If you have the misfortune of standing within earshot of a Pittsburgh Steelers fan during the next seven days, you will hear him say some really, really dumb stuff.
Part of that can't be helped -- the Steelers are Appalachia's Team and native-born fans speak in a distinct hillbilly dialect that's almost impossible for the average American to understand. But even if you can make sense of the Pittsburghese (listen to this really long lecture by a Carnegie Mellon professor trying to explain it to what is presumably the most sophisticated group of students in western Pennsylvania, making excuses for moonshiners in the process) you're liable to hear a few really zany arguments put forth by these proudly undereducated rubes.
Here are a few to watch for, along with a few points you might make in reply if you're interested in arguing with an angry hillbilly. Keep in mind these people aren't much for rationality -- they're more likely to, say, skimp on spending a few thousand bucks to extinguish an underground coal fire, instead letting it burn until they have to demolish the entire town.
Hey, the Stillers ain't goink get any mur calls from the refs than yinz guys are.
We can argue about this season's calls all day, but the fact is, if the Steelers win this Super Bowl, they'll get a lot of assistance from the referees, just as they did in the last two they've played. Bill Leavy, the referee who handed the game to Pittsburgh in 2005, actually apologized for his poor performance last year. Leavy says he expects to take the regrets to his grave. I bet it follows him further than that. Arizonans probably have horrible memories of the jobbing we took. If the Steelers win, they'll have help from the zebras. Sad but true.
Dr. Cope would be so proud of this team -- it's classic Steelers football!
First of all, legendary Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope didn't even have an honorary doctorate from any accredited university -- he appears to have earned some sort of degree from the University of Pittsburgh, which is more or less a fancy community college -- let alone an actual doctorate so no one should call him that, even in jest.
Second, if he can see the team from where he is in the afterlife (they presumably have Cox cable there), he's got to be ashamed of the way Ben Roethlisberger has conducted himself over the last year. And that's just the latest. Ben's a scumbag (who's now, suddenly, talking about God after games), and I'm sure Cope would even see it that way.
It's not just that incident or that player, either. There are also rumors about Hines Ward's ill-fated lecherousness involving a porn star who mocked him -- in the post Favre/Woods era, it's nice to see a guy like Aaron Rodgers quietly dating women such as a pretty, talented Tennessee girl and a model/grapefruit heiress. That's how you're supposed to do it.
So far Mike Tomlin has done a remarkable job winning with this team, but it's also become clear the team is slowly but surely developing serious character issues, despite what some people want to believe.
Yinz guys give dem Stillers fans a hard time but it's all a bunch of jumbo. We're jest like any other football fans.
"Jumbo" is what "Stillers" fans call bologna, and it's a staple food in Pittsburgh, served on white bread purchased from the Giant Iggle, maybe with mayonnaise if they're feeling fancy. They love that shit -- and it's why they're not like other football fans.
I once called the Steelers "White Trash America's Team" and they are. There's something about the black and yellow -- perhaps it is the black and yellow itself -- that draws food stamp re-sellin', meth-cooking rednecks into the fold. Every team has a few loud, boorish fans; the "Stillers" have a few normal ones. Go into the shittiest dive bar within five miles of your house anywhere in America and start shit-talking the team -- you'll find a guy in jean shorts to argue with. Try the same thing with the Bears, the Patriots or even the Packers -- the percentages won't compare.
Dem Stillers got more rangs than anyone -- that's why Pittsburgh's the best!
In 1967, the NFL came up with a really great marketing gimmick and started calling its championship game the "Super Bowl." No one outside Pittsburgh considers championships any less impressive if they occurred before that date, but ask a Steelers fan about it and you'll hear that such games are "ancient history" and that "no one cares."
The roots of this disconnect run to the fact that, as best I can tell, the average Steelers fan is born to a mother who is 16.2 years old, meaning it really has been like four generations since the Super Bowl started. Also, however, they're covering a deep-seeded insecurity about their pathetic past. For the first 40 years of their existence, the team was a joke. In terms of championships, they're still behind this weekend's opponent, the Packers, as well as the Bears, Giants, and Browns.
What does that distinction mean? Those other teams are old money. Class acts, all of them. The Steelers are, in contrast, like the owner of a really, really successful dirtbike dealership. He's got a lot of money, but no one in polite society has much interest in socializing with him, and no one wants him moving into their neighborhood and installing a jacuzzi the size of a small golf-course pond.
Just look at a guy like Toby Keith -- the Okie is a lifelong Steelers fan with an album called White Trash With Money -- and you get a pretty good picture of Steeler success. They (and the refs) deserve credit for their championships -- especially the ones in the '70s, which former Steelers players have admitted they did Mark McGwire-style, with the assistance of steroids, a drug the team is largely responsible for having introduced into the league. Should those championships therefore have a big, fat asterisk on them? You be the judge -- just extend the same opinion to the great Barry Bonds.
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Yoi! Hines Ward is great! Lookata how he blocks them cornerbacks! What a player!
It's nice to see Hines' reputation is finally starting to match reality -- he's the NFL's dirtiest player, not some hard-nosed old-time receiver with a bright smile and a heart-warming backstory, as he was too often depicted by the media in years past.
Still, he gets off a lot easier than he should. Ward is scum. Actually, scum is too nice a word for him. He's a cheap-shot artist and a cheater. And when he does actually take a lickin', he cries about it like a little girl and asks the league to suspend the guy who tackled him. Ward fits in nicely with the Steelers and their fans.