The official guide to being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in 2017

There’s still room on the bandwagon. Next to all the Lombardi Trophies.

Look how terrible that towel is!

Look how terrible that towel is!

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
0126171117-1

Hello, good people of Pittsburgh! Thanks for clicking this link! Now, believe it or not, just as everyone in 2017 Pittsburgh does not work in a steel mill, there are also some people in the city who are not sports fans. Strange, yet true.

Many people in 2017 Pittsburgh who are not fans still jumped aboard the Penguins bandwagon the last two seasons on the way to their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. But did you know the Penguins are not Pittsburgh’s only professional sports team? There’s another one, too. No, not the Pirates baseball team you may have heard a little about. I said professional. I’m speaking of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a pro football team! They have aspirations to be like the Penguins this year and win a championship. With that in mind, here is The Incline’s Official Steelers Guide For The New Fan, chock full of everything you need to know about the team to jump aboard that bandwagon with confidence. The regular season starts a week from Sunday, so get reading.

The Steelers have some new players.

Last season the Steelers also had championship aspirations, but were humiliated by the New England Patriots in the conference championship game. (If you’re new to being a Steelers fan, know that getting humiliated by the Patriots in conference championship games is a recurring theme.) So with an eye toward improving this year, the Steelers acquired several new players.

The latest new Steelers player is cornerback Joe Haden, signed on Wednesday to a 3-year, $27 million contract. The defensive back position has been a problem for the Steelers for years — and one Patriots quarterback Tom Brady routinely exploits. Haden, only a few years removed from back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, could be a significant upgrade. On the other hand, he was just released by the Browns — the worst franchise in professional sports — so the 2017 version of Joe Haden may be terrible. I guess we’ll find out soon. But let’s hope it’s the former. Fingers crossed!

The Steelers also acquired a new pass-catching tight end this week in Vance McDonald. Other new names to know for the Steelers this year are draft picks T.J. Watt, Juju Smith-Schuster, and James Conner. Conner is a Pitt product and general all-around hero. Chances are, you already own his jersey.

The veterans you have to know

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As much as the new guys will help, the success of this year’s team will depend on how well the Steelers’ established team leaders play and if they stay healthy.  The important names to know here are:

  • Ben Roethlisberger — The quarterback is entering his 14th NFL season and is hinting that it could be his last. He is either the most underrated quarterback in NFL history or the most overrated quarterback in NFL history, depending on the week and if the Steelers win. Tune in to Pittsburgh sports radio after each game to find out which it is.
  • Le’Veon Bell — Bell, pictured winkyface’d above, is probably the best running back in football. He can run the ball, he can catch passes, he can do everything … including get hurt and suspended and hold out of training camp. Not once in Bell’s four seasons has he played an entire 16-game schedule and appeared in a playoff game. Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes will hinge on having Bell in the lineup and healthy.
  • Antonio Brown — Brown is possibly the best wide receiver in football. He is definitely the best dancer in football. Post-touchdown dancing — tasteful dancing, as determined by middle aged men wearing referee costumes, that is — is allowed this year in the NFL. So expect to see a lot of this.