The NFL season starts next week, and I realized a few days ago that I haven't fulfilled one of my offseason goals: buying a new Steelers jersey. My last jersey purchase was in 1996, when I bought a reversible home/away Greg Lloyd jersey. Lloyd retired a few years later. The Steelers had a couple down years in the early part of this decade, and I didn't want to risk buying a jersey with a name of a guy on the team who wouldn't be with the team the following season. But it's 2009 and the Steelers have won two championships in the past four years. I've worn a "Here We Go Steelers" long sleeved t-shirt for the past few playoff runs and while I'm usually a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" guy, in this case I think it's OK for me to trade up. I can always go back to the t-shirt for the playoffs.
The question is which player's jersey do I want? I grew up a Terry Bradshaw fan. While I can get a custom-made Bradshaw jersey, that would strain credulity. I'd like to be able to walk into a Steelers bar in the city and NOT have fans laugh at me. I'd like to stay away from the other offensive star players. I love Ben Roethlisberger, but #7 jerseys are plentiful and I don't want to be perceived as a bandwagon guy. The same goes for Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Willie Parker. On the defensive side, I'm tempted by Troy Polamalu's #43, but when I think of defense I think linebackers. So that leads me to James "Silverback" Harrison's #92. Harrison had the second most memorable play of last year's Super Bowl when he ran back a goal-line fumble 100 yards for a touchdown. Sure, he lost his mind in the second half and earned a costly penalty, but the Steelers won the game and the championship so all is forgiven. Plus, Harrison just signed a contract extension, so he's going to be with the team for a few more years. There's low risk and high reward in celebrating my team's recent championships with a #92 jersey.
Here's the real question: can I get away with paying $80 for a replica jersey? Or am I not considered a true fan unless I pay $275 for the authentic game-day jersey? I'm leaning toward the former. I bleed black and gold, but I'm not made of money.
We recommend a LaMarr Woodley jersey. And no, you're not less of a fan if you get the $80 replica. The Steelers are a blue-collar team, they don't expect their fans to be made of money, so no one is going to rag on you if you don't get the "official" one.
Woodley fits your desire to get a defensive guy, and he doesn't have an over-saturated jersey yet. Also, he's going into his 3rd year and is poised for a breakout year. Harrison just signed a contract but is already in his early 30s. On the other hand Woodley is still young and will be around for a long, long time.
This is our personal bias coming in here, but we're of the opinion that Woodley will have a better pro career than Harrison (which seems weird to say, but the dude is a monster, and we absolutely love him).
Personally, we love black jerseys, and since Woodley is such a badass, the black jersey is definitely superior to the white.
1) eBay for whatever you choose. I got my on-field quality Keisel for $100 2 years ago. That leads me to...
2) Get a Keisel jersey. Instant respect. He just signed an extension so it's a decent investment, he's awesome, he's underappreciated, he's hilarious, and number 99 is fantastic. (I also just saw a Kirkland jersey while out at lunch today. Looked GREAT.)
3) a friend bought Amos Zeroue's jersey his rookie year - during CAMP! - so don't worry, you can't eff it up as much as he did.
I bought replica jerseys of Kordell and Kendrell Bell. That didn't go very well. Therefore, I decided that I would no longer buy a jersey of a current player. For the past 4+ years, I have worn a Louis Lipps jersey purchased on eBay.
Harrison is a good choice!
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