"The energy isn't in the air like it used to be in the playoffs," said one fan from McKees Rocks.By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Friday before a Steelers-Browns playoff game usually means hordes of fans flocking to downtown Pittsburgh.

But not this year. The coronavirus pandemic means no crowds and no pep rallies.

On the Friday before the big game, thousands of fans would normally cram into the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard for a noon rally.

“The pandemic itself, it’s just going to make everything difficult for everybody,” one Steelers fan said.

“It’s a different world we live in,” added another.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Instead, there is a Terrible Tree sitting in the courthouse’s courtyard. Fans are invited to decorate it, but KDKA did not see any fans on Friday.

This playoff season, look for no tailgating, no Terrible Towels and no screaming fans. It has dampened some of the excitement for fans like Lloyd Penn.

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“The energy is a lot different,” Penn said. “It’s a little, I guess you can say dumbed down because of everything that is going on. The energy isn’t in the air like it used to be in the playoffs.”

Normally, the Strip District would be filled with fans sporting Steelers gear. They would also be scooping up new merchandise. But it just was not happening on Friday.

A man who sells merchandise for a living says one reason is out-of-town fans are staying home.

“The Steeler Nation is huge. We probably get 20,000 to 25,000 people coming to the game from out of town,” said Jim Coen, owner of Yinzers In The Burgh.

The hope is that Steeler fever will start rising on Saturday.