Steelers rally makes Friday seem like game day
Marlene Campen of Plum shows off her homemade championship rings Friday during the Steelers rally at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald throws Terrible Towels and other Steelers items to the crowd during the rally Friday at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.
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In the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown, the Friday lunch hour felt more like Sunday game day.
Marlene Campen of Plum wore a Troy Polamalu wig on her head and six homemade Super Bowl rings on her fingers. Vince Squair of Coraopolis blew his air horn. And for reasons that weren't immediately clear, Phyliss Anderson of the South Side wore a Terrible Toilet painted black and gold.
"We're going to flush all the teams down the toilet," she said.
At a quick noontime rally, fans decked out in black and gold crowded into the Downtown courtyard Friday to support the Steelers as they prepare to take on the Broncos at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in a first-round, wild-card playoff game in Denver. They shouted out answers to Steelers trivia questions as music blared and courthouse employees danced along in the windows overlooking the courtyard.
Amid the festive atmosphere there was a somber moment, as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald passed on a request from the Steelers that fans keep running backs coach Kirby Wilson in their prayers.
Mr. Wilson, 50, was badly burned in a Seven Fields townhouse fire early Friday morning. When Mr. Fitzgerald mentioned the incident, there was an audible gasp from the crowd.
But the rally remained upbeat, as Mr. Fitzgerald, who has been battling the countywide reassessment ordered by Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr., cheered on the Steelers with a different Common Pleas judge, former Steeler Dwayne Woodruff.
The two men and the fans in the courtyard were optimistic that the Steelers will not only achieve a win on the road to advance in the playoffs, but will make it to the Super Bowl.
"I think they're going to go all the way," said Ms. Campen, the wearer of the rings. "I think they are waiting to show everybody."
Hope sprang eternal in the courthouse courtyard, but a victory against the Broncos could be a challenge for a team that has been plagued by injuries. The Steelers will face the Broncos absent a few of their key players, including center Maurkice Pouncey, who has a left ankle injury.
The changes to the roster were all part of a plan devised by the NFL and the Rooney family to make the competition between the teams more fair, Mr. Woodruff joked.
But he predicted the Steelers would prevail, even against Tebow-mania.
Tim Tebow has become somewhat of a phenomenon, partly due to the Broncos' success this season once he began starting at quarterback and partly due to his demonstration of his religious faith, both on and off the field.
But Mr. Squair was one of several Steelers fans not convinced that God was only on Mr. Tebow's side.
"I tell you what: God is on our side, too," he said. "That's why we've got six Super Bowl rings."
First Published January 7, 2012 12:00 am