Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steelers 31, Ravens 24

Some of you know that I'm a rather huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was terrified going into today's game against the Baltimore Ravens, perhaps our biggest rival. It's not that I thought the Steelers would lose, just that Steelers-Ravens games are always tense affairs, and this was no exception. I'm not sure I have any nerves left.

What a game, though. After getting up 7-0, the Steelers fumbled twice inside their own 20 and ended up down 21-7 at the half. My mood, needless to say, was not good. It was anger and frustration mixed with resignation, and I just didn't see how they'd ever come back against a tough Ravens D with an o-line that has been weak all season, in part because of injury, and just didn't seem to be able to afford Ben Roethlisberger enough protection for the offence to move the ball consistently. And it didn't help that their first drive of the second half ended with a punt.

But then... then it was time for the Ravens to turn the ball over. The Steelers great D stepped up and made things happen, forcing three turnovers and going up 24-21. Then the Ravens tied it with a FG after the Steelers made a huge stop (and after a Ravens TD on a punt return was called back).

And then, on 3rd and 19, with just a couple of minutes left, Roethlisberger found one of the Steelers' speedy young receivers, Antonio Brown, for a 58-yard bomb down inside the Ravens' 5. And after being stopped twice, Mendenhall rushed it in for the winning score.

Awesome. Simply, utterly, amazingly awesome. Wow.


And now I suppose I have to root for the Jets over the Patriots tomorrow -- because the Steelers have a much better shot of beating the former than the later, and would host the Jets instead of having to travel to New England.

But I'm trying not to think too much about that now.

I'm ecstatic, I'm on a major sports high, and now I'm just going to sit back and watch the Packers-Falcons game (go Pack!) without being anxious about the Steelers.


Oh, speaking of Steelers fans...

I have quite a bit of Steelers gear and periphernalia that I've accumulated over the years, and my kids often wear their Steelers shirts (my older daughter has earrings, too), but I've got nothing on a guy named George Danesky:

Danesky, a 62-year old semi-retired transplant from South Fayette has created nothing short of a Steelers sanctuary in the basement of his Blue Ridge, Ga., home, about 100 miles from Atlanta, near the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Literally one-half of his home is completely devoted to the Steelers.

"We live in a 5000 sq.ft. house. The basement is 2500 sq. ft Every inch of that 2500 sq. ft. is painted in official NFL Steeler gold and all trim is black. The entire basement is dedicated to, used for games, partying, and display of our thousands of Steeler items," which includes jerseys, helmets, footballs, framed prints, pennants -- many of them autographed -- as well as figurines, bobbleheads, Iron City cans, banners, posters, and all manner of novelty items.

The basement is wired with 16 methodically placed 16 speakers, so that the effect is like being in the stadium. The speakers are attached to a 72 inch H.D. television.

There is a full kitchen and a 30 foot bar equipped with its own television mounted on the wall. The entire area is heated with a double sided fireplace in the very center of the room, both sides have firescreens adorned with the Steeler emblem.

A full bath and a guest bedroom, are also all Steeler decorated, including sheets, comforter and curtains and there is an area he refers to as, "the locker room" which houses all of his family's Steeler jerseys, coats, t-shirts and other clothing.  His Chrysler PT  Cruiser is decked out too, in a black and gold paint job and "GOSTLRS" vanity plates.

You might think this is lame. (It might be if it were for, say, the Jets.) If you think that, you clearly know nothing of sports fandom, which is about passion and loyalty and pride. Personally, I think it's pretty cool. And while I'll never match Danesky -- who will? -- his example certainly gives us Steelers fans something to admire. Here are some photos (the post at the Post-Gazette's Blog 'n' Gold has more):

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