All week leading up the game, there were signs that the Steelers would have a distinct crowd advantage at Raymond James Stadium, and that became a reality Sunday. The Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans didn't disappoint, dominating the atmosphere of the game from start to finish. That wasn't a shock to Pittsburgh players, who not only saw it coming but expected it.
The Steelers, of course, have been notorious throughout their history for having a rabid fan base, and that was on display earlier this season. Pittsburgh fans nearly stole the show during a Monday night game in Week 9 at Washington, waving Terrible Towels in the lower bowl of FedEx Field in a nationally televised game. Those fans were highly visible throughout Tampa during Super Bowl week.
The same held true in parking lots around the stadium before the game. The NFL Experience and NFL tailgate party also shared the same feel. Many fans could only smile when asked if the game already was beginning to have an atmosphere reminiscent of Heinz Field prior to kickoff.
The players took notice of the fact throughout the game.
Said guard Chris Kemoeatu: "Steeler Nation does a really good job of traveling with us -- everyone knows that. We couldn't have done it without them. ... Even though we were down, true Steelers fans are always there to have our backs. It's like that almost everywhere we go."