During his 12 years in the United States Army, Brent Osbourne wore the American flag on his uniform while serving the nation. Now, he has designed a flag for his other "nation" -- the Steelers Nation.
Osbourne, a 35-year old former staff sergeant in the Kentucky National Guard and veteran of the Iraq War, is one of 32 winners of the NFL's "Fan Flag Challenge" -- a contest for fans to design a flag for each team. He will unveil his flag with the help of Steelers Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson during the nationally televised broadcast of NFL Kickoff festivities Wednesday night at New York's Rockefeller Center.
"The way I picture Steelers fans is the way I drew the flag," said Osbourne, of Wilkesboro, N.C.
The flag has the Steelers logo, emblazoned in the center of a circular view of Heinz Field and the Pittsburgh skyline over a field of black.
Six gold hypocycloids -- one for each Steelers' Super Bowl victory -- surround the images and "1933" -- the year the team was founded -- is stenciled in the top left corner.
While in New York, Osbourne and his wife, Shyla, will meet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a luncheon today, then attend the night game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
A combat truck driver during the war -- he helped provide security for convoys going to Baghdad and Fallujah -- his all-time favorite Steeler is, naturally, Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier.
But when it comes to the "Steelers Nation," to Osbourne, there is no separation of church and state.
"Being a Steelers fans is a religion. Some people go to Jerusalem. I go to Pittsburgh."
Dan Gigler: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1884 and Twitter @ gigs2312. First Published September 5, 2012 4:00 AM