PITTSBURGH – Casey Hampton can hear the chant. It never fails.
Regardless of the venue. Regardless of the weather. Regardless of the circumstances. Preseason or the Super Bowl.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers are leading late in the fourth quarter, the sound of “Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!” while thousands of Terrible Towels twirl will reverberate inside the veteran nose tackle’s helmet.
“Our fans are going to stay until the end,” said Hampton, who has watched the phenomenon since his rookie year in 2001. “They’re going to ride with us. A lot of times, especially when you’re winning at the end, when the home fans clear out they’ll still be there doing their thing.”
It happened Sunday during Pittsburgh’s 24-20 road victory over the defending Super Bowl-champion Giants. At a stadium typically swathed in blue, the roar for the Steelers grew so loud at one point quarterback Ben Roethlisberger actually had to put his hands up to ask for quiet.
The explosion in the secondary ticket market means for teams like the Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, homefield advantage isn’t limited to home games.
The Terrible Towels mean the support that greets the Steelers on the road is a little more visible than most, but Pittsburgh isn’t the hardest road ticket in the league, according to brokerage site Stubhub.
Even with the Cowboys stumbling to a 3-5 start, watching them on the road will cost about $196 a ticket if you go through Stubhub, spokesman Joellen Ferrer said. The Steelers are the second-most expensive at $190.
The Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers and Bears are the five toughest road tickets in the NFL for Stubhub customers.
All that selling can have a significant impact on the game. When the Denver Broncos stormed past San Diego last month, the crowd at Qualcomm Stadium began roaring “defense” when the hometown Chargers tried to mount a late rally.
“It’s impressive because there’s a select few teams in the NFL that have that,” Denver tight end Jacob Tamme said.
Hampton knows a sea of waving yellow hand towels await the Steelers when they travel to Cleveland in a few weeks.
“You know they’re gonna be there,” Hampton said. “I can’t explain it. It’s just always been that way. And you know, we’ll take it.”