It’s not just Friday, it’s Steelers Friday.
The Courthouse Courtyard was a sea of black and gold Friday as enthusiastic Steelers fan gathered for a playoff rally. The team will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a last-chance wild card bid at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he sensed the energy all over town.
“It’s not exactly Steeler weather, but tomorrow it’s going to be, when we come back with a victory,” he said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley agreed this week that the losing team's leader will send a care package of his city’s most iconic food to the winning team’s mayor. Also, the losing city’s mayor must wear the winning team’s jersey while serving a meal to people in need.
Win or lose, Peduto said he’d serve a meal at Light of Life Rescue Mission on Jan. 13.
He told fans at the rally to send bad vibes to the Bengals.
“If we point this way, that’s west. And I want my buddy John Cranley, the mayor of Cincinnati, to get a nice terrible towel wish,” Peduto said. “Wave your towels, point them west and let them know the Steeler Nation is coming to invade Cincinnati!”
Former Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke joined revelers Downtown. He said the road to the Steelers’ 2006 Super Bowl also began in Cincinnati, and he thinks it could again for Super Bowl 50.
“They’ve been talking like they’re going to take it to us this time,” Hoke said. “Let me tell you something, those ‘Bungles’ have no clue. I’ve been down in that South Side [practice facility] and watching those guys practice and they’re ready to go down there and whoop those suckers on their turf.”
Hoke said there is no question that the Steelers have a good shot at winning. He admits the Steelers made some “critical mistakes” in the fourth quarter of the Nov. 1 game against the Bengals, but in the more recent game against Cincinnati on Dec. 13, the Steelers beat them “handily.”
“I have no doubt that we’re going to win,” said Donna Haus of Zelienople. She said she is going to her son’s house to tailgate with friends and watch the game.
Savannah Garber, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, said a rally like Friday’s is one of the perks of going to a school in the Steel City.
“I’m not a fan of getting cocky, but I definitely think that the Steelers have the skill to win tomorrow’s game,” she said.