Saturday, January 31, 2009

On Bowl's Eve, Bishops Booing Cardinals

As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to take on the Arizona Cardinals in tomorrow's Super Bowl XLIII, it's worth recalling that the Black and Gold will have no shortage of fans in high places... high-hat places, that is.

And these days, their number just keeps on growing. And not by bandwagon, either.

Sure, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence -- a native of the Burgh -- might be famous for decking out his Pats' Nation residence (above) in Steeler banners and Terrible Towels year-round, keeping a "shrine" in his office, and once crushing an 8-foot inflatable Patriot a hometown fan left on his porch... the freshly-retired Cardinal Adam Maida might never have parted with his season tickets despite being away from his hometown for a quarter-century... and Bishop David Zubik's homecoming as Pittsburgh's 12th ordinary might've seen the post-Mass celebrations move from St Paul's Cathedral to the city's major house of worship -- Heinz Field....

But all the way in Juneau, Alaska, yet another "devout" of the Nation said he could probably be heard "screaming back in Pittsburgh" a fortnight ago as the celebrated franchise picked up its seventh AFC championship.

The next morning, Juneau's Steeler Screamer -- Msgr Ed Burns -- was named its bishop.

Indeed, the line runs deep on the bench -- and thanks to the Burghers now holding key spots or still on the rise, it'll probably get longer still in the months and years ahead. That said, anyone thinking it ends with those born and bred along the Three Rivers would be guilty... of underreach.

After years of speculation over his football loyalties, in a pre-season interview while on book junket, no less than the shepherd of Broncos Country publicly admitted that he was "secretly still a Steelers fan."

Once a student at St Fidelis -- the now-closed Capuchin seminary behind the Steel Curtain -- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver explained that while he "shouldn’t be saying that publicly... I was there when they won all their Super Bowls, and it’s hard not to be attracted to that kind of spirit and energy."

Suffice it to say, here's to Number Six. In the meantime, party at Tobin's.