It’s not an official day off work.
But it is always a Sunday, so the Super Bowl is as close to an American holiday as any other. And Steelers fans hoping for ring number seven watched from the sidelines this year.
Even though the weather wasn’t pretty – and there was little incentive for Steeler Nation to be glued to the tube – the “regular” crowd made local sports eateries and bars their seat for the big game.
There was plenty of appetizers, black-and-gold jerseys galore and even some father/son bonding.
At Bigdogz Grill along Bedford Street in Stonycreek Township, Jim and Tyler Hughes settled in over drinks and food to engage in that historic pastime. In fact, they’ve done it every Super Bowl Sunday for the last five years.
Jim is from Mayfield Heights, Ohio, near Cleveland – maybe the “Brownie the Elf” patch on his hoodie is a giveaway. He makes a weekly Bigdogz visit to watch the Browns games. His teenage son, Tyler, likes to join him from time to time, but there’s just one problem.
“He’s a Steelers fan, unfortunately,” Jim said.
Jim came to the area in 1983 – arguably the best time for Browns fans to leave – and a piece of his heart still shivers on the iced-over Lake Erie. The Browns’ career of heartbreak aside, his rivalry with his son keeps the game interesting.
“We get very competitive,” Tyler said.
“We make fun of each other a lot, but it’s all just for fun.
“When the Browns beat the Steelers this year, he got me back for all the years I’ve been making fun of him,” he said. “We’re the only ones in the family that really watch football so this is our time to spend together and bond.”
This year, they’re laughing with each other as Tyler squirms over the 49ers’ potential of six Bowl rings, yet expectantly watches fresh-faced QB Colin Kaepernick.
“San Francisco’s interesting,” Jim said. “They’re young and Kaepernick is a fantastic quarterback. It’s nice to see somebody different, too.
“Coming from Cleveland, I’d be happy to see someone else have as many rings as the Steelers,” he said with a laugh.
JR’s Sports Den, along Oakland Avenue, set out a free buffet, just as it does every Steelers Sunday. When the play clock’s running, it’s easy to tell who’s rooting for San Francisco, or who just wants Baltimore to lose. One harsh reality of the sports bar business, however, is when the home team doesn’t make it all the way.
“I would love to have the Steelers in here,” said Clayton Shank, who’s been co-owner of the bar for more than 20 years. “You wouldn’t be able to move right now.”
JR’s did expect a halftime rush, however, and was set to serve an influx of patrons coming from private Super Bowl parties in the neighborhood.
At Woodside Bar & Grill along Highland Park Road, drink and food specials – as well as free Steelers swag giveaways – weren’t enough to entice fans to brave the steep and powdered white roads of the city’s Moxham neighborhood.
“(Turnout is) decent, but the weather kind of downed it a little bit,” said manager Jay Bean.
“It is better than last year.”
Even though the snow was piling up, there were no power outages to report – but the Superdome couldn’t say the same.
“At least that kept people here longer,” he said with a laugh.
Regardless of who’s in the game, the spectacle – or the commercials alone – are always worth the time.
Sure, the Steelers didn’t make it, but then again, think about how Browns fans – and Jim Hughes – feel.
“We’ll see,” he said coyly. “We’ll see. Every year I say, ‘this is gonna be the year.’ ”
It’s not an official day off work.
- Latest News
12 killed, 3 missing in avalanche on Everest
An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving three missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak.
Judge fills City Council vacancy
A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.
Lt. Gov. Cawley pushes jobs plan during Johnstown visit
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley got to see firsthand many of the training tools used by Hiram G. Andrews Center students on Thursday and took some time to promote a program called Jobs for All, part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s JOBS1st PA agenda.
VIDEO | Volunteers ‘blitz build’ replacement home for Upper Yoder man
One week ago, Joey Varmecky had almost nothing.
In October, a flue fire claimed his Swank Street home. That night, Varmecky, a deaf and partially blind man who doesn’t speak, showed up on the doorstep of his friend’s home. His feet were covered only by a pair of stockings.
Bill would help identify unclaimed remains of veterans
The cremated remains of an estimated 47,000 veterans are stored throughout the United States, sometimes in nothing more than nondescript metal canisters on shelves.
Lucky Seward man finds ticket to riches
People often play the lottery and dream about the things they would do if they won the big one.
That dream came true for Karl Kadi of Seward, who won $1 million on a $20 Max-A-Million scratch-off lottery ticket.
State police make another drug bust on turnpike
A Pittsburgh man was jailed Thursday after state police said they found about $120,000 in suspected heroin during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County.
Two brothers charged in beating at bar
Two Johnstown brothers were jailed Wednesday after police said they beat a man so badly he suffered a concussion and may end up blind in one eye.
Path of Flood entries due
Anyone interested in participating in Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon and 5K race will need to get in gear before the April 30 registration deadline.
Drilling fees should fund education, Democrats say
Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.
- More Latest News Headlines
- 12 killed, 3 missing in avalanche on Everest