An Open Letter to Friends and Fans of the NE Patriots:
I want to begin by offering my heart felt sympathy for your loss. I am not being sarcastic here. As a lifetime Steeler fan I have developed a strong impulse to root against the Patriots. More than any other team, they seem to "have our number." Not to mention the painful losses in the AFC Championship games after the 2001 and 2004 seasons. When Hines Ward cried, I cried as well. However, I have come to appreciate that the discipline and the continued excellence of the Patriots in this salary cap era is something to be truly admired.
I began watching the football game rooting for the Jets. This is not because I liked the Jets, but because my loyalties to the Steelers convinced me this was best. A Jets win brought the playoff game to Pittsburgh and I still feel like the Pats are the better team and would have offered a tougher challenge to the Black and Gold. But as the game wore on, my feelings shifted. My brain said, “Jets should win”, by my heart, my sense of justice and my desire to see good triumph over evil began to sway my affections. Against my better intentions, I began to hope for some of that old “Brady magic.” And after Shonne Green used the ball as a pillow, I converted. I silently began to hope that the Jets would meet a grim end afterall.
I can only imagine how you feel. The Jets are a terrible team. I don't mean that they are bad players, just bad people. Their coach is a loud mouth and their players are obnoxious. And they come from New York City. I can't imagine anyone hating any team the way you must hate the Jets right now. And since you are going to be watching the playoffs this week, why not honestly root for the team that will be playing against the Jets! As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Come on board and embrace your destiny.
I would like to extend and invitation to take a vacation in Steelers Nation. I would like to think of it as a travel visa to visit a far away land and to engage in the local customs.
Now, I am not insulting your loyalties or your intelligence by suggeting that you change your football citizenship. That requires much more than a disappointing playoff loss. I am talking about a momentary indulgence. Since you are going to watch the game, and since you are going to root AGAINST the Jets... why not embrace the fact that you are rooting FOR the Steelers. (You can do this in the privacy of your own home.)
The are a lot of reasons that I could offer for why you should do this. It could appeal to football enthusiasts by reminding you of the storied history of this franchise and their commitment to hard nosed football. I could try to appeal to your sense of sympathy by describing the way Pittsburgh continues to embrace their blue collar steel worker mentality by celebrating this icon of steel production (the “Steelers”) long after the steel industry has left this “rust belt” city. Or I could encourage you to do your Patriotic duty by supporting the team owned by the United States embassador to Ireland. One argument that I will not be able to make isthat our team is full of classy stand out citizens. (Thanks, Ben.) In conclusion, my one argument is simple: You HATE the Jets. Not only do you want them to lose, you want them to suffer. And there is no way to root for their complete destruction except by also embracing the fact that you will enjoy seeing good things happen to the Steelers. So, why fight it. Embrace you destiny. Root for the Steelers. This Sunday, spend the day in “Steeler's Nation.”
You may be asking, how is this done? How do might I (even if I wanted to) spend a day visiting Steelers Nation and viewing it from the inside. It is actually quite simple. Steeler Nation is not a place with geographic borders. It simple the attitude of ones heart in which you commit your happiness to the success of Pittsburgh's professional football team. The initiating ceremony involves a towel. Technically speaking it should be a golden towel with the copyright “Terrible Towel” lettering, of which all profits are donated to a local charity for the mentally impaired. (That is true.) But for the purposes of the travel visa to Steeler's Nation, any piece of cloth - of gold, yellow or even beige color - will do. Simply extend your dominate hand over your head and hold the towel (or cloth) at the corner. When something good happens to the Steelers on the football field, you can tell the world that this is now contributing to your own personal happiness (and the unhappiness of Jets fans) by twirling the towel above your head like a helicopter blade. The trick in making this work is to rotate your wrist. If you need help, you can watch the video below. Just remember, there are only two choices Sunday. Deep in your heart you will either have to say, “J-E-T-S” or “Here we go Steelers.” It's your choice.
(Born and Bred Steelers Fan, who lived in Boston for 4 years)
Matthew now lives in the City of Pittsburgh