The Glory and the Gutting: Steeler Nation and the Humiliation of Pittsburgh


  • Charles McCollester



Political Economy


Last football season the Pittsburgh Steelers stunned fans with an unexpected series of victories. A Steeler Nation—composed of a generation of Pittsburgh's workers who scattered across the United States as their jobs vanished in the last quarter of the twentieth century—filled stadiums in a dozen cities with their team's colors, black and gold. The delirium peaked with the Steelers' victory over the New York Jets, which seemed like an act of God. The improbable twice-missed field goals and overtime win continued the Steelers' fourteen-game winning streak and their march toward the Super Bowl—until that road was cleanly blocked by the New England Patriots. Whatever deity oversees such matters, she must have a sense of equity or cosmic balance because the Steeler Nation in diaspora enjoyed its moment of glory just as the real, living, here-still-today city of Pittsburgh, near bankruptcy, suffered humiliation and dismemberment






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