“Pases de Pantalla Chotos a Bryant” – Steelers Football Meets Argentine Lunfardo

It is said that you really reach fluency in a second language when you feel comfortable enough to joke around in it. I can attest to that reality. After 4 or 5 years of living in Argentina, that I was able to call (and this was before caller ID reached universal status) and greeting them with “Hola, gallego“* and delight in their utter inability to figure out who I was.

The Steelers struggles against the Browns gave me the chance to turn the paradigm on its head:

  • Does an imported foreign institution finally gain cultural currency when the locals can apply slang terminology to it?

A few days after the Steelers narrow win over the Browns, I WhatsApped my friend, and sometime site writer, Gustavo Vallegos, El Dr. de Acero, asking what another friend, who is a notoriously harsh critic of the team at times, had thought of the game. HE hadn’t heard from our friend, but offered his own criticism:

“lo que me preocupaba, cuando empiece el partido con estos pases de pantalla a Bryant chotos con no avanzaba ni dos yardas….” 

For those of you who don’t read Spanish, what Gustavo is talking about is the Ben Roethlisberger to Martavis Bryant bubble screen passes, and the entire Todd Haley horizontal offense the Steelers tried to mount, instead of trying to pound the ball with Le’Veon Bell or hit Bryant and Antonio Brown downfield.

But the key word there is “choto….”

Martavis Bryant, Martavis Bryant bubble screen, Steelers vs Browns

Martavis Bryant, catching one of the bubble screens thrown to him in the Steelers win over the Browns. Photo Credit: ESPN.com

Choto” is a very Argentine word, and is likely exclusive to the dialect of Spanish spoken in the Rio de la Plata. What does Choto mean….

…Well, this is a family friendly site, so any translation needs to be made with care. “Choto” means to, hum, let’s say a certain piece of the male anatomy that’s short, and one that comes up short at shall we say in opportune times. “Gallego,”* which in certain contexts can be highly disrespectful also has much more affectionate, and playful uses.

  • There’s no such lighter side to labeling something or someone as “choto.”

And that’s the beauty of this anecdote. There’s no real English translation of “choto,” there’s no single English word or expression that carries the exact cultural or linguistic weight. Yet, “choto,” very much describes the play of the Steelers offense, save for Antonio Brown and Jesse James, on Sunday against the Browns.

With all that said, I realize this could quite well be the linguistic equivalent of a “You had to be there” type of moment. If so fair enough. But if you can’t quite fully grasp the linguistic side of it there’s something else that you should be able to hang your hat on….


Steelers Fans Buenos Aires, #SteelersWorldWide, Steelers Nation Argentina, Steelers Argentina

Steelers fans gather in Buenos Aires for #SteelersWorldWide Photo

The Steelers Nation’s colony in Argentina might be small, but the porteños are making Steelers football their own!

*Taken literally a “gallego” as an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant from the province of Galacia, in Spain; colloquially saying “Hola gallego” is sort of like saying  “What’s up hoss?” albeit it comes with an affectionate barb, because the stereotype of a gallego is someone who is always a half step-behind the times.

And if you want to follow an Argentine who does really know something about Steelers football, follow:

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Steelers Fans in Buenos Aires to the Obelisco for #SteelersWorldWide!

Pittsburgh Steelers fans will gather at Buenos Aires’ Obelisco on Sunday September 3rd as part of the #SteelersWorldWide Photo.

Think Big, start small. I’d like to say that’s how all of this got started. And, in some ways it is true, because this movement goes way beyond what any one Pittsburgh evangelist could ever hope to do.

  • The leg of my life journey that took me to Buenos Aires began in 2001, in an effort to open new horizons.

Opening those new horizons meant switching jobs, switching languages, switching transport modes, swapping suburban living for city life and giving up a fair number of comforts in a quest to gain something new, something unique. Those were all challenges I was happy to make.

  • But there was one sacrifice that pained me more than all (but one) of the others.

