Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, February 12, 2009

Steeler Nation is one huge dysfunctional family: As a lifelong Steelers fan, a lifelong Pittsburgh resident, a blue-collar, 15-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, a 25-year veteran of the United States Army Reserve (Retired), I found your comments to be right on and hilarious.

You probably have received quite a few letters of disgust from many Steelers fans, but deep down we know that most of what you wrote is true. The good part is, I can look at these things, and I can laugh about them. As one of the Cardinals' former coaches once (kind of) said, "We are who you think we are."

Where you go wrong is that you portray what Steelers fans are as a bad thing. Nope. You see, it's like being part of one huge dysfunctional family. But when the you-know-what hits the fan, we have each other's backs. Cardinals fans will never experience this brotherhood and, deep down, yinz are truly envious of that fact.


White trash America

Steelers fans aren't just white trash. You will find us in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan and all throughout the military. We can be found throughout the countries of Europe. We party in Australia. And we're found in many bars throughout the Phoenix municipal area.

As you know, your illustrious mayor and the Cardinals' mascot defaced the Terrible Towel in public, and the result of Super Bowl XLIII speaks for itself. So go on and have your fun ripping on the greatest fans in all of sports, but remember this: You will never find an Arizona Cardinals bar anywhere near Pittsburgh.
Tim Yakich, Pittsburgh

Get outside your bubble, Martin: I was deeply offended by your article. You clearly have no idea what life is like outside the little bubble that you call home.

I know that you were trying to get your fans riled up for the big game. I also know that I never saw one article that defamed all people who live in Arizona. I never would have seen your article, except that it was cited on Wikipedia as proof that Pittsburgh was full of no-class, ignorant hillbillies.
Charles J. Vukotich, Pittsburgh

Leave the great Myron alone: Wow, you have the nerve! This article was just a hint of what tasteless shit you write. You come off describing Pittsburgh as if it's hillbilly country. My friend, that'd be West Virginia. Are you mad because of the sixth Super Bowl win — about which your great Arizona fans complain about the officiating? You got beat fair and square.

As for your remarks about Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, he's a grandfather figure to everyone in Pittsburgh. Don't trash the man because of what he did. Are you jealous because your team can't incorporate a fan base that waves towels at every game? The Super Bowl was littered with them. So much for Steelers fans being trashy, huh?

Pittsburgh fans outnumbered Cardinals fans 4 to 1. A huge number, but we are white trash? How many white trash people do you know who can afford Super Bowl tickets?

This article was just straight tasteless. Without Pittsburgh, the United States wouldn't be where it is today. Does steel ring a bell?
David Coddington, Grindstone, Pennsylvania

Doth protest too much?: I can see from the hundreds of outraged comments attached to your Super Bowl story online that you've certainly riled up Steelers faithful by stating the obvious. What's so funny about all the blind-angry response from Steelers fans is that most of the story criticizes Cardinals fans for not backing their team fully (as Steelers fans back theirs).

Chrissakes, there are only a few paragraphs about Steeler Nation's Appalachian roots. Chill out, Black and Gold! You're proving the writer's point. How does the line from The Bard go: "Methinks the lady doth protest too much"?

Come on, if you've ever been to a Steelers game (I've been to many), you know that the paper's assessment of us fans isn't that far off. Yeah, there are Ph.D. Steelers fans out there, but we've got our share of doublewide dwellers. (I doubt even a majority of our fans actually live in the city.)

Anyway, calm down, guys and gals. We won the Super Bowl, albeit barely. And now everybody in Steelerdom's blind mad because a writer at an alternative newspaper in Phoenix calls them a couple of names. This is football! Man up! Yinz can take it.
Russ Johnson, Pittsburgh

Stuck in the dark: Very classy article. While Pittsburgh's praising your Cardinals for playing a good game and turning their team around, you bash Steelers fans. White trash? That's racist. I guess you're stuck in the dark while the country is moving forward.
Stephanie Prosdocimo, Pittsburgh

In defense of the wonderful Mr. Cope: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I had to move out of the area in the '80s because of my job, but to this day, Pittsburgh's in my heart. I bleed black and gold. Your writer's from the Cleveland area, so this story's par for the course for a Browns fan.

People from western Pennsylvania and West Virginia are not hillbillies and white trash. Think about it, your area is eaten up with old people. Are you one of them? Steelers fans come from all walks of life and all over the world — our common thread is the love of the Steelers. It's so cool when you run into a stranger with a Steelers logo on his car, clothing. I've made so many new friends because of this common bond.

You also had a lot of nerve writing that stuff about Myron Cope. Do you know that he was a writer for Sports Illustrated at one time? He was an intelligent man on the sport of football. So what that he talked funny? And, by the way, that is not hillbilly speech. A lot of his expressions came from the ethnic phrases of our area. We are not embarrassed by any of it.

Food for thought: Our president, Barack Obama was pulling for the Steelers. He doesn't live in a trailer park.
Donna S. Odom, Florence, South Carolina

Black lung is no joke: I enjoyed and smiled at your story "Talking (to) Trash" (sidebar to "Grow a Pair") until I read your comments about Ben Roethlisberger and his mother and about black-lung deaths. Not too funny and in pretty bad taste. I can't imagine what you were thinking. Don Imus has nothing on you.
Jim Meighan, Blairsville, Pennsylvania

Don't mistake passion for rudeness: You're so right that the Cards' fans needed to step it up. I definitely heard some noise out there from the AZ supporters (not sure how many were pro-Cards or just anti-Steelers). I think the media has a lot to do with picking up the fan base's enthusiasm, as well. Everybody likes an underdog, but you only get to be Cinderella once.

