It’s that time of year.

Spotted on the front page of in a photo of the medal ceremony for women’s beach volleyball:

God bless Steeler Nation.  God bless our devoted, absolutely maniac hearts.

(h/t Mike)


  1. Steeler_tom
    August 21, 2008 7:40 pm

    Actually, There were at least two of us in kilts.
    I was in a actual kilt. The other guy was in a utilikilt. Funny thing… we parked next to and tailgaited together…. complete strangers. If you have pics I’d love to get copies if I could… I have a myspace page:

    Thanks bunches! :-)

    Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl said …

    @Steeler_Tom — I was that the AZ game, too, and I have a picture of you and my friend Laura (unless there was more than one person in a kilt and Steelers’ gear that day)! We were tailgating with a guy from Mexico, a guy from Alaska and some folks from Denver (all Steeler fans, none of whom had any family or connections in Pittsburgh)!

    As for the towel, I take my Pirates beachtowel with me whenever I travel and there’s a pool/ocean/lake. I like showing my Pittsburgh pride (even though the Buccos of Suckitude really haven’t given a reason to be proud lately).

  2. DeutschtownFrau
    August 21, 2008 8:09 pm

    I’m so disappointed to be coming late to this exchange, because I’m worried that no one else has pointed out a couple of big issues here and it’s so late tonight that none of the participants will see this, BUT:

    Did anyone do a double-take at Joe’s math??? Help me if I’m wrong — and it’s entirely possible that I am — but 1940 county population of 1,411,539 MINUS 2000 population of 1,281,666 = 129,873. That is not even a 10 percent loss, RIGHT???

    AND, during that 60-year span the US experienced not only huge growth but a huge population SHIFT, from North to South, due to the invention of THE AIR CONDITIONER!!! (A scholarly essay in the Wash. Post in the early-1980s had already pinned A.C. as the most pivotal invention of the 20th century — although this was before the personal computer came to be.) But really, think about it…

    The population of Florida in 1940 was under 2 million. In 2000, it was 16 million. US population doubled, Florida’s eight-tupled. There’s a lot more going on here than local bad management and the demise of the steel industry.

  3. gatorpez
    August 21, 2008 8:10 pm

    I live in Florida, and actually I live in a suburban town that has a sports bar that is all Steelers during the football season. They even bring in Iron City and IC Light.

    I’ve seen the Steelers play in Tampa and Jacksonville, and I have to say that the Jaguar fans don’t like Steeler fans…because we show up in so many numbers, it’s not that much of a home game for them. LOL

  4. Dennis Roddy
    August 21, 2008 8:26 pm

    Joe’s argument that the city’s population has decreased by half is relatively accurate; quite possibly, the loss has been more than half. But his political agenda obscures some other important facts just as the Terrible Towel in that victory photo obscures the person waving it.

    A few things to keep in mind here:

    1. Pittsburgh’s population loss began well before the decline of the steel industry as the baby boom and the GI bill gave post-war couples an incentive to seek larger living spaces and the rise in social and economic status to achieve them. That’s why my wife’s family moved from Beechview and Homewood to Scott Township.

    2. Allegheny County’s population has been largely stable, as in stagnant. That is a direct result of economic stagnation that grew out of the collapse of steel and other heavy industries. We can argue the merits and demerits of a longstanding Democratic Party ascendency here, but it is also undeniable that the collapse of heavy industry in America coincided with the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. That’s one Democrat and two Republicans. I would argue that this points less to a party connection to economic decline than to the impotency of any government, whatever its ideology, to do more than tweak the margins of freemarket economies. Presidents don’t create jobs; they only lie about it.

    3. Steeler nation might include a disapora of ex-western Pennsylvanians, but it also features a large contingent from around the country whose devotion to the team is as much a result of its legend, history and cache. Just as Manchester United became an icon of soccer fans the world over, and attracted a following here, the Steelers have done the same around the country and in Europe. I recall standing on a college campus in Dublin — as in Ireland — 11 years ago and being greeted by a guy who showed me his card, which read: United Kingdom Steelers Supporters Club. They follow the team and most of their members have not been to the U.S. and have no connection to Pittsburgh save the fact that they like football and, therefore, follow a team with a large reputation. Chances are that the Terrible Towel in Beijing was being waved by someone from Germany.

    There is lots to say about why one-party domination of any city can prove disastrous on many levels. But as powerful as the Democrats here might be — or once have been, before they effectively split into three different factions — they lack the power to banish Steelers Nation to the far corners. For something like that, it takes markets of global proportions.

