Steeler Loss Bittersweet for Pittsburgher in Colorado
At what point do I admit that I was once a Pennsylvanian, but am now and possibly forever a Coloradoan? Last night may have been that time. As I watched Tim Tebow complete a pass that turned out to be the last play of the Pittsburgh Steelers season and it didn't result in fits of anger, tantrums and a long bout of depression afterward, I thought to myself, "Well, I guess I am home."
If you haven't spent much time with Steelers fans, then you may not realize that we are a different breed. Of all the fans I've ever met in my life, only Red Sox fans compare. I have never watched the Steelers lose and thought, "That's okay" or "Good for them". After a big Steelers loss, I usually lay blame, justify or just pout. After watching my team lose to the Broncos, I actually hoped that they would go all the way.
Maybe that's for my wife's benefit. She's a Colorado native (and doesn't sport the bumper sticker), and hasn't seen her team win it all for more than a decade. Maybe it's because prolonged exposure in Bronco Country is wearing me down. I've lived in Colorado since 1998.
Actually, though, I think it's because what makes sports interesting are the stories behind the games. One of my favorite sports talkers, Colin Cowherd from ESPN and ESPN Radio, once mused that the Winter Olympics don't have good ratings because there's little possibility of a 'rags to riches' Cinderella story with downhill skiing. Downhill skiers almost invariably come from upper class backgrounds. '...After a lifetime at plush ski resorts, this ski racer with rich parents finally gets her shot at glory..." isn't inspiring. That doesn't make for must see TV.
So, while I it felt strange that I wasn't that upset watching my team lose, I felt better because it is not love for the Broncos that made me feel this way. It is love for watching a great story unfold. And even though I am writing this from the heart of Bronco Country, anyone who says that the possibility of Tebow taking his team to the Big Dance wouldn't be best case scenario for the NFL is clearly deluding themselves. While Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady would be a great QB matchup, it's just another Super Bowl with Tom Brady, just another Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. There is no surprise. There is no 'little guy'.
With Tebow, there is more story than a Dan Brown novel, and TV ratings from their playoff win back that up.