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What happens if a city is so crappy that everyone leaves that city yet continues to root for the same awful team even after they’ve left?
You have the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base.
Steelers fans are everywhere. Not because their fan base is so large, but because the city of Pittsburgh is such a dump that if these fans had stayed in Pittsburgh they’d all be unemployed, homeless, and using their terrible towels to help stay warm while sleeping on top of a street vent.
That isn’t a nation, it’s just a collection of people who didn’t want to be homeless and decided to move to your city instead of staying in Pittsburgh and freezing to death.
In 1930 Pittsburgh had nearly 670,000 residents.
Three years later the Steelers were founded. Almost immediately Steeler fans began to flee the city, seeking to live somewhere, hell, anywhere that was better than the city of Pittsburgh. (That’s why there’s presently a collection of Steeler fans in Baghdad).
Eighty years later, in 2010, Pittsburgh had just 305,000 residents.
Where did all these people go?
To your local bar, where they wear Hines Ward jerseys, twirl towels, and bitch that the local team’s game is on TV instead of the Steeler game. You want to know how to stop a Steeler fan from bragging about Jerome Bettis or Terry Bradshaw or penal league all-star Ben Roethlisberger?
Lean in close to them — dodge the constantly waving towel — and say, “If you love the Steelers so much, why’d you leave Pittsburgh?”
Almost always the answer will involve this line, “I had to get a job.”
Nod and follow up your first question with this one, “If Pittsburgh’s so awesome, why don’t you move back there now?”
Steeler fans have no answer.
Because deep down they know that you’re right, that they’ve chosen to root for a team from a city they aren’t even willing to live in themselves. That’s why Pittsburgh residents should thank God Detroit exists, otherwise Pittsburgh would be considered the biggest dump in America.
As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve adopted the most absurd and annoying method of cheering available on the planet — the terrible towel.
My favorite thing about the terrible towl is that it was “invented” by Myron Cope. This is the most ludicrous use of the word invention that I’ve ever heard. Cope took an everyday object that already existed and put the word terrible in front of it. Then Cope told dumb Steeler fans to twirl the towel above their heads. Since Steeler fans are lemmings — tell them to do something and they’ll keep doing it until they fall to their death off a cliff — the terrible towel is inextricably connected to the team.
(At this point Steeler fans always say, “But the proceeds go to charity. You hate kids!” Easy there, Bart Starr, it’s pennies on the terrible towel dollar that go to charity for kids. I’ve got a radical idea. If you want to help kids why don’t you donate money directly to the kids instead of buying a towel and sending them a penny?)
So what’s the dumbest stereotypical Steeler fan like in his element:
He’s sitting at your neighborhood Applebee’s bar in a Troy Polamalu jersey.
No matter which American city you live in, come Sunday there are Steeler fans at your bar. That’s why everyone hates Steeler fans, because they’re the guys and gals who move to a city that’s much better than their own and cheer for another team’s city. Every NFL fan base hates Steeler fans. They’re the absolute worst. This is a scientific fact.
Our stereotypical Steeler fan’s been living in Phoenix for the past thirty years, and he’s a huge Steeler fan even though he hasn’t been back to Pittsburgh since 1978.
“Arizona sucks!” he screams each and every time someone asks to change the Applebee’s station to the local team’s game.
Occasionally he calls into local sports talk radio and berates Phoenix sports fans for not having the Steelers to cheer for. He’s always peppering his trash talk with witty comments like, “How many Super Bowl rings do you have? We have six!”
By six, he means none.
If you want to drive him insane, you can ask to see his six Super Bowl rings. “Oh, yeah,” you can say as you nurse your beer at Applebee’s,” “where do you keep your Super Bowl rings?”
He has a faded Steeler nation bumper sticker on his 1992 Toyota Celica that hasn’t been running since 1998. His weekend wardrobe is made up of 10 different Steeler jerseys and cargo shorts with hightop black sneakers. He’s got a protruding beer gut but you can’t see it because his oversized jersey makes him look like a potato sack with arms and legs.
He’s not married and he doesn’t have a girlfriend because he “likes to play the field.”
And by “play the field” he means, “masturbate alone to 1970’s Steeler highlights.”
He’s planning on going back to Pittsburgh for a game sometime soon, but he can’t afford the gas money to drive back to Pittsburgh and he doesn’t have a driver’s license anyway. Plus, his quick cash employer is busiest on the weekend so it’s hard to get off Saturdays. There’s also the tiny issue of that indecent exposure charge — which was TOTALLY TRUMPED UP — who hasn’t been pantsless in the bushes outside a Curves Gym on a Tuesday night trying to pee — which means he can’t leave the state without prior approval.
As if that wasn’t enough, his probation officer is a huge Cardinals fan and he’s “totally jealous” of the Steelers six rings so there’s no way he’s ever letting him leave for the weekend.
So he plans on waving his terrible towel at the Applebee’s bar for decades to come.
You will love this collection of Pittsburgh Steeler hatemail from when I made fun of the terrible towel.
Here’s our countdown of the ten dumbest fan bases in America.
The Ten Dumbest Fan Bases in America:
8. The West Virginia Mountaineers