  5. Caroline
    August 21, 2008 9:10 pm

    ….maybe JOE is really Ken Rice, did anyone think of that?!

    Anyway, now I feel like wearing my Steelers stuff everywhere I go and carrying a Towel, too. Next time you see a gold towel waving at a Minnesota Wild (NHL) game? That’s this crazy girl. For the record, the more I see of the world, the more I want to move back to Pittsburgh because I love it best.

  6. Burgh Wanna Be
    August 21, 2008 10:59 pm

    You just have our Steelers Fans. We’re everywhere. :-)

  7. Burgh Wanna Be
    August 21, 2008 11:03 pm

    OOPs. Late night, I’m watching the Men’s Volley Team trying to win gold. I meant to say, You just have to LOVE our Steeler Fans. They are everywhere. Maybe we will see another one tonight. :-)

  8. Kate
    August 21, 2008 11:09 pm

    This picture = totally amazing :)

  9. Still A. Fan
    August 21, 2008 11:29 pm

    OSU – i hate to burst YOUR bubble and the idiots who did that survey, but I can break that bitch down about 7 different ways…..and yes, I’m a math major who specialized in statistics. Did you even bother to read the criteria? Or to go to the full analysis page? You get credit for selling out the stadium when your team DOES BAD. Hmmmmm. How on Earth do you factor in that your team was in the playoffs about 30 out of the last 38 years winning 5 Super Bowls, countless division titles and trips to the AFC title game….. You don’t. Also, there was a much better article a few years ago about home team ratings on television in a radius of X miles. The Steelers DESTROYED other cities and that’s with them selling out every game. I believe they have the 3rd longest sellout streak to the Packers and Redskins. People can take any little stat they want and make a contest out of it. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out the folks behind that study are Brown’s fans. It took into account only the past 12 years. DUH! How much does the list change if you use 13? Exactly. It took into account the weather? The WEATHER? The parade for the last SB was friggin’ 10 people deep the entire route. It rained during the Colts parade and the streets were literally EMPTY. Have you seen those photos? Have you ever been to another NFL city, say Denver, and seen people walking around in the summer wearing Browns gear???? I laugh out loud every single time somebody tries to demystify Steeler Nation. Stop, Stop, Stop. It’s a force that cannot be reckoned with or even understood. I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I’ve been here since 1991. I kid you not I see numerous sightings of Steelers gear every single day….every day….every. More than the Skins or Giants or Jets or Ravens – all close teams as well. In 17 years, I don’t even need all my fingers or toes to tell you how many times I’ve seen someone wearing Browns gear. The Browns? Puh-Leeeeeeeeze. Oh Lord help this woman see the light. I like Butterscotch pudding. I don’t care how butterscotch pudding got started, all I know is that it exists…….and that’s Church. Can I get an Amen?????

  10. Sue
    August 22, 2008 6:41 am

    I think I’m in love with Still a Fan.

  11. Tony N
    August 22, 2008 7:42 am

    Just getting back to the thread…

    Let me back up Still a Fan regarding the Browns regarding OSU…

    I never said they weren’t loyal… I said they weren’t visible. I very rarely see Browns gear outside of Cleveland. And I think it’s been well documented here that Steelers stuff is seen everywhere…

  12. PittinDC
    August 22, 2008 8:12 am

    I work in DC, and just sent that picture to a Ravens fan in my office. He came over to tell me that even he had to appreciate it. So maybe Stiller nation isn’t all that hated after all.

  13. maxtalbot
    August 22, 2008 8:21 am

    About two years ago, a buddy of mine was in a very small town in Mexico. He met a father and son – locals mind you – wearing a Jerome Bettis shirt and a Hines Ward shirt. He was compelled to talk to them. They were born and raised in Mexico, have never set foot on U.S. soil, let alone walked the earth where the steel mills once thrived. And they were knowledgeable Steelers fans. I’ve never heard a story like that about any other NFL franchise. Just saying.

  14. Pittsburgh Tom (in NJ)
    August 22, 2008 9:07 am

    Well we’re talking Steeler Nation: here are two great commentaries by Scott Paulsen from two years ago, in case anyone has missed them:

  15. Pittsburgh Tom (in NJ)
    August 22, 2008 9:16 am

    Steeler_tom, I don’t remember specifically talking to someone in a kilt, but I did talk to alot of people at that game and it’s possible I did. Frankly, I’m not the type to think it’s unusual for someone to where a kilt so it wouldn’t necessarily stick out in my mind.