That was giving up the ability to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers. From Steelers 1994 season until the 2000 you could count the number of Steelers games I missed on one hand. When the decision to head south came up, a friend of mine asked once while at Baltimore’s legendary Purple Goose Saloon, founding HQ of the Steelers Fan Club of Maryland, “So what are you going to do about the Steelers?”

As he later recounted the story to someone else, relaying, “When I asked him that, he actually paused….”

Back in 2001, NFL Sunday Ticket was a included in DirectTV Argentina’s standard offering, but DirectTV was well beyond an English teacher’s means. High speed internet and streaming were years away, certainly when measured in budget terms if not in terms of technology. So be it. You take the good with the bad.

So I resigned myself to the reality that for the next portion of my life I’d be following the Steelers by hurriedly loading Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles into memory on a dial up modem, and watching Monday Night and Sunday Night games broadcast on tape delay at 2:30 am on ESPN. But I also remained determined to do what I could to spread the word about the Black and Gold to anyone who was interested.

One of the things I noticed about porteño culture celebrate the triumphs of their soccer teams by posting flags whether they root for Boca, River, Racing, San Lorenzo, or Velas Sarfield. So on the opening day of the Steelers 2001 training camp, with permission of my hosts, hung my Steelers flag on the terrace of the home I was living in. My Argentine “Aunt and Uncle” were amused by it.

  • Any passers by who paused at the bus 141 and 55 stop in Flores’ Jose Marti and actually noticed the flag could have only been puzzled.

Times change. Before Steel Curtain Rising was founded, I’d do post-game summaries by email signing off on as “President, Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Buenos Aires” which was a club of one.  Although it took me until the Steelers win in Super Bowl XLIII, I’ve met and befriended several other Steelers fans here in Buenos Aires. And our movement is gaining momentum….

Steelers fans Argentina, Steelers Buenos Aires Steelers World Wide Photo,

The movement is growing, and on Sunday September 3rd, Steelers fans in Buenos Aires will gather at the Obelisco to take a group picture. We’re starting bright and early at 10:00 am. Bring your Steelers gear.

Bring your terrible towels and, as we await the first Steelers regular season opener to feature Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the field at the same time, let’s show the world that Steelers Nation’s Latin America contingent stand united from the Rio Grade to the Tierra Del Fuego!

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Fanaticos de los Pittsburgh Steelers en Argentina al Obelisco! 3 De Septiembre 2017

Siete días antes del inicio de una nueva temporada, tendrá lugar en Buenos Aires y en más de 50 ciudades alrededor del mundo, un evento muy especial para la Nación Steeler en general y para mí en particular.

Ese día, en el Obelisco, el sitio donde en 1812 se izara por primera vez la bandera argentina en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, los fanáticos acereros de esta parte del mundo, nos reuniremos para tomar la foto oficial de los Steelers fans.

Steelers fanaticos Argentina, Steelers Buenos Aires,

Cuenta la historia que allá por 2013 en Monterrey, México, un grupo de fanáticos mejicanos se reunieron para ver un partido, luego del cual, se tomaron una fotografía para inmortalizar el momento. Un año más tarde la idea de unir en una imagen a los hinchas acereros de todo el mundo, comenzó a tomar forma en la cabeza de Guillermo Vargas, un conspicuo aficionado, quien desde hace 36 años reside en la ciudad de Washington. Aquél 2014 participaron no más de tres ciudades mejicanas.

Desde entonces Guillermo y otros amigos se ocuparon de esparcir la idea a través de las redes sociales: hoy, a 4 años de aquella primera experiencia, sitios tan lejanos como Budapest, Londres, Heidelberg, Bogotá están entre las 53 ciudades de 10 países.

Semejante despliegue de esfuerzo comunicacional y de amor por los colores aurinegros no podía menos que atraer la atención de la organización de la familia Rooney. Así es que los Pittsburgh Steelers prometieron difusión y reconocimiento.

Asique la cita es el próximo domingo 3 de septiembre, en el Obelisco, justo en la intersección de las avenidas 9 de Julio y Corrientes, a las 10 de la mañana.

