The Broncos may have gotten the match-up they wanted on the field, but in the stands – it could be a different story.
Analysts say Steeler fans travel better than any other team in the NFL.
In years past, Steeler Nation has extended well beyond Pittsburgh. Steeler fans have gobbled up entire sections at opposing stadiums, and that’s a spectacle the Broncos are hoping doesn't repeat itself this weekend.
"How would you like to have to go silent count in your own stadium?” said one analyst.
“They kind of live and bleed black and yellow," said Michael Bortz, who moved to Denver 25 years ago, but still supports the Steelers after growing up in Pennsylvania.
Ten years ago in the AFC Championship game here in Denver, Steeler fans were said to have occupied nearly 35 percent of the seats at then Invesco Field.
Some players said the crowd noise was a factor in the Broncos loss.
“It was something John Lynch and Champ Bailey said they couldn’t believe,” said Ian St. Clair, blogger for the Mile High Report, the Broncos most followed blog with 2 million page views a month. “It caught them off guard.”
"Knowing what we know now – Pittsburgh fans travel pretty much better than any fan base in the country,” said St. Clair.
St. Clair implored those with tickets to refrain from selling to Steeler fans.
"If you do that, you should lose your fan card," he said. And St. Clair took it a step further. “And I think the Broncos should put something in place that if you sell your season tickets to Steeler fans, you should lose your season tickets.”
There are thousands of tickets for sale online. On StubHub alone, we found 8,000 for sale for this game. Prices range from about $190 to all the way up to $8,000, on the high end.
Bortz says this crazy following dates back decades, credited - in large part - to the Rooney family, owners of the Steelers, who are still beloved by many.
"They were a very modest family and really ensconced in the community,” Bortz said. “And that town just loves that team and they travel."
St. Clair says that should serve as a warning to Broncos Country, or it could look more like Steeler Nation at Sports Authority Field this Sunday.
"If you sell, you should sell it to fellow Broncos fans,” St. Clair said.