Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Steelers Nation is going to be challenged this weekend to cover all the Steelers’ interest with the appropriate amount of black and gold spirit.
Not only do the Steelers need support in Cleveland Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but the team also has a vested interest in what happens in Cincinnati at the same time.
Boiled down, if the Steelers win in Cleveland and the Ravens lose in Cincinnati, the Steelers win the AFC North, a first-round bye and will host a second-round playoff game at Heinz Field. Add a Patriots loss to Buffalo and the Steelers get home field advantage through the playoffs.
Cleveland fans are selling off their tickets online faster than stores are liquidating Christmas decorations so there will be plenty of room for Steelers fans to turn the final game of the season into a home game albeit two hours away.
Likewise the Bengals, despite being in the playoff picture, had 24,000 no shows last week prompting quarterback Andy Dalton, Coach Marvin Lewis and numerous other players to go public with pleas to fans to fill the stands.
Since the Steelers need Cincinnati to win, this is a rare chance for The Steelers Nation to pack into Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and for three hours on this one day only – cheer for the Bengals.
What’s the old saying? “I’m a fan of the Steelers and whoever is playing the Ravens.” Well this is the week to put on the black and gold, grab the terrible towel, and go make noise against the Ravens. Just like in Cleveland, tickets for the game are plentiful.
Since this is New Years’ weekend, hotel rooms will probably be in short supply, but a check by KDKA found plenty available in both Cincinnati and Cleveland as of Monday night. That could change as the weekend looms. But for now Steelers fans, there is still time and opportunity to get in on supporting the Steelers and the Steelers best interest in Ohio this weekend.