En la cancha Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, James Harrison y LeVeon Bell. Fuera del emparrillado (sea en las gradas o frente a un televisor) en cualquier punto del planeta, NOSOTROS. La hinchada acerera. Juntos seguimos escribiendo la historia de los Pittsburgh Steelers. Con letras doradas…

y negras.

El Dr. de Acero

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Steelers Lose to Ravens Rapid Reaction

Well folks, in our heart of hearts, everyone in Steelers Nation knew the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers magical mystery ride had to end at some point. Most didn’t think that sad event would occur vs. the Baltimore Ravens. But it did.


This isn’t the time to point fingers or single out scapegoats, far from it, but the truth is the Steelers failed on the fundamentals on several levels:

  • The Steelers offensive line struggled to win the battle of line of scrimmage
  • The Steelers corners had difficulty covering the Raven’s receivers
  • The Steelers reverted to their early season form, committing all sorts of costly penalties

At the end of the day, on this night at Heinz Field, the Baltimore Ravens simply played a better game, and were a better team.

None of that should detract from what this team has accomplished under Mike Tomlin during 2014. This is a young team that found its identity down the stretch. And if they came up short in the playoffs, there are now 30 some players who never wiffed post-season football, including the likes of David DeCastro, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Stephon Tuitt, and Kelven Beachum, who now know what it is like to buckle the chinstrap in a game that is for all of the marbles.

Yes, this playoff loss to the Ravens was a disappointment. And as it is probably the final game for Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, and also perhaps James Harrison and Brett Keisel, its a sad way to end.

But the 2014 Steelers have no need to hang their heads in shame. They returned the franchise to the post-season after twin 8-8 seasons and, hopefully, in the process learned some valuable lessons which they can build on.

Its now 2:14 here in Buenos Aires. Thanks to Carlos, Carlos, Claudio and Sergio who came out to Sugar to join Gustavo and I for the game at Sugar in Buenos Aires. Steel Curtain Rising will have a full analysis later tomorrow.

Until then we ask everyone in Steelers Nation to join us in saluting the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Watch Steelers vs Ravens in Buenos Aires

The Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Buenos Aires is calling on all of the Black and Gold faithful in the porteño capital to join us to watch the Steelers-Ravens game at the bar Sugar, in Palermo.

Mind you, this is an informal gathering, but Sugar is the top expat bar in the city, and regularly shows NFL games. It will also give you a chance to meet El Dr. de Acero, the master behind this site’s Spanish articles, making Steel Curtain Rising the only bilingual blog in Steelers Nation.

Consider the Steelers track record when El Dr. de Acero and yours truly see games together:

That’s 5-3. Not a perfect record, but we’ll take it. Be part of the trend. Join us at Sugar (Costa Rica 4619) to watch the third Steelers-Ravens match up at Heinz Field during the Mike Tomlin era.

Go Steelers!

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Mira Steelers Contra Ravens en Buenos Aires Con Fanaticos del Negro y Oro

Queridos amigos de la Nación Steeler.



Contra todos los pronósticos de mediados de temporada, los Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) han ingresado por derecho propio y con autoridad a la postemporada y mañana, en la noche de Buenos Aires, recibirán en Heinz Field a los eternos rivales de división, los Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

  • Los Acereros llevan ventaja histórica de 15-7 (3-0 en postemporada).

En los juegos disputados este año hubo una victoria para cada equipo. Sin embargo, el último encuentro disputado en Pittsburgh, el QB Ben Roethlisberger ingresó al libro de records al lanzar por segundo juego consecutivo, 6 pases de TD y alzarse con la victoria por 43 a 23, tomando revancha del primer encuentro en Baltimore en donde estos se impusieron por 26 a 6.

  • La intensidad será invitada de honor a esta noche.
  • Intensidad en las tribunas y en el campo de juego.
  • E intensidad en cualquier lugar del planeta en donde se reúnan al menos 2 fanáticos de los Steelers para acompañar a su equipo.

Allí donde ondeen las Terribles Toallas Amarillas.

