Main Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers
Croke Park, Ireland.
Over 500 NFL fans packed into the Hogan Suite of Croke Park last Sunday evening, for the first ever Pittsburgh Steelers watch party in Ireland! Upon arrival, attendees were gifted a terrible towel each before heading up to the premium level which was resplendently decked out in black and gold for the occasion. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had been transported into Acrisure Stadium. Banners boldly proclaiming “You’re in Steelers Country” hung from the walls and even the scoreboard was lit up in honour of the event.
The concept was to recreate a Steelers gameday experience and guests were treated to authentic American tailgating style treats. There were plenty of drinks flowing as well!
Inside the venue, the game was being shown across several big screens, which is the only way football is meant to be watched. Festivities got underway around 5pm, with MC Dave McIntyre hosting a Q&A with a number of high profile Irish sports stars as well as two Steelers legends who made the trip over. Super Bowl winners Alan Faneca and Santonio Holmes were both in the house for the occasion, and recounted their own memorable moments – including one of the most famous touchdown catches in history! Fancea and Holmes were extremely generous with their time and seemed genuinely delighted to be part of the occasion, happily mingling with fans and posing for photos. The pair also partook in a special signing session before the game, where diehard Steelers supporters were able to immortalize the event with an autograph.
The standout highlight of the evening however, came halfway through the fourth quarter when the opening bars of Renegade by Styx rang out and the room became a sea of twirling terrible towels! A Steelers game tradition, Renegade is used as a rallying war cry and the fans in Ireland answered the call in style and in sync with those in the stadium. Alas, it wasn’t enough to inspire a comeback, and the Steelers fell to the Browns on a last second field goal. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot do justice to the excitement and atmosphere that was rife in the air. Something special was happening, and we were all simply thrilled to be a part of it. And despite the deflating defeat, everyone left on an absolute high having created memories that will last for a lifetime.
The Failte Steelers watch party was the first of its kind to take place on this side of the Atlantic, and was spearheaded by Daniel Rooney, the Steelers Director of Business Development & Strategy as part of their long term commitment to expanding Steeler Nation on the Emerald Isle. “The turnout by Steelers fans at our Watch Party was amazing,” said Dan. “Seeing so much black and gold show up to cheer on the team at Croke Park made for a special night. We can’t wait to be able to do more events like this with our fans in Ireland in the future.”
As a Steelers fan myself, I wholeheartedly echo Dan’s sentiment and I cannot wait to see what the Steelers have in store for Ireland next!