OK, now that I've had a couple days to digest, here are some thoughts I'd like to share re: my Sat/Sun in Pittsburgh. I'll preface my rant by stating my soon-to-be 13 yo son is a big Steelers fan and this was built up as a special father/son weekend. In that regard, it was a success.
1) Pittsburgh really is a cool city. The waterfront. The industrial feel. The iron bridges. The brick. The riverfront area around Heinz Field and PNC park was easy to find and walk to.
2) The weather was beautful. From a football standpoint, it could've been a few degress cooler; but from a "fan-on-foot" perspective, it was perfect.
3) Heinz Field is really set up nice. Ginormous gates and plenty of staff made entry a breeze. Wide open walkways & round ramps. Concessions every 10 feet and bathrooms every 12.
4) Saturday night was National Zombie Night (or something). Not sure of the details, but there were plenty of freaks marching around zombie style in the streets. Even though my son forgot to bring his copy of U.S. Army Zombie Combat Skills with him, he recalled enough information to keep us safe.
5) Had a really good Lamb Sandwich at Crystal on Penn Saturday night.
NEGATIVES? A few - On the flip.
1) I hate the Steelers. Which, pretty much, is the biggest Negative of my
whole weekend NFL Fandom. I've hated them since the '70s. I see Terry Bradshaw and get nauseous. Whenever they show that Franco Harris "Immaculate Reception" highlight, I want to punch a wall. I'm only half joking when I say I feel like a failed father that one of my sons has become a Steelers fan...and an "in-your-face" one to boot.
2) The Titans played poorly and got their butts handed to them. Yay.
3) The "Terrible Towel" is the stupidest thing in sports. In Belgium, fans line cyclocross courses, stand in mud for hours clanging cowbells and drinking beer. Cool. The last soccer World Cup had that Vuvuzela thing that was annoying at first (at least on TV) but eventually faded into normal background noise. But that towel is riDICulous. Unfortunately, Steelers fans had plenty to celebrate Sunday and I was reminded how stupid it is every time I got whapped in the face (yes, my son bought one).
4) Even though we had a good father/son weekend, as a Titans fan I was very uncomfortable in that stadium watching my team get waxed. Which, I'll admit, is how you'd want any visiting team's fan to feel. In professional sport arenas, you almost always see plenty of folks sporting visiting team garb. Not so much here. I'm sure there were Titans fans in attendance, but I saw, maybe, 20 Titans jerseys and another 20 or so T-shirts or polos (like me).
5) As a military guy, I've litterally been all over the country (and world) and I can say, that Steelers fans have a HUUGGGE following everywhere (rivaling even Cowboys), but spending time in their home stadium, I felt like I was an intruder bee in their 6-Ring beehive and all the mouth-breathing minions were protecting the queen. Every call that didn't go their way, they argued. We were up in the nose-bleeds and EVERYone around me would carry on one-sided post play analysis with an imaginary coaching staff representative who was clearly looking for their input. On that interference call with 4:00 left in the 4th, the minions lost their collective mind. Even when the jumbo-tron replay CLEARLY showed Jared Cook getting mugged, the fans would have none of it. "Really? Yougottabeeffinkiddinme?"
6) We stopped by the highly recommended Primanti Bros (Market Square location) for a "sandwich you just gotta try" after the game --- they were outta bread! Really? You're a sandwich place and you run out of bread? So we found a location a little closer to where we were staying (about 14 miles SE of town) and it was pretty good, actually.
1) As much as I was looking forward to this game and weekend ever since the tickets were offered up to me several months ago, I'm glad it's over. Without a doubt, I would've had a much better time if TN had won, but I feel confident that my son took away a "father losing gracefully" message from the whole thing. We had a good road trip.
2) As much as I hate the Steelers, I hate their fans even more. Get out of my face.