I'm glad to see the Cardinals doing well; I don't like to see any franchise be down every year. I love watching Larry Fitzgerald be awesome, just as he was back home in Pittsburgh, when he played for the Panthers.

Now, as for the Pittsburgh comments, there were some true statements there. But we're not hicks from the backwoods of Appalachia. Pittsburgh's one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

As for being the nastiest fans in the league? Please! Don't mistake passion and excitement for poor tempers and rudeness. Anyone who's ever been to any sporting event in Philly knows who the nastiest fans are, and those fans are proud of it. Just as proud as we are when we come in to any stadium in the league and take it over.

I understand wanting to get your fans excited for their team, but at least be honest. The Terrible Towel started as a way to get fans into the game, as a way to connect with the team. Now it's a flag that says, "Here I am, I'm a Steelers fan, I'm in your stadium and I'm cheering for my team. What are you going to do about it?"

And when the players on the field see 30,000 towels at an away game, they know it's going to feel just like a home game. Steeler Nation will chew you up and spit you out if your fans are like Cardinals fans.
Thomas Schloer, Steeler Nation, Texas division

Focus on the good fortune: I read your article comparing Cardinals fans to Steeler Nation, and I understand what you are trying to say, but I think you missed the main point. Steelers fans are not white trash and shouldn't be called that.

You shouldn't be making fun of Myron Cope. You should focus on what's wrong with your fan base. The best thing that ever happened to the Cardinals was when the Steelers passed on coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. Focus on the luck of getting two Steelers castoffs.
Mary Horvath, Pittsburgh

Go cry in your meth lab: You obviously have no clue what you're talking about. You say we're white trash? Then how come at every Super Bowl we've been in we completely outnumber the [other] side? It's not exactly cheap to go to a Super Bowl.

You're just jealous journalists who wish they had a team with fans like ours. And you lost! Go cry in your meth lab, which's what Arizona's famous for.
Jim Imhof, Pittsburgh

Grow up: Your attack on Steeler Nation was in poor taste. The nation derives its love for the team from a time when the Steelers were all Pittsburgh had left. The economic downturn that occurred in the steel industry happened at the same time the Steelers were winning their titles. The nation expanded out of western Pennsylvania at this time because most steel workers left the area looking for employment.

I'm not defending all Steelers fans, but I believe most teams in the NFL have fans that are disrespectful. I have attended games at several stadiums — Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati, as well as Pittsburgh — and each has its share of fan-related issues.

Please grow up and offer an apology for your unreasonable, unfounded, and classless attack. Individuals like your writer are why several friends of mine moved back to Pittsburgh after spending a year in Arizona.

But congrats on your season.
William Ondriezek, Pittsburgh

Julie, you're not making us look good: Stuck pigs squealing! If you Steelers fans aren't the rednecks [the article and some Cardinals fans] say you are, then why not just shut the fuck up?! We all saw you at the Super Bowl with your fat bellies, your stupid towels, and your snaggle-toothed women. Right there in living color.

Hey, close your pie-holes, 'tards. You barely won that game! You wouldn't have if not for a bad call. I'd give it 50-50 that Kurt Warner could've completed a Hail Mary to Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin in the end zone if the ref wasn't queer for Big Ben. Ouch!
Julie Zimmer, Phoenix

More in defense of St. Cope: I have to admit that I found your article marginally humorous, though your description of Pittsburghers is rather tasteless and ignorant. As you stated, the author is a Browns fan, so I assume he's from the Cleveland area. So because he's familiar with the regular beatings his team's taken from the Pittsburgh Steelers, he should know more about the recently deceased person he disparages.

Yes, Myron Cope did have a voice even his mother would probably want to silence, but I would like to point out two of his accomplishments as a print journalist. In 1963, Mr. Cope was the awarded the E.P. Dutton Prize for "best magazine sports writing in the nation" for his portrayal of Cassius Clay. In 2004, his profile of Howard Cosell was selected as one of 50 all-time classic articles by Sports Illustrated.

Not everyone here lives in a trailer and works in a coal mine, though I am proud to say that my ancestors were coal miners and steel workers. I was lucky enough, through their hard work, to have the opportunity to do something better with my life.
Eric M. Chir, Pittsburgh

Cizmar is a stain on Phoenix: I'm disgusted by your poor attempt at humor and the complete denigration of a team, city, fans, and region. You displayed an unbelievable lack of awareness of anything about us. I had the pleasure of visiting Phoenix and found it to be wonderful place. Glad I didn't run into Martin Cizmar, as I'm sure my opinion of your fine city would be 180 degrees different.
Jerry Curtiss, Pittsburgh

We walk amongst yinz: Tell your folks and all of America that Steeler Nation's everywhere. The Steeler Nation's Phoenix crew will respond to all the trash talk. We walk amongst yinz.
Dominick Gambino, Pittsburgh

Some words from the eloquent Mr. Nitti: Pittsburgh Steelers fans are mild compared to Eagles fans. Bring your Cardinals to the City of Brotherly Love and watch your women get raped and your 10-year-old get pummeled for wearing an opponent's jerseys.

Ha, you people in Arizona must have sun-baked brains 'cause this is the real world, you pussies. It's smash-mouth football at its best. Go Steelers! Go dry up in the desert, Cardinals. What a bunch of ass-eaters.
Frank Nitti, Philadelphia

Yes, shocker: Who the hell do you think you are? Do you really think that this ignorant article pumped up your pathetic fan base? I'm a huge Steelers fan, and I have a college degree and a real job! Wow, shocker, right?
Brian Skokowski, Titusville, Pennsylvania


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