Despite having two NFL teams of their own, Ohio is a HOTBED of Steelers fandom. Why?
A) As people flee the dying steel towns and coal mines of Western PA, what is the first place they are apt to run out of money and squat? Ohio. They bring their piss-yellow rags with them.
B) Roethlisberger is from Findlay, Ohio, which proudly declares itself "Flag City USA." At least that's what the signs say as I zip through it on the way to Columbus.
C) Remember, most Ohioans couldn't give a wolverine's shit about the NFL, at least compared to the beloved Buckeyes. To quote myself:
Also, in Columbus, people wear NFL jerseys as a statement of their Buckeye love, unlike normal humans who buy a jersey because they like that TEAM. I remember having a Shawn Springs jersey that I pretty much couldn't wear, simply because if people saw me wearing it around town they wouldn't even know I was a SEAHAWKS fan.
My wife didn't buy this until we went to the Seahawks/Browns game in Cleveland back in '01. I wore my new Hasselbeck jersey, and I was accosted and abused for 3 hours non-stop. More than once, my wife was explicitly spared... she was wearing my Springs jersey, and I heard a lot of "he's ok... He's a Buckeye!"
So you see a lot of Santonio Holmes Steelers jerseys out and about. I just assume they are black-hearted Yinzers, because once you don those colors, you've passed over the the dark side forever as far as I'm concerned.
D) The Browns and Bengals suck. Sure, if you're in Cincy or the Cleve, you'll see plenty of Browns or Bengals fans. Anywhere else in Ohio, Steelers fans probably outnumber Browns/Bengals fans combined. In Toledo, about an hour's drive from Detroit, Steelers fans probably outnumber all Lions, Browns and Bengals fans put together.
So, being back in Ohio, I do a lot of muttering of profanities under my breath and stealthy bird-flipping. Sometimes, though, you see or hear something that gives you hope... like the kid at Five Guys Burgers and Fries yesterday who was talking about getting burgers at Dick's, and turned out to be a Seahawks fan visiting relatives in Ohio... or this kid at one of Columbus' many gihungous malls, who was sporting a D-Jack jersey:
We might be vastly outnumbered, but The 12th Man has agents proudly serving and fighting deep behind enemy lines. Someday we will triumph over the Yinzer Menace.