Here we go, Steelers!
It’s a playoff Sunday in Pittsburgh.
That means gourmet tailgating, lots of extra traffic (the Penguins have a home game during late afternoon, with fans coming in about the time the Steelers will be wrapping up at the stadium), and, of course, the impact that the playoffs have on the regional economy.
Think about it. More shirts and hats with the football team’s logo will be sold this year than in a non-playoff year. There will, inevitably, be more beer and chicken wings and pizza sold and consumed today in the region than on a playoff Sunday that doesn’t involve the Steelers.
A home playoff game’s economic impact has been detailed time and again, thanks to the Steelers seemingly endless ability to get into the playoffs.
As for the game itself, there is drama, given that Miami defeated Pittsburgh to kick off a four-game slump for the Steelers during the regular season. Reaching the playoffs became a fair question for fans of the Steelers as that slump progressed.
But the team, like the area it represents, shows that constant ability to remake itself, to overcome and adapt to the situations it faces, and to be a winner again.
Keep that in mind. Older fans remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s were about the only thing the region had to look forward to and the longtime jobs stalwart steel industry began downsizing and sent communities into economic tailspins.
The area is recovering thanks to the tech sector in Pittsburgh and the energy sector around the region, remaking itself into something quite different than the gritty mill towns that once were. Like leaving those mid-season slumps, there is a lot of work to be done to get all the way back to full strength in a lot of areas in the communities of the region, but, like patching together a strong offensive line or a serviceable backfield, it can be done.
The Steelers provide that nice midwinter distraction from dark days and snowstorms and cold. And they set an example of the results of hard work against the odds that can inspire fall of us in the region to push toward our communities’ respective goal lines.
Here we go.