Postcards from London: A Nation Abroad

Written by Dan Gigler on .

steel london fansOnly 3,700 miles to the Thunderbolt. LONDON -- You could follow the trail of Terrible Towels from Station Square to Trafalgar Square. 

From PIT to CLT to Heathrow, where a thick customs line was littered with evidence that the black and gold legions had crossed the pond: a college-aged girl in a Big Ben jersey, Steelers (and Pirates) ballcaps on heads, Terrible Towels tucked into back pockets, a half-dozen Steelers golf shirts (apparently the official dress-casual outfit of the "nation"), a lady still wearing her Steelers neck pillow, a guy with a t-shirt from a bar in Johnstown. 

As per procedure, the agent at Passport Control asked me what the purpose of my trip to the UK. 

"Going to the NFL game on Sunday," I said. 

He said that people had been arriving all week for the game and noted a distinctly "higher ratio of Pittsburgh supporters than the other team." 

How high? 

"About 200 to 1," he laughed.

And that sounds about right.

During an afternoon of abbreviated sightseeing, it seemed there were as many descended subjects of the Emperor Chaz around as of the hometown Royal Monarchy, with Steelers fans and Pittsburgh accents popping up around Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and of course ... Big Ben. 

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