AFC Champs and an Unexpected Surprise!

I intended to make this short, but I want to remember it ALL, so just bear with my rambling and hear the excitement in my voice growing as it goes on :)...

Well, The Man and I knew we were looking forward to a great day from the time we decided to spend the day in Pittsburgh yesterday. We just had no idea how great it was going to be. Ok, so The Man has to live a bit vicariously through me, but I think he's ok with that. Anyway, our day....

We woke up to a snowy day, but had plans to head north to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship Game. After a brief discussion, we decided that we were going - regardless of weather. Tickets to the game were out of the question - $200 a piece, face value, for way way in the upper deck, on the corner of the endzone, in the COLD - so we were meeting up with friends to soak in the atmosphere and watch the game at a restaurant a bar in Pittsburgh. Hey, what would football be without beer?

And speaking of beer, we started out at a place called Fat Heads Saloon. They had over 40 beers on tap, wings, fried pierogies, and more - what's not to love? Well, $5 per draft, just to start...and NO specials. Hmmm, this day is going to get very expensive.

So, my friend Stacy and I head out in search of a place her hubby assures us is on the same block called The Locker Room. He even gives us the building number. We head down the block. There's the #, but no Locker Room. Hmmm. Instead, we see a place called South Side 86. We check it out. Quiet inside, but hey, it's only 1:45 and kick-off isn't until 6:30. Oh yea, and beer? $2 domestic bottles - ALL day. (A side note, in West Virginia you can't buy Yuengling, so I'm very excited to learn I can enjoy my favorite lager for $2!!!) So we grab a GREAT table, give the bartender a 'heads up' that we'll be there for a while and I head back to gather the men from Fat Heads.

Stacy's hubby was a bit skeptical about this "quiet" place, but after checking with the bartenders and other early-comers he was assured that the place would liven up. We pay our tab at Fat Heads and make our move.

As promised, the place starts to fill and by the NFC Championship Game at 3:30 it's pretty full. $2 beer, good food, good friends, and football...what a great Sunday afternoon!

Finally, the AFC Championship Game starts! Here we go Steelers, Here we go!

As we are enjoying the game, at some point, we learn that not only does the bar we are in carry Hines Ward's number in it's name - but is actually owned by him! We are very impressed with our find and make a plan to come back on Super Bowl Sunday (because OF COURSE the Steelers are going to win today).

The Steelers are, of course, winners and crowned AFC Champs! Excited? Just a bit....

(Our apologies to Hines for standing on his furniture. We do promise to try to be more polite for the Super Bowl).

So, have you figured out that we have not yet reached our unexpected surprise? Yes, it was nice knowing we were in Hines Ward's bar and all, but it gets better! As the game ends, there is an announcement that Hines is on his way - yep, Hines Ward, in the flesh, is coming. HERE. Where WE ARE. For real! They close the upstairs for The Official Hines Ward VIP After Party and a big, burly man positions himself at the bottom of the stairs. We notice that girls who have been in the bar with us all day getting to go up the steps...they have little ticket like things. We are saddened to learn from our waitress that the bartenders pass out these coveted tickets; they pass them out only to girls (the 4 guys with us were not helping our case); and the tickets are gone. sigh.

Well, if you know Stacy and me. We don't just take 'no' for an answer. We want something, we go after it. So, we send The Man to ask the bartender for a sharpie and try to snap some pics of Hines as he comes in and heads up stairs, no great pics and we really didn't need that sharpie :(. But we're not quitters, so we make our way over to Mr. Big Burly Man. Surely, the fact that we have been here since 1:30 will mean something. Surely, the fact that we leave the guys at the table will give us a better chance....

Seriously, the next thing I remember is being at the top of the stairs, walking into The Official Hines Ward VIP After Party!!!!!!! Armed only with 2 cameras and a sharpie (no money for a drink, no cell phones to let the guys know what we are up to) we do our best to not look like fools, as we are SO excited!!!

I mentioned The Man will have to live a bit vicariously through me? Yep - photos with Hines!!!

And that Sharpie? That jersey I'm wearing? It's The Man's. It now has Hines Ward signed on the 8 on the back. The Man can have his jersey back after The Super Bowl...because I am just a bit superstitious.

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