She's asked why Cardinals fans lack the swagger of Steelers loyalists? "Look at the team," she says with a sneer. "Now they can back it up a little — until next Sunday."

Dave Wilson, a Steelers fan from California who now lives in Chandler, says Cardinals fans don't know what they're up against. Neither the Cards nor their fans, he says, will have any hope of matching up with the Steelers and their supporters come Sunday.

"I think they're going to have an eye-opening because it's going to be a sea of black and gold in that stadium. It's going to be like a Steelers home game," he says. "Somebody's gotta pop the Cardinals' bubble, you know? And if somebody's got to do it, it might as well be the Steelers."

You'd think that attitude would engender some hostility around Phoenix, but Wilson says he's had very few problems.

"What I see, living in Phoenix, is when you're driving down the freeway — and I've got Steelers stickers in the back window of both my cars — you get the honk from a guy. And as he drives by, you see he's got the Steelers license-plate frame. I get more of that than I do dirty looks from Cardinals fans."

So he's asked, "You're saying — even the week before Arizona plays Pittsburgh in its first Super Bowl — you're getting a thumbs-up instead of the finger around here?"

"Exactly!"

Yoi, Cardinal fans, maybe yinz should change that.


If you want to know what the Cardinals are in for, and what the Pittsburgh organization's all about, look how the Steelers got to the game of games: They made it because of a cheap shot with three minutes left in AFC Championship game against Baltimore.

Anybody watching would be hard-pressed to say Steelers safety Ryan Clark didn't fully intend to deliver the helmet-to-helmet collision that snapped Baltimore running back Willis McGahee's head back hard enough to make him fumble the biggest pass of the game for his team — which led to his getting hauled off the field on a stretcher.

Was it legal? Well, football-wise, yes. Was it dirty? Definitely.

The Steelers are a rugged football team led by the league's best defense. They're tough across the board, too. In June 2006, QB Roethlisberger was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle. He flew into a Chrysler's windshield, then hit the ground head-first, fracturing his jaw and sinus cavity, knocking out two teeth, and suffering a nine-inch cut on the back of his head. The accident didn't cause Big Ben to miss even a pre-season start.

This season, Hines Ward, a Steelers wide receiver, broke the jaw of a Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker with a hard block. Yes, a receiver broke a linebacker's jaw with a block.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, the NFL's reigning defensive player of the year, is one of the dirtiest players in the game. Harrison became wildly popular among Steelers fans when he body-slammed an intoxicated Cleveland Browns fan who'd run on the field during Pittsburgh's 41-0 rout of the Browns three years ago — on Christmas Eve.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, went most of this season without a running game or a focused defense, only to find themselves in the playoffs. They've looked great this month, dismantling the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina and coming back against the Eagles after letting Donovan McNabb's team overtake them.

Can they win Sunday? Of course.

Not only are they playing their best football now, they've got two coaches who helped mold the current Steelers team before landing in the desert. Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator of the Steelers during the team's last successful Super Bowl season, and assistant head coach Russ Grimm was a Steelers assistant for six seasons.

That should give the Cards what former New England Patriots offensive coordinator and current Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis calls a "decided schematic advantage."

There's no doubt about the Steelers' stout defense, but it was built to match up against the smash-mouth teams in their division — not a trio of 1,000-yard receivers led by the high-flying Larry Fitzgerald.

This isn't to say the Steelers are weaponless against the pass. They employ Troy Polamalu, one of the greatest safeties in NFL history. The wild-haired Polamalu can rush the passer and cover a receiver equally well, racking up both sacks and interceptions. He's especially deadly in Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's exotic blitzes.

But, if you look at the four games the Steelers lost this year, they came against teams with seasoned, astute quarterbacks comfortable with dropping back and making reads: the Manning boys, McNabb, and the Titans' Kerry Collins. Warner certainly fits that mold.

