One thing that didn't surprise any of the Steelers players or coaches during their Super Bowl run and celebration was the support they received from their fans.
The entire organization appreciates the support the fans have given them this season and the following comments from throughout the Super Bowl are proof of what the fans mean to the team.
They Said It: About Steelers Fans
Head Coach Mike Tomlin on if he has been around long enough to appreciate the Steelers fans: "When you are in other organizations, and I've been in other organizations in this league, you recognize that it's different and you respect it. Until you are a part of it, you have no idea the depths of it. It's generational, it's passed down from father to son, and it's unbelievable. I don't know if I can use words to eloquently describe the relationships that this organization has with Steeler nation. I know that the more I get to understand it, the more Steeler nation drives me. I want to give them something to be excited about. I want to perform for them. I want to win for them because they are that special."
Wide receiver Hines Ward on Steelers fans: * "They go hand-in-hand. It's a blue-collar town. They go out and work hard. It's hard to get tickets in the city of Pittsburgh and at Heinz field. The tickets are passed down from generation to generation. When you're born you come out with a 'terrible towel' in your hand. It's a love between the city and their team. When the Super Bowl is over with, they can't wait until training camp. They look forward to who we're going to draft, who's going to be the next up- and-coming guy. You appreciate that. Playing there, this is my 11th year. I'm pretty sure if I'm ever hungry I can knock on somebody's door and they'll welcome me with open arms and I can eat good anytime. It's a close-knit family. It's a great family city. We're role models in our communities and they support us so much."
Linebacker James Farrior on the support from the fans in Pittsburgh:
"The fans are great. They've always been great. They always support the Steelers win or lose and to have that support is really a good feeling and having the whole city behind you is a really good feeling. They want us to win just as bad as we do."
Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney on:
Why the city of Pittsburgh is so devoted to the Steelers:
"Well there are really a lot of reasons. Success has had something to do with it. They have had difficult times in Pittsburgh and we sort of filled the void- they could have something for their pride. That has something to do with it. You know they moved. Everybody sees that when we go to Arizona there are a billion Steeler fans out there. So it is one of those things."
His appreciation of Steelers fans:
"Our fans are great. Our fans are tremendous fans. We had a pep rally before we came down here, and it was terrific. It's all young people, so you can see that the next generation is going to be there too. It was just great. I talked with many of them, and they look at Ben [Roethlisberger] and Hines [Ward] and all these great players that we have and they relate to them so it is a terrific thing."
Offensive tackle Trai Essex on Steelers fans:*
"They are second to none. I think that everybody knows that the Steelers travel amazingly well. The fan base is everywhere. I've never been somewhere in the United States without meeting somebody from Pittsburgh. It's crazy. I think they take their Steeler Nation with them."
Troops show their support
Members of the United Methodist Church in Harrison City, Pa on a mission in Africa