The Pittsburgh Steelers: Steeler Nation

Kim Garafola

Have you ever wondered why you can find a Steelers bar in almost any city across the nation?  Have you ever traveled to another country and found an unusual amount of Steelers fans?  You might have noticed there are a lot of supporters out there.  The answer to these questions is Steeler Nation.  Steeler Nation is the name given to the fan base of the Pittsburgh Steelers across the United States.  Pittsburgh is Steelers Country.

So, how did all of these fans spread out to create such a large fan base?  The Steelers started playing in the 1933 NFL Season.  In the 1950s, the Steelers had gained popularity and only trailed behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in supporters within its own city.  In the 1970s, the Steelers won four Super Bowls. Due to the success, the support grew.  While the ‘70s brought luck for the team, it brought hardship for the city.  Pittsburgh, as well as the rest of the United States, began to go through a recession.  Steel mills were closing in the early ‘80s and fans relocated to other regions of the United States but maintained their allegiance to the team.

Since then, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base has grown even more, and surpassed that of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The team has had a sellout streak for forty years, the second longest in NFL history.

The 2011 season started with high expectations for the Steelers and for the fans.  It did not go as well as planned, however.  With a final regular season record of 12 wins and 4 losses, the Steelers were able to make the NFL playoffs as an AFC (American Football Conference) wildcard.

After suffering many injuries, the Steelers headed to Denver to play the Broncos.  After just the first quarter, the Steelers led 6-0, but the second quarter proved it would not be an easy game.  The Broncos answered with 20 points making the score 6-20. At the end of regular playtime, the game was tied 23-23.

The Steelers lost the coin toss for the overtime play, the Broncos were to receive the kick off and the game was only minutes from over.  The Broncos scored a touchdown on the first play of overtime to end the game 29-23 and send the Steelers home, ending their season.  Fans hoping for another trip to the Super Bowl would have to wait until next year.

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