    My tickets turned out to be at the end of the handicapped section in the back of the lower level, corner of the end zone, so I talked to many Steelers fans as they walked to/from their seats. Also traded friendly taunts with Cardinals fans. At both aways games I’ve been to, Arizona and Green Bay, the home fans have been friendly. I know too many Eagles fans to think it’ll be as good if I go to the game in Philly this year.

  16. Pittsburgh Tom (in NJ)
    August 22, 2008 9:18 am

    and forgive my grammar error in the last post. I meant to say “wear” not “where”. It’s still early for me.

  17. deebee
    August 22, 2008 9:38 am

    I also proudly wear my Steeler gear whenever we travel.
    I really stand out when my husbands family wears nothing but Razorback wear. Have no fear they always get something Steeler related in the Christmas exchange.

  18. Sofa King
    August 22, 2008 10:18 am

    Still A. Fan- love it…couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Part of my job deals with sports marketing, and I recently did a pretty visible deal with our beloved team that took me weeks of negotiating with the team and my bosses to get both sides to meet in the middle. My bosses’ main concern was that some of our numbers weren’t high enough in Western PA to justify the added expense in that market. What did I do to address it? It just so happens that a lot of ex-patriate Steelers fans live in some of our best markets, so I took in a 39-page list of Steelers bars from around the world that I’d printed from the P.G. and said “Here’s where the fans are we’ll be reaching with these ads.”

    My bosses had no idea of the scope of Steeler Nation, but in the end it was impossible to ignore. Now, I get to see my handiwork everytime I watch a home game. :-)

  19. Joe
    August 22, 2008 10:37 am


    The % change is between 1960 and 2000 (not 1940).

    The whole northeast is run by Democratic political machines that have taxed their economies into the stagnant mush that they are today. Look at the electoral map. The northeast is blue because people in these states continue to vote for people that promise government will solve their problems.

    Dennis Roddy

    Don’t blame Reagan and Bush for a political philosophy that was initially implemented by FDR (New Deal, which did not end the depression; WW2 did). As Reagan once said, ‘Govt isn’t the solution to our problems, govt is the problem’.

    Sorry Emily, a million and two comments

  20. Pensgirl
    August 22, 2008 12:00 pm

    To follow up on what maxtalbot said…

    Based on my dad’s experiences on business trips to South America, evidently the Steelers are at the very least Brazil’s team, if not other countries’. And when my parents were on an anniversary vacation in Aruba, a Steelers-Browns game was shown live on a local television station.

  21. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    August 22, 2008 12:39 pm

    @Steeler_Tom — I’ll have to dig up the prints from that game and get it scanned to send, so give me some time. I’m still clinging to my 1980 35 mm Ricoh. It still takes amazing pictures. You can e-mail me at

    The Browns suck. How many Super Bowls have they even been too? Zero, if I remember correctly.

  22. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    August 22, 2008 12:43 pm

    They seem to be popular in Cairns, Australia. When I was on vacation there a few years back we got the local bar to put the games on during our stay. By the end of the first quarter, the bar was full and I was leading people in Here We Go Steelers!!!!

  23. lisalisa
    August 22, 2008 1:48 pm

    A few years back, I went on a December cruise to the Bahamas. The Steelers were battling the Jets in a late season game (maybe even for a playoff spot? Forgive me for not remembering).. Anyway, it was a big game and it ended up being the game of the weekend on the ship. So, I find the bar and am surrounded by TONS and I mean TONS of Steelers fans who packed their black and gold just in case they could get a glimpse of the game – showing support somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. And this cruise originated in Jacksonville, FL, not the Allegheny River.

    The next day I went to Carnival’s private beach for a day of relaxing and when I went to the bar the Bahamian bartender (born and raised in the Bahamas) served up my drinks wearing a Steelers hat. I was so excited I took a picture w/ him. When I asked, he said he’s a fan just because. And isn’t that the best reason?

    And here’s some more recent statistics regarding the Steelers’ popularity. Sorry, osuisnumber1 but that Cleveland ranking was done in 2006.

    From Wikipedia (sources can be found there):

    “The team has sold out every home game since the 1972 season. In November 2007, the Steelers were ranked as the most popular sports franchise out of the 122 teams in the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL, by a study from Turnkey Sports.”

  24. Still A Fan
    August 22, 2008 6:51 pm

    Sue… shucks, ma’am…..

  25. Alison
    August 25, 2008 1:18 pm

    that really makes my day.