The Pittsburgh Steelers have been an iconic figure in American professional sports dating back to the 1970s, when the team won four Super Bowls in a six-year span. Their popularity has continued to grow throughout the last 40-plus years, so much so that you can even make the argument that the Steelers are a global brand now, especially with the strong fanbase in Mexico.
To no surprise, a new study by Betting.com found that the Steelers are the most well-represented NFL team outside of their home state, with two-thirds of Steelers fans based outside of Pennsylvania. Sixty-eight percent of Steelers fans live outside of the team’s home state, with only a third being from within Pennsylvania’s borders.
The second-highest concentration of support for the Black and Gold came from neighboring Ohio, with a share of 6.4%. Georgia came in at third place, hosting 6.32% of the Steelers’ fanbase. To find their data, Betting.com compiled over 1,000,000 tweets from NFL hashtags and analyzed the geotagged information to find out which teams got the highest percentage of support outside of their home states.
Betting.com’s finding make sense as the Steelers rapid fanbase has forced home teams to go on a silent count several times over the past few years. Most notably against the Chargers on the West Coast in 2015, 2019 and 2021, and against the Cardinals in Arizona in 2019.
The Philadelphia Eagles were also well-represented across the country, with just over 60 percent of Eagles fans based outside of Pennsylvania. The Eagles had the second-highest percentage of fans living outside of the team’s home state. Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys, also known as “America’s Team,” were not in the top-three. The New York Giants came in at No. 3, instead.
At the same time of the Super Steelers era of the 1970s, Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania were going through economic turmoil, as steel mills were closing and families were leaving the area, which plays a big part in why Steelers Nation is so spread out. The 1970s were also a boom for the NFL in regards to television, thanks to the creation of Monday Night Football. Teams were being exposed to outside of just their home TV markets. It also helped that the Steelers had legendary players such as “Mean” Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Donnie Shell, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. Other than the crisp black and gold uniforms, fans outside of the Pittsburgh-area connected with the blue-collar, hard-nosed, and winning identity of the Steelers. Due to these several factors, the Steelers were right up there with the Cowboys in terms of popularity when the 1970s concluded, and that hasn’t changed one bit over the past 40-plus years.
Steelers fans don’t travel well. They’re just everywhere.