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Post-game riots are wasteful, pointless no matter Super Bowl outcome

Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor

For the third time in six years, Pittsburgh’s going to the Super Bowl. Even though football fans across the region are eagerly gearing up for the Steelers’ big day this Sunday with the Green Bay Packers, we greet the news with some trepidation. The aftermath of Pittsburgh’s last few appearances in the championship game has convinced us that we can end up with too much of a good thing.

Don’t get us wrong: There’s nothing wrong with having pride in the home team. Whether it’s “one for the thumb,” a trip to “Sixburgh,” or “Stairway to Seven,” we defend everyone’s right to wave the Terrible Towel and watch the Steelers in action Sunday evening. Call over a few friends and order pizza and chicken wings. Watch the game at your favorite neighborhood bar. And after the final whistle blows and the coach has been doused with Gatorade, celebrate (or mourn) responsibly.

Excitement over expected post-game riots is already buzzing around campus, and it is clear that — win or lose — rabid Steelers fans and go-with-the-flow types alike will be out in the streets making their joy or disappointment known to the world via criminal property damage. When the Steelers won the 2006 Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks, rioters across the city overturned cars, uprooted street signs, and burned the awning of a business in Oakland. Riots after Pittsburgh’s 2009 victory over the Arizona Cardinals led to $150,000 in damage, including numerous small fires, broken windows, and a dismantled bus shelter.

These types of actions are pointless and wasteful. Not only are smashing windows and ripping down signs futile ways to express your feelings about the local sports team, it also leaves hard-up city coffers and innocent local business owners footing the clean-up bill. Students should know as well as anyone how desperate the city of Pittsburgh is for money: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl proposed the infamous city tuition tax barely a year ago. In the private sector, recent news has suggested that the economy is beginning to improve, but it is far from being back on its feet again.

Finally, participating in a riot just because others are is a flimsy excuse. Local laws and standards of responsibility do not change because of a football victory, and there are many less destructive ways for Steelers fans to express their excitement.

We hope that some awareness of these facts, and a respect for other people’s property, follows the crowds out into the streets of Oakland Sunday night. Being home of the seven-time Super Bowl champions would be a great morale boost for Pittsburgh, but students who head outside after Sunday’s game should make sure they don’t cause headaches for city administrators or business owners.