. I'd Never liked the Bengals and if anything would faintly cheer for the Browns here and there just because I found the Bengals irritating, thugish and just classless (not that the Vikings have shown to be much better than that, but like I said, I'm loyal to a fault). So off to college I went where a subpar football team exploded because of Big Ben! People don't realize what Big Ben did for our school. We were a little unknown MAC school that suddenly got put on the radar. The spirit and energy at Miami those years probably have only been matched at Miami when Wally Szczerbiakwas there, but it was wonderful and exciting. I know many people who either went to Ohio State University or are OSU fans just because everybody here in Ohio is, and they can't understand what it's like to be from a smaller school that isn't known for anything really in the greater world outside of Ohio and have someone take it to a national level of awareness. It's like so many players go to the NFL from OSU that after a while, it's like, so what? I've heard Many OSU fans say they stop following former OSU players after they make it into the NFL, now that just doesn't happen at a school like Miami. Ben was it for us and will be for a while from our school. He was our star, he put us on the map and he gave us so much those years he was at Miami and I'm thrilled I got to be there for it. I also met Ben once, when I was working in our Recreation Center the summer before his final year at Miami. He'd come in to work out before football camp started and I have to say he was Extremely nice and super personable and friendly - though the guys I was working with swore he was hitting on me, I've heard enough accounts from people around the campus that he's a super decent, good guy that I think he was just being friendly and chatty with me.
So, all that being said, let's bring my husband into the picture. He grew up in Kentucky and so had no NFL team to root for, and like me, half-heartedly rooted for the Browns because he too hated the Bengals for the same reasons and so just followed the Browns to follow a team. When Ben was going into the draft, hubs got super into it, following every report, watching the Combine, and watching the draft to see where Ben would go. As soon as Ben was drafted to the Steelers, I immediately bought my hubby his jersey (before the season and the injury to Maddox even happened) and my hubby, not having any other team loyalty, fell hard for the Steelers, and I came soon after. What I always say is the Ben led us to the Steelers but the Steelers won us over and not because they were winning or anything like that, but because of their classiness, they good character players they choose, the respected franchise that has been around for generations and the deep history the team has as well as hubs and I both love Defense and the Steelers have plenty of that to keep us thrilled! Also, the Steelers are something that my hubby and I have rallied for together, something we got into at the same time and with each other. Steelers' games are huge bonding experiences for us, I know, that sounds weird, but I once watched a Steelers' game without him because he had to go to a Bengals' game (puke) with a client and it was miserable watching the game without him and what he ended up doing was going into the lobby of the Bengals stadium (he had Club Seat tickets so it was a nice lobby) and changing the TV to the Steelers' game and calling me on the phone and we watched the game like that, both of us on the phone watching it from separate locations! He should have just stayed home. The Steelers' is something that my husband and I share in together and something we will share with our future children. While my hubby roots for the Vikings just because I'm a fan and he has no real favorites from the NFC, he's not super into them like I am (for better or worse) and he has no real reason to be into them. So for a guy from a state without a NFL football team, Ben has given him a team to root for and be loyal to. So I reiterate, if Ben left the Steelers' would we stop rooting for the team? Hell no, the team has won us over for many reasons and I'm not even sure Ben's my favorite player on the team. I'm a huge fan of Polamalu after all. The team is something that my hubby and I share in and something we can both get into fully because of the shared loyalty towards Ben at first and now to the team whom we feel is a team we can root for without being embarrassed by boat scandals and arrests. I do have to admit, when it comes to the Vikings, it is hard to root for people like Fred Smoot after hearing the nasty things he was accused of in the boat scandal, it makes my skin crawl thinking of the double dildo, ewwww. So it's nice to have a team that is mostly full of clean, respectable guys with a franchise that everybody in the NFL has a deep respect for. Did you know that even after the Super Bowl win the Steelers' franchise did not raise their ticket prices a penny? This is absolutely unheard of in Any sport but that represents what the franchise is all about perfectly and that is why The Steelers.
By the way, if you want to learn all that you need to know about the Steelers, please check out Mondesi's House, one of the Best Steelers blogs around which I'm addicted to. It's funny, witty and sharp and highly endorsed by me.