The Cardinals' no-name defenders are somewhat of an X-factor, because it's hard to tell how good they are. They looked great playing Atlanta, but that was against a rookie quarterback. Certainly, the performance in Carolina had more to do with QB Jake Delhomme's falling apart than what the Cards did. They looked superb against the Eagles for three of the four quarters they played but nearly blew the game when they started trying to prevent big plays instead of stopping all progress.

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16 comments
Kathy
Kathy

How sad that Phoenix's village idiot tried to instill some enthusiasm into the Cardinal's fan base by trashing the faithful of the GLOBAL Steeler Nation. If this writer is indicative of the Cardinal faithful, my advice to the super, class act of Whisenhunt & Company is...get out of there...quick!

heather
heather

"And they are. But even if they win this Super Bowl, they'd still have only half as many championships as the Green Bay Packers. They'd need three more rings to have as many as the Chicago Bears, two more to have as many as the Cleveland Browns, or one more to have as many as the New York Giants." Where do you get your facts from? They are totally wrong. I guess fairweather fans don't need to know what they are writing about.

Chris
Chris

Congrats to the Cards for making the Superbowl one of the best ever. It will be one talked about for a long time.

Now to the pressing issue.

Why would the editor of this paper even allow this to be published? Not only does it make the author look like a complete ass, but it also makes his boss look like an ass for publishing this garabge. Your city was on the verge of a blackout for two playoff games because your fans are better than us because you have money that us hillbillies do not. So you put us down for pretty much everything we stand for but what you really did is show the "STEELER NATION" what ignorance comes from by having money. I get it now. Rich people are better than us white trash losers who support are team 365 days a year NO MATTER WHAT!

I am okay with trash talking if it is in clean fun but you sir went WAY TOO FAR by putting down a man who has been a Steeler icon for years, who passed away last year may I remind you because of the way he talks. Myron Cope is one of the most respected individuals from this area who invented our "piss-colored towel" to generate money for Mentally Handicapped individuals, one of which is his son. But let me guess, being that your a poor excuse for a human being, you would find a reason to put down the handicapped as well because they live in hillbillie country. Go fuck yourself! I may not be swimming in money, but at least I know what it is like to struggle and survive and not be catered to hand and foot by a maid or butler. I find it more satisfying to actually work hard to get what I have. Western Pennsylvania is probably one of the hardest working group of individuals any where in the country. I am proud to be from Pittsburgh. There is no where like it in the world.

Hogan
Hogan

Sounds like someone is taking his ball and going home....boo f'n hoo jag

Hogan
Hogan

Sounds like someone is taking his ball and going home....boo f'n hoo jag

john morrow
john morrow

come on guys. we don't show this kind of disrespect for anyone. hey, did anyone see warner's interview before the game? HE HAD ON A BLACK SUIT WITH A WHITE SHIRT AND A GOLD TIE. even he's a ateeler fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stu
Stu

Wow Sparky, did you swallow extra moron pills this morning? The best you got was that our mascot got arrested for a DUI? I guess he must have been out partying with the now unemployed former mascot of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Oh gosh, we're all rednecks and uneducated yokels from Appalachia. Did you have to look up where that was on a map and then use Spell Check? It's no wonder the Cardinals have no fans. The average age of Maricopa County is deceased, and the ones that aren't snuck in over the border. I just got back from Tampa, and wow do your supporters have a lot to learn about how to be fans. Whining and complaining that every call on their team means the refs must have been paid off, but if a call goes your way, then that time the refs "finally called one." Let's just say that there were quite a few Cards' fans(?) who fit the description you were trying to pin on Steeler nation. Drunken louts who were so inebriated by half time that they couldn't even see straight by the time the Cards managed to take the lead. Speaking of taking the lead, quite a few of the Cards' fans in our section need to take few etiquette lessons in how to act with a lead, or as they have nopw unfortunately learned, it ain't over until it's over.

Don't even get me started on the Ryan Clark hit on Willis McGahee. Clark led with his shoulder and McGahee lowered his helmet. McGahee, and the Ravens all acknowledge that it was a clean hit, but I guess you're more a of a fottball expert than they are.

