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For Steelers, a scene like no other

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LONDON — Oh, for real

ptr-steelers9-092913

The Sunday column only touches on what happened yesterday on Regent Street, but it’s unlike anything the Steelers could have expected, as even organizers with whom I spoke there seemed taken aback.

Here’s Alan Robinson’s news account of that, as well as a broader look at the NFL in London.

The long and short: Regent Street is London’s busiest thoroughfare, as well as its shopping hub, and it might be the best in the world in the latter regard. Well, it was shut down completely for five hours for the NFL to throw a bash celebrating that little football game tonight, and the best estimate I could come up with for who showed up was in the tens of thousands.

That pic up there, by our Chaz Palla, only begins to tell the story of how far, in particular, the crowds stretched during the Steelers’ portion of the rally, during which Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and others appeared on a stage and addressed the fans. It was easy to see they were genuinely moved, including with a few of their tweets afterward.

Here’s what moved me …

First was meeting George Abbey, a North Side native who served in the U.S. Army out of Germany and ended up living in Wiesbaden the past 20 years …

I made parenthetical mention the other day about our military men and women getting to see their team on European soil. It’s been great to meet some of them.

The other was just kind of a wow moment for me, in the sense of seeing Pittsburgh’s most famous institution — and with apologies to an infinitely more deserving Jonas Salk, we don’t have a close second — celebrated like this in one of the world’s greatest cities so far from home.

I will never, ever forget it.

Couple more pics from Chaz …

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Check out the look on Mr. Rooney’s face. Think this doesn’t mean something to the ambassador?

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A.B. shows off his touchdown dance to the delight of the crowd.

Here’s Chaz’s photo gallery for the day, with much more good stuff.

Our full Steelers coverage includes Mark Kaboly’s weekly breakdowns and more.

Oh, and if you’re interested in a completely worthless tour of the Tower Bridge from me, enjoy …

Love that place, but really need to read up on it.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. bizrow says:

    • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post
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    9/28/2013 4:34 PM

  2. bizrow says:

    Pittsburgh is the best hometown.

    I am proud to be from here.

    Dejan please tell folks how much we thank, admire and love them.

  3. JMB says:

    Great article and insta pics.

    This season is gonna be rough, but the players can see that the fan base is still the best in the world.

  4. Jim S. says:

    So, what was the breakout? Any way to gauge Steelers % support vs. Vikings? I assume it was in the 90/10 range. I always feel like the NFL and its media partners do all they can to make it appear as though teams like the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Pats are on a par with the Steelers in terms of popularity. We know the truth. It isn’t even close – not even in a year when the team may be in shambles. The Steelers are probably the most popular NFL team anywhere in the world.

    DK: Assuming you mean breakdown, there was a good number of Vikings fans there. I’d have a hard time coming up with a percentage, but it wasn’t 90-10.

  5. Eric says:

    St. Marys, PA

  6. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    London is a great, great city and it looks like a good time is being had by all.
    It’s just a real shame the Steelers are so bad this year.
    I just can’t see them beating anyone at this time.
    I have watched the good, so I will endure the bad for loyalty sake.
    Better days down the road…..

  7. Adam Perry says:

    Steelers losing, Pirates winning. It’s a bizarro world. Couldn’t help but write a little something about what it means to know I’ll be watching the playoff game Tuesday with my daughter, who is 3. Definitely wondered at times whether she’d see a playoff game hosted in Pittsburgh in her lifetime.

    http://adamperrywrites.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/me-sidney-and-the-pirates-in-the-playoffs/

  8. tomp says:

    Steelers seem to be a pretty loose bunch of guys.

    Maybe that is one of the reasons, they are one of the WORST teams, in the NFL this season.

    They should win on sunday, but their opponent might just be THE 2nd worst team in the NFL.
    How can the NFL market this game?, with a straight face?.
    The steelers have 4 and 12 written all over them!.

  9. Ghost says:

    DK caught on camera in London Town:

  10. kr70 says:

    I didn’t think he wore a tie

  11. Drew71 says:

    I didn’t know he was that tall.

  12. Jim S. says:

    Thanks. I don’t see much purple in the crowd. Just a few people in a sea of black and gold. Maybe its just the perspetive from that shot.

  13. Jim S. says:

    I know the NFL talks about expanding to London. They might “urge” Jacksonville to relocate there in the next 10 years since that team now has an international-minded coach with ties to the UK. But, I just think there are inherent problems that can’t be easily overcome. Almost every single player in the NFL is from the US, and England is a long way away. It is a different continent, different culture, and that is a big sacrifice for people to make. When companies look for people to go live in an international city, they often have to open it up to a large pool of people from the US who want to relocate there. If they just tell 50 people they are moving to London next year, a very large % would say no thanks and quit. I worked for a company whose home office moved from LA to Nashville and maybe 20% agreed to the move. And that was a move from one US city to another.

    Companies usually have a ready supply of people who have stated in advance that they want to live abroad to choose from in such decisions. I don’t know how easy that will be to tell a bunch of 20-35 year old men they have to go live in London. This will bring tons of issues just from the personal side – not to mention all of the jet lag issues they face going back and forth. Will they play 4 home games in a row, then come to the US for an entire month, then do the same thing in the 2nd half of the year? These are huge issues. This can’t be just a gimmick. These are players’ careers and lives we are talking about. Lots of luck getting it past the players’ union. Or, maybe Goodell will figure out a way to move London closer to NYC.

    The NBA has a much higher % of Europeans on its rosters already. They could potentially field a team with no American born players, if need be. In fact, they probably want more of a local roster for them to place a team in Europe.

  14. Jim S. says:

    Meant Jacksonville has an international-minded owner, not coach.

  15. Dan says:

    Lewiston, NY

  16. Drew71 says:

    The Pirates earned home field for the wild card playoff game.

    Just thought I’d mention it because, well, you know.

  17. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, I think that’s what the Ambassador was smiling about.

  18. Brandie says:

    Greetings and Welcome Eric and Dan.

  19. Thundercrack says:

    I think that the ambassador is kissed that he missed the arrival of the giant rubber ducky

  20. Thundercrack says:

    ‘pissed’

  21. BreakTheStreak says:

    Funny, the Steeler game isn’t even being shown on tv in the New York City metro area. I guess the NFL’s push to market the NFL’s marquee team only matters in Europe and not the States.

  22. Wild Bill says:

    Adams looks helpless against Jared Allen.

  23. Brandie says:

    Personally, I like kissed.

    Smooches!

  24. Ben says:

    Wyckoff, NJ

 
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