Are Some Steelers Alienating Their Fans?

Charlie BatchIn case you haven’t heard, Super Bowl XLVII is a week away and it pits San Francisco, going for their record-tying 6th Lombardi trophy and Baltimore who is going for their second. On a personal level and for many of my fellow Steelers’ brethren, this match-up is a nightmare wrapped in a horror movie.

It’s a catch-22 of epic proportions. Root for the 49ers to beat the hated-Ravens? If they win, they tie the Steelers with six Super Bowl titles. Root for the Ravens and you’ve pretty much turned in your card as a Steelers’ fan. It’s a horrible proposition for all of us, unless you play for the Pittsburgh Steelers where apparently its’ OK to root for your most hated rival.

In the last week, Steelers’ All-Pro centrer Maurkice Pouncey announced that he was rooting for the Ravens to win. In essence going with the ‘represent the AFC’ line of thinking which as a player, I suppose I understand to a certain degree.

This morning on Twitter, Charlie Batch also threw his support behind Baltimore and went so far as to say “he’d like to see Ray Lewis go out the same way Jerome Bettis did.” Ummmmm, what? Let’s get the facts straight Uncle Charlie.

First of all, Jerome Bettis going home to play in Super Bowl XL was a huge story but Bettis didn’t exactly find every camera within a 5-mile radius of him to heap praise on God and tell everyone about it. Most of us knew that it would be the Bus’ last game but in his defense, the media put far more into the story than he did. I know he enjoyed the attention, but he didn’t seek it out like a certain purple-clad number 52.

Secondly, Bettis had never won a Super Bowl let alone get to one. Ray Lewis won the title in his fourth season so he already has a ring. Sure, any professional athlete could only dream of winning the championship in his very final game but there are only so many John Elway stories out there.

The bigger issue in all of this centers around the decisions of both Pouncey and Batch to use social media to announce their line of thinking. Do we as fans take our rivalries too seriously? Of course we do and we need to remember that NFL players do in fact belong to a unique brotherhood where men on both sides of the field may be rivals but also may be friends.

A lot was made about Ryan Clark going over to the Ravens’ locker room after they played earlier this season. Personally, I think it wasn’t as big of a deal as it made out to be but where Clark erred was in his timing and his location. You have to consider the ramifications of such decisions.

The same could be said now for Pouncey and Batch who have really thrown themselves into an unnecessary cauldron of pissed off Steelers’ fans who cannot believe the men they root for are supporting the enemy.

Do we all need to take a step back and breathe a┬ábit here? Your damn right we do. These men are entitled to support whomever they choose. My problem and the problem so many have with their decision, is why make it public? The comments of both men can do no good for anyone in the black ‘n gold.

As one of my very awesome and opinionated twitter followers put this morning, “Do you think any Ravens were cheering for us in any of our recent Super Bowl appearances?”

I think not.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.

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5 comments on “Are Some Steelers Alienating Their Fans?

  1. We hate that current players don’t hate their rivals like the old school players do, but it is what it is. This is a softer, nicer, NFL than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago and beyond. It’s all about money now, nothing is personal and all they care about is collecting a paycheck and worrying about where their next contract is coming from.

    Sure there are some old school, throw back types that play with fire and emotion like the 70’s players did for example, but when push comes to shove everybody is nice and friendly to their opponent after the game.

    Like I said in your sulia post, you wouldn’t see Lambert cheering for an old AFC Central rival if they were in the Super Bowl nor would you see Greg Lloyd cheering for the Browns. Joey Porter was one of of the last of a dying breed on the field.

  2. The way the network, and even the NFL channel, talking heads fawn at the feet of Ray Lewis, I wouldn’t be suprised to see him awarded the Super Bowl MVP BEFORE the game, just for gracing us with his presence. While admittedly a great linebacker and surely headed to the HOF, the adulation (adoration?) given to him by the aforementioned is way over the top. Had he been given the task of cracking the lineup of Ham, Russell and Lambert he might have been the Ziggy Hood of the 70’s. All that being said, and in spite of my inherrent detestation of the Ravens, I still find myself hoping they win this week. To me, it is preferable that they get their paltry second trophy than for the Steelers to be forced to share the pinnacle of NFL success with the 49ers, even for just a brief time period.

    • Thanks for reading 58. As SteelCityRetro said and you eluded to as well, the game is vastly different than the days of Lambert and Ham. The 24-hour access, the social media and the money have created more ways for players to get themselves in trouble. I have no problem with Batch and Pouncey wanting the Ravens to win, but they need to know their audience.

      I agree about Lewis. He has been a great player and will easily enter the Hall but this recent attention-gathering schtick is ridiculous.

  3. Did Ray Lewis wish Pittsburgh well when the Steelers went to the SuperBowl? No! In Fact, I was surprised at the disdain he had for Steelers making the Super Bowl. Today, you have the Steelers placating the Ravens and wishing them well like a pep rally. It would be Ok if this was given in return. It shows Steeler Nation how the city’s team has lost its edge. They are not hungry anymore and lost the passion. They need to pump some new blood into this team. We need the next Hines Ward, Joe Peezy or the next Jack Lambert. I’m tired of the Steelers kissing up to their rivals and Ray never rooted for Steelers to win when they went.

    • Thanks for reading… I think the point about Lewis ever openly cheering for us is the key one and raises the bigger point about how today’s players have changed. This team could definitely use an injection of firepower and attitude.

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