Buenos Aires no podría ser la excepción. Aquí también ondearán la Toallas Amarillas. El punto de reunión será el Sugar Bar, en Costa Rica 4619, en el Barrio de Palermo.

Allí los esperamos un rato antes del partido.

Go Steelers!

El Dr. De Acero

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Super Bowl XLVIII: Loss for Chuck Noll Coaching Tree, Victory for “Steelers Football”

Well Super Bowl XLVIII didn’t quite end the way Steelers Nation wanted, not that the faithful had an overriding rooting interest in the outcome. Still John Fox, as a representative of the Chuck Noll Coaching Tree, had a chance to add to the Tree’s Lombardi count and came up very short as Peyton Manning pulled a…. Peyton Manning.

As it stands, the Chuck Noll Coaching Tree’s Lombardi count remains at 6, counting Chuck Noll’s 4, Tony Dungy’s 1 and Mike Tomlin’s 1. 6 Lombardi’s is nothing to sneeze at, but it would have been nice to see Fox pad the total with a 7th, if for no other reason that Fox and Tomlin the only one’s left to continue the Emperor’s legacy.

Unfortunately, Fox’s team look woefully unprepared, as pointed out by Behind the Steel Curtain editor Neal Coolong. Adding insult to injury was the Hall of Fame Selection committee’s decision to black ball Jerome Bettis.

Still, all was not lost.

Seattle Wins Playing Steelers Football

Steelers Nation can take heart in a moral victory of sorts. Defense has always provided the foundation for the Pittsburgh Steelers greatness. Yet, the NFL today is all about offense. The old adage that “Offense wins games, defense wins championships” has been replaced by new conventional wisdom that “Perfect offense defeats perfect defense.”

  • Except in this case Seattle’s defense was far more perfect that Denver’s supposedly unstoppable offensive juggernaut 

And the running game, another staple of Steelers football, also played large in Seattle’s title run.

Of course once Steelers Nation finishes patting itself on the back for this “moral victory” (should they choose to do so – few other Steelers outlets are pedaling this line) there then comes a sobering reality:

  • Seattle’s defense is far more potent than the Steelers defense is now, or is likely to be in the near future. Le’Veon Bell, however is closer to reviving the Steelers running game.

If there is a bright side, it is that Seattle built it defense quickly. Does it seem like it can only be three seasons ago that the Steelers shut out Seattle in their rebound for the Debacle in Baltimore? No it doesn’t. But three seasons it is.

All the more reason for Kevin Colbert and company to make this draft count while Ben Roethlisberger‘s championship viability remains.

Excuse Making to Stop?

Seattle’s victory in Super Bowl XLVIII brings another potential plus to Steelers Nation. It perhaps opens the door to the possibility that the incessant and annoying excuse making for Super Bowl XL might stop.

The Steelers won Super Bowl XL fair and square bringing Jerome Bettis “home” in the process and perhaps now that they have their own Lombardi to shine, Seattle fans will accept that fact and move on.

Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Buenos Aires Predicts Super Bowl, Outcome

As we close the page on the NFL’s 2013 Season it is only fair to recognize who got it right, from the very get go. And he happens to be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Buenos Aires.

Carlos Montaldo is an Argentine in his 40’s who speaks little English and has never been to Pittsburgh. He’s also a Steelers fan (and an upstairs neighbor.) And he LOVES football (the real kind, not futbol).

Very early in the season, he predicted that the Super Bowl would come down to Denver and Seattle. He stuck to it all year long. And when everyone and his brother was predicting a Denver victory, Carlos called it for the Seahawks – and backed it up with 100 dollars (and that is no small expression of confidence, if you know how precious dollars are in Argentina.)

Kudos to you Carlos!

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Watch Tower: Can Cowher Counter Balance Phil Simms’ Anti-Steelers Bias?

NFL week 6 brings the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Jets and a decision by CBS gives the Watch Tower a chance to shift its focus from “print” to broadcast journalism.

The Chin to Commentate on Steelers-Jets Game

The news of course is the announcement that former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher will join Jim Nance and Phil Simms in the booth to call the game, adding intrigue for a number of reasons.

