Game Report: JAGUARS vs. STEELERS

Any unobservant fan might have walked into EverBank Field on Sunday and quickly made the assumption that they entered the wrong game. After all, a quick glance through the crowd gave the appearance that the Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t the host team.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers in town to face the Jaguars, the typically rabid fan base that follows the Steelers showed up in full force, Terrible Towels in tow and painting the typically teal and black stands black and yellow.

With just over 66,000 in attendance, it was clear the Steelers had full support behind them as they cruised to a 17-9 win over the Jags.

Clearly the biggest draw at EverBank Field so far this season, it was also the most expensive. According to Forbes.com, the Steelers game ranked first in the league for Week 5 in secondary sales, as fans shelled out, on average, 153% more than face value for a ticket.

Any Steelers fan will tell you the large amount of support follows the team from city to city, so Jacksonville fans, don’t worry – you are not alone in thinking your city is Pittsburgh South.

“The Steelers fan base has always turned out well on the road,” Steelers fan and local business owner Martin Buckley said. “The Steelers have a strong fan base across the country. After the steel mills closed, people were forced to move to find work, so Pittsburgh ended up all over the country. On top of that, people from the north end up in sunny Florida, my family included.”

Buckley, who owns Palm Beach Autographs (located in the Avenues Mall), makes it a point to be in attendance every time the Steelers come the Jacksonville. He’s never disappointed with the amount of supporters that come to back the Steelers.

“It was another big turn out for Steelers Nation,” Buckley, 37, said. “I’ve come to expect a lot of Terrible Towels at this game.”

The Terrible Towels, a creation of former Steelers radio broadcaster Myron Cope in 1975, could be seen waving throughout the stands the entire game.

The Jacksonville-Pittsburgh rivalry may not be as strong as it was in the past, when the two teams were division rivals, but it appears fans of both teams have learned to play nice. Several groups were spotted tailgating pregame with an even mix of colors. Jaguars club seat holder Chuck Cuthbertson, along with his wife Susan, were kind enough to bring along their friends Harvey and Elsie, both Steelers fans and decked out in matching Troy Polamalu jerseys, as their guests.

“Some of my best friends are Steelers,” Cuthbertson, a three-year season ticket holder, said. “They definitely know how to party, which is the common denominator that tears down walls.”

It’s good to know that the Pittsburgh imports that call Jax home can still appreciate the home team, even if they bleed black and yellow.

“I enjoy having the NFL here in town,” Buckley said. “I attend a few games a year. I want to see the Jaguars do well and think they are on the right path with [Blake] Bortles. It’s just going to take a couple more years to build on that.”

When you talk to a Steelers fan, even one that’s made their home in a city nearly a thousand miles away and home to its own NFL team, you quickly understand why they stand behind their team, and make other stadiums appear to be their own.

“The Steelers for me represent more than just football,” Buckley said. “The Steelers represent where I’m from and they are a part of who I am. I wish the Jaguars success and I’m sure they will continue to improve on the field, but I’m a Steelers fan first and foremost.”

The Jaguars travel to Tennessee this week to take on the Titans before returning home Oct. 19 to host the Cleveland Browns.

About David Rosenblum

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