At halftime of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks a special moment took place.
As a part of the NFL’s 100th season celebration the Steelers ran a contest where fans could vote on the greatest play in Steelers history.
Don’t be surprised. That play of course was the ‘Immaculate Reception,’ when Franco Harris snagged the ball out of the air and took it in for a touchdown to beat the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 playoffs.
There was one fan, though, who was a little more excited than everyone else when the winning play was announced.
Sadler Slate, an 18-year old from Antioch, Tennessee, was on the field during the announcement, taking in all of the excitement from a unique perspective. The second part of the contest to vote on the play, was one lucky fan would win 2019 Steelers season tickets. Slate was that lucky fan.
“I have been telling everybody about it. I still can’t believe it,” said Slate. “I never thought I would win. I entered it for kicks. I had nothing to lose. When I got the call that day it was a shock. I was never that shocked. It didn’t process at first. I was like did I just win Steelers season tickets. People were telling me you are pulling my leg. I have been excited ever since. When they called about me coming to the home opener, I flipped. I was so excited. I am so happy about it.”
Slate was born and raised in Tennessee, but his love for the Steelers came from his mom’s best friend, Barbara Larkin, who he refers to as his aunt. Larkin has family in Pittsburgh, so she grew up a Steelers fan herself.
“She influenced me that way,” said Sadler. “I became a diehard Steelers fan, even more so than her. I fell in love with the team and the city. I have been there plenty of times. I love everything about it.
“I took her to this game. She is why I am a Steelers fan so I owe it to her. We talk about it all of the time. When I am watching a game I get really passionate, but she can almost be worse than me. She has told me stories about going to games at Three Rivers Stadium. I know she is going to love it.”
Slate admitted he might not be able to make it to every game since he is just embarking on his freshman year at Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, where he is studying music business, but he will be there when he can and will be sharing tickets with family when he can’t.
“It’s just unreal,” said Slate, who has only been to one game at Heinz Field so far. “It’s been like when you tell someone I have to remember it’s actually real and I won the tickets, I am getting to go to these games and this other stuff that is happening to me.
“I love this team. I love Big Ben (Roethlisberger). Every time I watch a game, and he walks on the field, I get a sense of relief or trust he is going to get the job done. When I watch him I know he is going to do something great, that he is a pro, and he is going to get the job done.
“I love JuJu (Smith-Schuster). Class act on and off the field. I am so excited to have him on the team. And James Conner, his life story is just amazing and doing as well as he did last year. It’s inspiration for anybody.”