I’m not not like many space residents. I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since I used to be a child rising up on South Wells Road in Sistersville listening to video games with my dad on KDKA radio and later watching on tv. My spouse, who I used to tease and didn’t personal a single pair of tennis sneakers till she met me, has additionally change into a loyal fan over time. We each cheered by the 70’s for Terry Bradshaw, imply Joe Inexperienced and that brutal Metal Curtain, nonetheless thought to be the best defensive unit in NFL historical past. We’re only a small half of what’s often known as some of the devoted fan bases of any NFL crew within the nation. The vast majority of that fan base is made up of exhausting working blue collar people. Though the metal business has taken its hits in current many years, whenever you consider Pittsburgh, pictures of the working class celebrating their soccer crew nonetheless come to thoughts. Pittsburgh is understood for its metal mills, native pubs, winding rivers, many bridges and a effectively traveled, exhausting working fan base.
Heck, even the identify of the crew displays the type of work that was carried out within the space on the time. Though initially referred to as the Pittsburgh Pirates when the soccer crew was based by Artwork Rooney in 1933, it then grew to become the Steelers in 1940 when followers have been requested to take part by sending of their strategies for a brand new identify for the crew.
And perhaps you recall the story of the crew brand? The Steelers obtained their insignia from Republic Metal of Cleveland of all locations! That’s the house of our hated rival, the Cleveland Browns. The corporate steered the crew use the Steelmark which was and is three diamonds with inverted, curved edges in yellow, orange and blue as their brand. It additionally occurred for use by the American Iron and Metal Institute. Executives for the crew weren’t positive about the usage of the brand, so in case it wasn’t effectively obtained by followers, they solely printed sufficient for one aspect of the Steelers’ helmets – the precise aspect – simply in case they needed to substitute it. The remaining is historical past. The emblem caught, the Steelers completed 9-5 and have become the winningest crew in franchise historical past. The helmet as we speak displays the way in which it was initially designed and has by no means been modified. The Steelers stay the one NFL crew that sports activities their brand on one aspect of the helmet. I didn’t know that historical past till I began writing the Press Field and located it whereas doing analysis. It’s wonderful what you’ll find on the web.
Though the Steelers and different NFL groups just like the Inexperienced Bay Packers, named for the laborers of the meat packing business, have been initially related to the working man, that doesn’t ring as true as we speak. When did prices to go to a sport sky-rocket to the purpose that attending is out of attain for a lot of common Individuals? So excessive are the prices on your ticket, parking and an grownup beverage or two contained in the stadium, it’s going to set you again about $350 to $400 to take your loved ones of three to a sport at Heinz Discipline, in line with Katherine Ross of the Worth Penguin for Lending Tree. In the event you ask me that value is value it, nevertheless it wasn’t too way back I lived in Pittsburgh with two younger children.
My profession was simply taking off, and with the ability to pony up money like that, even adjusting for inflation, we might have needed to accept watching the sport on TV. The truth is the price to attend a professional soccer sport is simply too excessive for the typical American and his/her household.
Why is that? Every franchise is dealing with wage prices within the extra of $100 million so to get probably the most bang for his or her buck they need probably the most money they will get for every seat within the stadium… and for parking… and on your journey to the concession stand. Attending a professional soccer sport is extra like a mini trip. It’s a must to plan effectively prematurely if you’re taking the household, and also you higher put some cash apart months prematurely particularly for those who plan on shopping for any souvenirs like a Huge Ben jersey. Do I prefer it? No. Would I’m going if I may get my arms on some good Steelers tickets? In a heartbeat.
As a lot as I’m complaining concerning the prices to attend a sport, it will be exhausting to seek out anybody keen to drum up sympathy for the athletes that play the game professionally. We, the typical fan, understand the gamers as superstars knocking down astronomical salaries. So what’s the actuality? The median wage for all NFL gamers is $860,000. Not too shabby however nonetheless means under the two million that will get reported typically within the press. A lot of the consideration of media is on the sky excessive salaries of the highest quarterbacks. A couple of have contracts that pay upward of $25 to $30 million a yr! On the other finish are the working backs. They get banged up in each sport and solely final about three years within the league with a median wage of $630,000. Once more, not too shabby, however contemplate this: Sure, these incomes do appear to be profitable the lottery on a yearly foundation, however they pay a 37 p.c tax price and 6 to 10 p.c of their wage goes to their agent. For a lot of, they by no means completed their faculty training. The typical NFL profession lasts 3 years because of the excessive quantity of mind and leg accidents. Right here’s a sobering truth: In response to Working Class Views, as many as 78 p.c of most NFL gamers leaving the league early are bankrupt inside two years.
Like most flashy and overblown establishments, there’s typically an underbelly. Professional soccer isn’t any totally different. The league continues to scrub up its act from drug testing to defending gamers by establishing penalties for improper participant conduct and harmful performs. Have they got extra work to do? After all, however I don’t see franchise house owners or the fan base altering their emotions about excessive ticket prices or price of pay per participant so long as stadiums proceed to be packed each Sunday.
And this Steelers fan has a young spot for one up and coming Steelers coach. Blaine Stewart is the son of West Virginia’s personal soccer coach, the late Invoice Stewart. Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin was first employed by Coach Stewart throughout Invoice’s stint at William and Mary. Invoice Stewart and I performed soccer collectively at Fairmont State, and even shared an house for a pair years. My spouse and I adopted Invoice and his household annually attempting exhausting to get to at the very least one of many video games the place Invoice was on workers. We watched Invoice and Karen’s son, Blaine, develop up trying ahead every Christmas to the cardboard displaying Blaine sitting close to their Christmas tree. To say I really feel happy with Blaine and all he has completed is an understatement, however I additionally really feel protecting of this wonderful younger man, too. There are a number of extra identical to me that have been a part of that very same Preventing Falcon crew. Each Sunday whereas cheering on the Steelers, Mary Ann and I’ve one eye glued on the sidelines hoping to catch a glimpse of that very same younger man and our favourite coach, Coach Stewart. Go Steelers!