Thousands of Pittsburgh fans showed up Sunday in downtown – won’t call it uptown – Charlotte. They showed up, at restaurants, in parking lots and at Bank of America Stadium. The split wasn’t close to 50-50, of course, no matter what some tell you. But they were loud, and the Steelers gave them a reason to cheer.
Pittsburgh fans travel well, not just to Charlotte but to every stadium in the league. If Anchorage, Alaska, had a team, Steelers fans would show up. Although some Carolina supporters are angry about the presence of the visitors, it’s pretty simple. If you own a ticket, you can do with it anything you want. If Pittsburgh fans are willing to pay more than Carolina fans are, sell it to Pittsburgh fans. It’s not complicated, it’s not embarrassing and it’s not a big deal.
• Cam Newton opened Carolina’s first drive by completing passes of 18, 11 and 9 yards. After a 4-yard run by Jonathan Stewart, Newton completed another pass for 14. The drive stalled, the Panthers settled for a field goal and the offense was not heard from again until the Steelers had run up a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead.
• Pittsburgh’s radio network has outlets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and – Myrtle Beach.
• I tried something different Sunday. I left the press box before the game and sat for most of the first quarter with fans in Section 546. It’s different up there. At the concession stands, for example, you’re expected to pay. Also, fans in 546 have fun. The scoreboard, which we can see only a piece of from the press box, offers superb video. Had to go back to work but hated to leave.
• Didn’t watch the Sunday night broadcast. But I’m curious: How many times did Greg Hardy’s name come up? It’s a legitimate subject, obviously. It should have come up. But by midweek in Charlotte it felt less like Hardy than the Hardashians. When you throw a party, you focus on those who attend, not those who don’t. It’s time to move on.