They aren’t Saying HEEEEEEEATH!

For 11 years ending in the 2015 season, Heath Miller was one of the most loved and productive tight ends in Steeler history. Standing at 6’5”, when he wasn’t making punishing blocks, he was making big plays down field with his hands. Each time he caught the ball, he must have felt 10 feet tall as the crowd, home or away, would yell HEEEEEEEATH! Not since John Kuhn, was a cheer that identifiable for a player to hear his name being called.

In Miller’s last season, the Steelers drafted Jesse James, another tall tight end from Penn State. I’m not sure if it was his size or his color, but when Jesse was catching footballs during his rookie year, the crowd would still be yelling HEEEEEEEATH, until the game day announcer corrected them by saying Jesse James on the catch.

Being a season ticket holder, I have been to nearly every home game in Mike Tomlin’s tenure. When James was named the starter in 2016, I will admit, for the first 2 home games, the crowd was still yelling HEEEEEEEATH! Then something happened. The Steelers fans are not dumb, they are quick to learn and self correct. Even though the announcers, and even the players, still think the crowd is saying HEEEEEEEATH, they are not. By the 3rd home game in 2016, the crowd began saying JESSEEEEEEEEEE! Jesse James had earned his own chant, and though it is an homage to Heath before him, the chant is now solely Jesse’s

To further illustrate how this chant is not a fluke, the Steelers picked up another light skinned tight end Vance McDonald this season. When he’s caught the ball, no one says HEEEEEEEATH or even JESSEEEEEEEEEE. The fans in Pittsburgh do know the difference, and they cheer correctly with their hearts.

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