Friday, May 11, 2012

Enlightened Steelers Fans Know Their Football - Male And Female

Ben Roethlisberger was on The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday morning and was asked about a number of things including the Denver loss. What has the media and football world reacting is a passing reference to the San Francisco 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Steelers on Monday, Dec. 19.

Roethlisberger had been hurt 11 days before against the Cleveland Browns, suffering a high-ankle sprain. Many, including myself, didn't believe he should've played in that game. He was hurt and was more important for the playoff run than this individual NFC game.

Now, understand, it isn't to be understated that Big Ben definitely knows what it means to play with pain. He has broken his thumb, torn cartilage in his knee, separated his shoulder and fractured a bone in his foot. Maybe his best "John Wayne" moment, though, came against the Ravens when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata broke his nose in December of 2010. He stayed in the game and ended up throwing the winning touchdown pass to Isaac Redman in a 13-10 Steelers win that decided the division.

But after the game in question, Roethlisberger called himself "the 49ers' best player." A game in which he threw three interceptions, was sacked three times and fumbled twice losing one. Big Ben was more of a liability than an asset as has been detailed in a previous blog.

Well, Dan Patrick asked Big Ben when the last time he felt a team was going after his knees, ankles or head.

"Um, wow, that's tough," Roethlisberger said. "I don't really complain about that stuff, either. But I think when we played San Fran I felt like there were some things going on, some extra... Now, obviously, I did have the ankle and I was playing, so there was kind of a bulls-eye on there anyway. But for the most's just...guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them." -

I'll be blunt: if the 49ers did target Big Ben's ankle in order to put him out of the game, good for them. I wouldn't expect anything differently. Not that I want my quarterback injured, but if you think that such things don't happen all the time, including with our beloved Steelers, and hasn't happened since football began, stop reading now. Go watch baseball or some non-contact sport, because football isn't for you.

That said, I'm not talking bounties and I don't believe either was the case with the 49ers. I watched every play of that game and saw nothing, absolutely nothing, to believe the 49ers did anything bounty related or set out to do serious damage to Big Ben's ankle. And to his credit, Big Ben never suggested that they did. That hasn't stopped the sports media on the whole from tossing it around in that light, though.

Point blank, if Steelers fans didn't make a brouhaha about illegally or immorally trying to take out Big Ben, that says something. An approximate 75% of Steelers fans are very knowledgeable. Knowledgeable to the point of not allowing emotion to cloud their thinking. No solid thinking fellow fan I know even whispered a thought of it then and not one is screaming it now.


In fact, Steeler Nation is not only known for having intelligent and enlightened fans, but for also having a vast and expansive array of intelligent and enlightened female fans.

Over the years I've gotten to know many female Steelers fans whom I can safely say have been as, or more, knowledgeable than some male fans. For example, go to any  Steelers message board, to Twitter or to most any Facebook group dedicated to the Steelers and you'll find that the female fans go at it with opposing teams' fans regularly and easily hold their own. Since we all know that being loud doesn't equate to being right, you don't see them merely shouting their opinions. They readily express their love and their viewpoints, but they're able to back up those viewpoints with empirical data and facts. Some can even just as quickly pull historical game facts out of the air as many men I know.

Don't just take my word for it, though. Take the word of a "Scarborough Sports Marketing survey of 220,354 residents in 75 United States markets." The Steelers have, "by far, the largest base of NFL fans who are women." -


So the next time you're watching a football and you're told that you think like a girl, it was probably a Steelers fan and was meant as a compliment.