Bill Cowher once mentioned that he did not know how preceded Chuck Noll as coach of the Steelers. That man was none other than Bill Austin, and ironically at 0-4 the Steelers are amidst their worst start since Austin’s final year in 1968.

  • But that’s not CBS’ real motive here.

CBS is taking an unprecedented step in sending out his studio team to cover their respective former teams, meaning that Boomer Esiason will do the Cincinnati-Buffalo game while Shannon Sharpe returns to Denver to commentate on what promises to be the NFL’s version of the Hunger Games – Denver vs. Jacksonville.

Its an interesting broadcast concept, although one my fairly ask why not ask Dan Marino to do Miami’s game.

Steelers Nation’s Golden Lining? Can the Chin Compensate?

For Steelers Nation the prospect of Cowher joining the Nance and Simms in the booth perhaps offers a golden lining. Bill Cowher has pledged to call the game, which speaks well of him.

And Steelers Nation needs no homers. But with that said, Steelers fans undoubtedly have one hope:

  • Can Cowher compensate for Phil Simmsanti-Steelers bias?

For the record, the Watch Tower liked Phil Simms as a player, and respects him as an analyst (his comment “What is this, World Cup soccer?” after an extremely “ticky tacky” roughing the passer  was golden.)

  • But Phil Simms has an anti-Steelers bias, plain and simple.

Steelers Nation has long complained about this, but the Watch Tower can prove it!

As regular readers know, Steel Curtain Rising is written out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. And yours truly is married to a beautiful Argentine woman. My wife accepts and sometimes even enjoys (although its hard to get her to admit it) watching Steelers games with me.

But being Argentine, she knows nothing of Phil Simms alleged “Anti-Steelers bias.” Moreover, she most certainly doesn’t even know the name “Phil Simms” nor does she recognize his voice or face.

  • Yet every time Phil Simms does a Steelers game – without fail – at some point she’ll ask “Is it me, or is this guy favoring the other team?”

This isn’t scientific proof, but its as close as you’re going to get. An unknowing, neutral observer has repeatedly picked up on Simms bias against the Steelers. (Although to be certain, Simm’s anti-Steelers bias is nothing compared to the anti-Steelers bias that Cris Collinsworth barely attempted to hide while at NBC.)

Hearing Bill Cowher commentate a Steelers game should be interesting. It says here that if the Steelers:

  • Force Ben Roethlisberger to run for his life
  • Miss tackles
  • Get burned on long completions
  • Cough up the ball
  • Let Geno Smith write his diary in the pocket
  • Fail to produce turnovers

Then Bill Cowher should call them out for each and every one of those failings.

But when Simms decides bend over backwards in his praise of how the Jets have managed to fill the position for the back up place kicker holder position while criticizing the Steelers practice squad decision choices, hopefully the Chin will perk up and defend the Black and Gold’s honor.

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Steelers-Browns Game Not Shown in Buenos Aires…

As expected, neither Direct TV, nor ESPN, nor FOX are showing the Steelers-Browns game in Buenos Aires.

Domestically the game is being shown by the NFL Network. The NFL’s quest to forced cable providers to carry the NFL Network makes their strategy of making a number of games exclusively avaiable on the NFL Network quite logical.

But what sense does it make outside the United States?

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Super Bowl XLV from Porto de Galinhas

It seems like I began a tradition two years ago by spending the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIII in Tandil, which is in the Province of Buenos Aires.

This time I am going a step further, spending Super Bowl week in Brazil’s Porto de Galinhas.

Except this time I will be in Brazil for the game.

I hope to be able to find a place to watch it, or at the very least be able to see the game on TV in the hotel.

So folks, if you’re Porto de Galinhas or near that part of Brazil and know of place that is showing the game, please leave a comment, perhaps we can join up.

I’ll have limited ability to post this week, but I do hope to get something up before the game.

In the mean time, check out my Primer on Steelers-Packers History if you have not already.

Go Steelers!

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