On Monday night, Steelers owner Dan Rooney was a guest at the "Yes We Did Celebration" in advance of President Obama's inauguration. He didn't come empty-handed. Rooney, who was a vocal supporter during the campaign, brought a gift for the soon-to-be Commander-in-Chief, a game ball from the AFC Championship Game.
The President will likely cherish the memento. While on the campaign trail, he made several mentions of his childhood love for the Steelers. Without a team in his native Hawaii, President Obama was forced to look elsewhere for a favorite franchise. He settled on the Steelers, a move that paid him back when Pittsburgh beat the Redskins on Monday Night Football the night before the election. History holds that if the Redskins win their final game before an election, the Republican candidate wins the White House, so President Obama owes Mike Tomlin a debt of gratitude.
With all of the major issues facing the president in his first two weeks on the job, it's unlikely that Tomlin will be getting a call from the Oval Office to suggest a play for the game. It wouldn't be the first time it happened, however. President Nixon asked Redskins coach George Allen to run a reverse during a playoff game with the 49ers in 1971. The play worked as well for the 'Skins as Watergate did for Nixon.
Rooting interest won't keep the President from giving a call to Kurt Warner or Larry Fitzgerald in the Cardinals locker room if they come out on top a week from Sunday, of course. Even if they come from the home state of his vanquished Republican rival John McCain, President Obama will surely give them their due.
Still, it can't hurt the Steelers chances to have the nation's First Fan on their side.