I don’t know what you were doing in 1979, but I know what I was doing –I was not caring one bit about the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I don’t know what happened between then and the days before Super Bowl XIV — Pittsburgh was looking to cap off the ’79 season with its fourth Lombardi trophy of the decade in a match-up against the Los Angeles Rams in January of 1980 — but my seven-year-old heart and soul were suddenly so emotionally invested in the outcome of this game that a loss would have surely brought me to tears.
- Anyway, the Steelers did triumph in that game, 31-19, and a lifelong fan was born.
I’ve seen it all in the four-plus decades since deciding that the Steelers were the greatest team in the history of the universe. I’ve witnessed three head coaches, countless playoff appearances, 16 division titles, nine AFC title games, four Super Bowl appearances and two more Lombardi trophies in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.
I’ve witnessed Mean Joe Greene and Cam Heyward; Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger; Lynn Swann and Hines Ward; John Stallworth and Antonio Brown; Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis and Le’Veon Bell; Jack Lambert, James Farrior and Ryan Shazier; Jack Ham, Mike Merriweather, Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter, James Harrison and T.J. Watt; Mel Blount and Rod Woodson; Donnie Shell and Troy Polamalu; and Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field.
- However, despite “seeing it all” over the course of 41 years of fandom, I’ve never seen Pittsburgh win its first four games.
That all changed on Sunday at Heinz Field, when the Steelers defeated the Eagles, 38-29, to begin the year 4-0 for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president.
It’s just hard to fathom for me that this is the first time Pittsburgh has started a season so successfully since I was in elementary school, since I believed in Santa Claus, since disco was a thing.
Yet, here we are. What’s the lesson to be learned from this? I think one such lesson is that it’s never too late to be amazed by a sport, a team or a player. Take receiver Chase Claypool, for example, who scored four touchdowns in the victory over the Eagles–three receiving and one rushing–becoming the first rookie in franchise history to do so.
- Much like the 4-0 start, I can’t believe I — or even much older Steelers fans — had never witnessed such a feat.
There’s a lot not to like about the 2020 calendar year–although, I’d be a fool to tap into any of that mess on here–but there are some bright spots.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since Welcome Back, Kotter was on the air.
Welcome back, indeed.