Please feel free to continue believing that our area is populated by hicks and yokels, but I'm pretty sure the caliber of our educational institutions here leaves yours somewhere in the Mexican desert. I'll take Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Pittsburgh's Medical school over any institute of higher(?) learning you folks have in the Valley of the Sun.

You don't honestly believe that what you wrote about Steeler fans influencing officials at neutral site games, do you?

It's amazing how every member of the Steeler defense is a thug, but every member of the Cardinals is an upstanding member of the community who visits children's hospitals daily, work at the community food bank, and get folks to donate over 5,000 pints of blood because his son has Leukemia. Oh wait, my bad, that was Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith respectively.

In closing, you should probably go back to covering golf tournaments, NASCAR races and Suns' games. Your football team will most likely fall into the storied tradtion of one and done teams from the NFC lately. The one thing I do remember walking out of Raymond James on Sunday night was Steeler fans congratulating Cardinal fans on a game well played and they should be very proud of how far their team came this year, and the response of Go F*#K yourself from the Cardinal fans.

You stay classy Phoenix.

Marcus
Marcus

Weak and hateful article.

The hillbillies are celebrating the ONLY team in NFL history to record 6 Super Bowl wins!

Cameron
Cameron

You know as I was reading this article, I found my self getting angry. Then I realized that this article was coming out of a city that has no sense of what it is like to win. Winning is a good feeling and it is nice to root for a team that respects the city it represents. I am sorry that you guys do not know what it is like to win. It is a great feeling. The cards came out of a the worst division in football at 9-7. That is sad. The Steelers came out of the toughest schedule at 12-4. No brainier who is the best team. Hopefully we will play the cards next year and beat them again. Fitzgerald and Warner are the only good personalities on that team. Fitzgerald will go on to great things but not with that organization.

JOHNNY JONES
JOHNNY JONES

well say all you want, you boys lost to a better team

Cameron
Cameron

Obviously this writer has not been to Pittsburgh. But what does it matter. We have 6 Super Bowl Wins and the red birds have...oh what is it? Thats right 0!!!!!!! After the cards lose Warner this year, you guys will not even stiff the playoffs. Good Luck as we make our way to the big 7.

Maria
Maria

Give me a damn break! We are NOT trashy! Look at your own damn state-you have Terrible Towels flying high there. It's not our fault that your fans SUCK! We earned SIX Superbowl titles! WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO GLOAT, BRAG and WHATEVER ELSE! WE ARE A DINESTY! No other team has EVER done what we have done! 100 yard "Immaculate Interception" and who can forget the awesome Santonio Holmes catch? Just face it, your defense sucks! If we were playing Baltimore or Philly, we would've had a challenge. You didn't watch enough tapes and study hard enough-WE DID! We'd rather be loud, obnoxious, trashy fans than fair-weather fans who are sore losers!!!!! SIX-PACK YEAR BABY!!!!!! WELCOME TO SIXBURGH! YAY!!!!

Matt
Matt

The comment about the Steelers winning the AFC Championship because of Clark's hit on McGahee is ridiculous. Did you watch the game? First of all, I'm pretty sure Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown won the game, and until reading this article, I haven't heard one person say that Clark's hit was illegal or dirty...it was just a hard hit with his shoulder, not his head. I respect the run the Cardinals had, and the Super Bowl was a hell of a game, but it seems that the person writing the article about how poor the fan base is, might need to consider assessing his own understanding of the game.

Mathilda
Mathilda

Hillbilly? At least Steelers fans can afford to spend upwards of $1,000 on Super Bowl tickets. Unlike the poor Cardinals fans who obviously couldn't afford to make the trip for their team.

Tammie
Tammie

Most people who claim to "hate" the Steelers and their fans are simply JEALOUS of all that we have accomplished.

Calling us white trash is a bit harsh but fortunately, it runs off of our shoulders as we know better and we know that we ARE BETTER.

 
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