Let's face it: The Steelers' Jan. 8 wild-card loss to the Denver Broncos was a tough blow. How could an 8-8 team with a freaky-for-Jesus quarterback deny us our playoff destiny — watching the Steelers get picked apart by the Patriots' Tom Brady next week?
So what's a Pittsburgher to do? What we've always done in the face of adversity — turn our backs on the present in admiration of the past. And now that we've got some money we won't be spending on beer next week, we've got a little disposable income with which to indulge ourselves.
So City Paper went to eBay hours after the Steelers loss, to see what deals we could find. All prices in parentheses reflect the most recent bid or current asking price; prices may be subject to change — though for at least for a couple days, Steelers memorabilia is probably going to be a buyer's market.
Some of the deals that jumped out at us:
Item #230728418640: LIMAS SWEED SIGNED NFL FOOTBALL ($39.99)
That's right: A genuine Wilson football signed by Limas Sweed, one of the bigger disappointments in the Steelers receiving corps. This item is priced to move at $39.99, and the seller assures us that the ball is signed "in permanent-pain pen." It looks to be in mint condition; we assume it was never handled, and only dropped once.
Item #360422466206: JEROME BETTIS 8X10 PHOTO STEELERS COLTS "THE FUMBLE" ($5.99)
Color photo of the running back coughing up the ball at the 2-yard-line during the 2006 playoff against the Indianapolis Colts. If you have a heart condition, please consult a doctor before using.
Item #190623545307: STEELERS THREE RIVERS STADIUM TURF ($12)
A 3-by-3-foot section of the artificial turf that made up the football playing surface at Three Rivers. This seller had two to begin with, and has sold one. Collect all 921,600 and recreate the field yourself!
Item #110802989477: VINTAGE 1981 STEELERS PENNANT JOE GREEN "ONE FOR THE THUMB" ($80)
If you're of a certain age, this banner taught you the meaning of the word "patience." The seller asserts that she "bought this for a now ex-boyfriend for Christmas!" Maybe she got tired of waiting for a ring as well?
Item #320823732095: 9 VINTAGE PITTSBURGH STEELER RB TRADING CARDS ($0.99)
Sure, you'll find Jerome Bettis here. But there's also Barry Foster, Tim Worley, Amos Zereoue and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. "No visible wear," the seller assures us. If only the same could be said of more Steelers running backs.
Item #170757957964: 4 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Champions IX X XIII Placemats 1979 ($19.99)
These placemats feature photos of the Steelers' legendary 1970s-era offensive line. These days, the mats may offer more protection than the actual offensive line.
Item #140674611182: 40 LBS OF PGH. STEELERS MEMORABILIA – 1980-2009 ($9.99)
Unopened championship commemorative cans of Coke, Heinz Ketchup and Iron City, plus commemorative postmarks, souvenir-edition copies of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Finally, a seller who markets sentimentality the way these companies do: by the pound.
Item #180788837589: KORDELL STEWART 12 CT LOT RIDDELL GAME GREATS ($19.99)
A plastic bust of one of the pre-Roethlisberger era's numerous quarterback busts. You probably know a fan who called for Stewart's head ... now you're in a position to provide it.
Item #260928214446: VINTAGE OLD PITTSBURGH STEELERS FRED ARBOGAST FISHING LURE BRADSHAW HARRIS KNOLL (sic) ($39.99)
Not sure why the ad for this lure, by the legendary Fred Arbogast, is headlined with the names of Noll, Bradshaw and Harris on it. Maybe it catches fish by bouncing in an unexpected direction off of someone else's lure?
Item #220926156883: PITTSBURGH STEELERS STEELY MCBEAM PLUSH FIGURE DOLL ($9.99)
Zero bids on this one so far, and there's an important lesson here: A thing has to go away before people can feel nostalgia for it.
Item #150731281964: STEELERS – 1ST AFC TITLE, 1ST SUPER BOWL – 12/30/1974 POST-GAZETTE NEWSPAPER ($9.99)
Now here's a period piece: The Steelers news actually has to share front-page space with an article about Gov. Milton Shapp's appointees. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
Item #250968035205: Denver Broncos Playoff vs Pittsburgh Steelers Tickets 01/08/12 ($200)
Wait, what? No, no. Too late. And too soon.