‘Did he say Pittsburgh or Six-burgh?’

PITTSBURGH — The revelry surrounding tomorrow’s NFL Kickoff 2009 game between the Steelers and Titans isn’t hard to miss. I wasn’t even all the way across the country and fully into Steelers Nation Wednesday before brushing elbows with fans who clearly had football on the brain.

But, before I get into that, there’s a football game tomorrow. Titans at Steelers. Don’t know anyone who’s not excited for this. It’s a big day for NFL fans, and there’s a lot going on, including the NFL Opening Kickoff 2009 free concert in Pittsburgh with Tim McGraw and The Black Eyed Peas, so check out the details here.

Making the trip from L.A. to Pittsburgh, had to make a connecting flight in Detroit (which, by the way, if you have 25 minutes to change planes between terminals A and B is just not that cool). Anyways, the smallish plane for the second leg of the trip was chock full of Steelers fans. Boarded late, and wasn’t in my seat for more than a minute before I hear a Steelers fan yell from the back for anyone who wanted to hear: “This is Steelers Nation back here. No Cowboys fans allowed. I don’t like the Cowboys.”

Didn’t bother to tell him the Cowboys weren’t playing, but you all get the point.

It was only a 39-minute flight, so said Steelers fan wasn’t done with his material when we landed. After the flight attendant gives the “Welcome to Pittsburgh!” spiel, he lets out: “Did he say Pittsburgh or Six-burgh!?”

The nicest Steelers fans I met on the trip — Lori and Laura Beth — sat behind me and were making the trip all the way from Seattle for this game. Lori met her husband at a Steelers game in Seattle. Lots of dedication, not to mention love, in Steelers Nation. Somehow, though, the unlucky husbands didn’t make it for the girls weekend to Pittsburgh. Very suspicious.  That’s what I call the short end of the stick, fellas.

Haven’t been to Pittsburgh International Airport since the 2004 AFC Championship Game, so maybe my memory escapes me, but as you make your way down the escalators to the lower level there are two statues greeting you to the Steel City. One is of George Washington. The other? A replica of Franco Harris’ immaculate reception. You can’t make that up. Place is serious.

We’ll be blogging all day Thursday from Pittsburgh, including updates from Jason La Canfora and Vic Carucci. So stay tuned, and enjoy the festivities everyone.

— Frank Tadych

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