But I can’t seem to connect the dots on the Steelers’ fan base. Pittsburgh’s population is just a little more than 300,000, and it has regional competitors for fans in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Washington, and Baltimore. I’d like to attribute it to the team’s massive success in the 1970s just as the steel industry failed, displacing fans across the country… but that simply doesn’t account for the numerous Steelers bars in every American city. ...
... It almost seems to be a pervasive, debilitating personality trait, in which seemingly intelligent people find ways to justify their fandom of a team they have little or no regional connection with, just because cheering for a team that tends to win more satisfies some aspect of their malformed personalities.
I'm one of those malformed personalities. Some Pittsburgh natives refer to us as bandwagon Steeler fans. That I insist on adding an "s" to "Steeler" only further reduces my Yinzer cred. There are two "Steeler" Nations, which is why I prefer to write "Steelers Nation." There are the true Pittsburgh-based fans and there are the products of the 70s dynasty, particular the people who were born in a city or region without a franchise.
I've noticed that some bandwagon fans, even those who have never glimpsed the Three Rivers, have an attachment to Pittsburgh the city. Thus, the Burgh Diaspora can include the even bigger Steelers Diaspora. As I advance the R2P project, I will further explore this important connection.