NOTE FROM DAVE: I normally don't take outside submissions, but Srdan Nisic politely asked me to post this if I have room. Be nice to each other in the comments.
By Srdan Nisic
Following an embarrassing performance at the home opener, Steelers fans are searching for answers to fix our beloved team. Is this coaching staff up to the “standard”? Do we have the right pieces on the offensive line? Todd Haley? Running backs? Can we create more turnovers? Many of these questions don’t have short term answers and may never be clearly answered. But one area where this team clearly can improve starts with the very people reading this article in the stands.
The Steelers have the best fans in the NFL, maybe even in pro sports. It’s a point that is hard to dispute but easy to support by looking at an away game with a sea of yellow towels waving in yinzer harmony. Away stands are where our unquestionable love is best exhibited, but our home stadium is more reminiscent of a Jacksonville Jaguars home game. The Heinz Field attendees lack passion and intensity.
Opening weekend I took the time to analyze other teams as I always do (fantasy) but I paid mind to the fans as well. After all, everyone is excited. It’s opening weekend! Across the league I noticed an intensity that the yellow stadium lacked. First and second downs in Cleveland were louder than third downs in Pittsburgh. Let’s not get into the 49ers and Saints discussion.
It’s easy to quickly point the finger at the open end of the field and not take a look in the mirror for the lack of noise. I am a season ticket holder in the 521 section. Yes, it’s up there “and that is where the real fans sit”. Wrong! Not only am I the loudest person in the section (more like vicinity) but I am the only one that stays the entire game. I can’t understand not joining in on the fun, but people wearing the 43’s, 92’s and Lamberts actually ask me to sit down. I find this repulsive. If being quiet and sitting the entire game is your thing, you don’t have to pay the $80 to bake in the sun. Stay home! Give your ticket to someone who will be excited to go to the game, and not complain about the loud idiot with his face painted that lost his voice by the end of the first quarter.
It’s natural to mirror our team in personality. We lack it on the field and in the stands. Some of this can be chalked up to the recent success we have had. I found myself not enjoying home games until the playoffs, but I live close to New York, and a one day trip can be a drag. Where I live there are many people dying to get my tickets and I let them go for face value, just to get some noise into the stadium. I love going to a home game after missing a couple and other neighboring season ticket holders tell me how loud the people last week were. I wish those same questioning neighbors would follow my lead. They need to let their seats go to someone that will support our team and give us personality when we lack it. It’s easy when we have won six games in a row. When we get whooped by the Titans, that’s when we should be offering the most support to a defense that has worked hard all day.
I can’t leave this article without offering up a viable solution. The same standard that Mike Tomlin talks about, we as fans have come to expect it. This is a great thing. An 8-8 team is not ok. There are many teams in the league that would consider it a good season, but I love that we are not one of them. To be great for as long as we have been recently, attention to detail is of the upmost importance. Celebrate the details! Troy Polamalu jumping over the line has nothing to do with the three and out Big Ben just endured. Celebrate it! Don’t worry about the fact that the previous play maybe wasn’t a completion, celebrate his unbelievable “sack by leap”, and let Tomlin worry about his job. Like Dick LeBeau says: “Do your job!”