Just one year ago Steeler Nation was gearing up towards Super Bowl XLV. Either by making their way to Dallas to be a part of the festivities or trimming down the guest lists for their own parties. Seems like we do this every year but apparently they still play the Super Bowl even if the Steelers aren’t playing in it. So how does Steeler Nation get down on this fun without ending up with bitter beer face? There are always story lines to follow in any game and the Super Bowl is no exception. The festivities surrounding the Super Bowl include the announcement of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes some beloved members of the Black & Gold. What most of us will do is have some snacks, drinks some beers, and cheer our hardest for the Patriots to lose.
If you want to go the story lines route, you might want to find some Pittsburgh ties to the players or coaches in the Super Bowl. If you’ve spent even five minutes watching or listening to any sports radio this week than you’ve heard about Rob Gronkowski’s ankle. The Gronk, who is suffering from a high ankle sprain from the AFC Championship game (sounds familiar huh?) showed up in Indy with a walking boot on and has been hounded by press nonstop about his playing status for Sunday. Gronk is a very important to the Pats offense, recording 132 receptions and 27 touchdowns this season. The Gronk is originally from Buffalo, New York, but spent his senior year of high school in Pittsburgh playing for Woodland Hills where he racked up 8 catches, 152 yards and 4 TD’s. Although initially deemed ineligible for play for just the one year, the ruling was overturned and he was allowed to play an earned All-American honors. Not that the majority of Steeler Nation is in danger of actually rooting for the Patriots, but if during your time in the Nation, you have developed some kind of hatred towards the Giants and need an excuse to stomach rooting for New England, here is your link.
The Saturday before the Super Bowl the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 will be announced. Current Steeler finalists are Jerome Bettis, Dermontti Dawson, senior nominee Jack Butler, and Kevin Greene. Pittsburgh native and former Pitt star Curtis Martin is also up for enshrinement this year. It is unlikely that more than 2 Steelers will make it at once. Due to the number of Steelers players in the Hall of Fame already, there is the rumor that there is a “Steelers-ban” on letting more members of the team as to not dominate the Hall of Fame with Steelers players before other teams have a chance to bulk up their numbers. I couldn’t think of a better reason to visit “Ahia” than to stop by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and see it completely dominated by the best of the best, the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think it would do wonders for the state’s tourism. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a vote. Hopefully Dawson, who is considered to be one of the best centers in Steelers history only second to Mike Webster, will finally earn his gold jacket after waiting so many years. Jerome is at his second year of eligibility and many are saying that it is unlikely that both he and Curtis Martin will get in at the same time. Martin has more overall rushing yards, so if one gets in over the other it will most likely be Martin. Not at all to be a slight against Jerome, one of the best running backs ever to play the game, who has a gold jacket definitely in his future.
Whether you are just in it for the commercials, want to see another helmet catch, or feel compelled to watch Madonna’s half-time show, you along with most of America will be tuning in on Sunday. It’s not the same without the Steelers playing, but the good part of that is it will be a lot less stressful. Crack open some beers, pull out your best Brady or Belli-cheat jokes, and enjoy the show. Hopefully Saturday brings happy news of a 2012 Hall of Fame class rich with Steelers history and the Super Bowl delivers a thrilling game for us all to enjoy.
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