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The debate about greatness was over on Feb. 1, 2009, when you were just three months old. If you only knew how proud your father and generations of Pittsburghers were on that glorious day. When we celebrated, it wasn't just because of the record-breaking sixth championship ring. It was because, for the first time since Pittsburgh entered its third renaissance, our city's blue-collar pulse beat in tandem with the Black and Gold's.
It's time, young Steelerstahl (I'll explain later), that I coach you on what it means to have been born into the great Steeler Nation. It all started on Nov. 3 when you were only three days old, watching your first game with your uncles and grandpap from home. You were dressed from head to toe in black and gold, just like the rest of your family. There we were, three generations of Ravenstahls, three generations of Pittsburghers, carrying on the tradition of family, football and the Steelers.
From the time your uncles and I were old enough, we spent all football season running around the sidelines while Grandpap coached the grade school's jayvee team. As we tackled each other in the mud, we were doing more than learning the fundamentals of football. We were learning what it meant to be part of something great. We could barely contain our excitement when we were old enough to put on a uniform and become part of the team, and I know I will see that same excitement in you.
After playing quarterback and kicker in high school and kicking at Washington and Jefferson College, my football career ended, but my passion for the game only grew stronger. Before I tell you this next part, I want you to always be proud of your last name. We come from strong, German stock. Stahl even translates to "steel" in English. O.K., so as the Black and Gold fought to get that sixth ring, the Steelers faced the hated Ravens. Steeler Nation didn't think a mayor with Raven in his name would do the team any good. So for a couple of weeks our last name was actually changed to Steelerstahl. It was a fun thing to do. The fans loved it, the team won and soon the name swap became worldwide news.
You might be wondering how something so silly could become something so newsworthy. Well, son, Steeler Nation touches people all over the world. In southwestern Pennsylvania football is life. Birthday parties, weddings, funerals, you name it, will be scheduled to accommodate football; get used to it, Coop. Friday nights are dedicated to high school, Saturdays peewee and college, and Sundays it's all Steelers. In fact, on any given Sunday you're likely to see half a congregation decked out in Steelers gear for church. It's as much a part of our heritage as the hills, trees and bridges that create Pittsburgh's landscape.
In cities across the globe you can find members of this nation of Steelers. On Sundays in the fall and winter, Pittsburghers huddle together in parking lots tailgating, in living rooms cheering, in bars and restaurants eating pierogi and kielbasas and dreaming of another Super Bowl victory. So wherever this world takes you, you will always get to be part of Steeler Nation. It's a love affair and a lifetime commitment that we Steelers fans are proud to be part of.
Fatherhood is an endless sequence of surprises, and today I am so proud that I have the honor of handing you the tradition of Steelers football.