This weeks NFL playoff games lined up perfectly to give us the opportunity to make wishes come true at both the Eagles & Steelers games.  However, the weather made the mission a bit of a challenge…

My dad headed out on Friday morning & planned to host warriors at the Columbus Blue Jackets game Friday evening on his way to Philly.  The bus traveled through a snow storm all the way to Columbus.  Although a little late, thankfully, the bus arrived safely.  The warriors had a great time at the Blue Jackets game Friday evening.

Immediately following the game, my dad headed back to the bus station to catch his 12:55 overnight bus to Philadelphia.  Unfortunately, he was greeted with a cot…  his bus had been cancelled & he had no way of getting to the city of brotherly love before kickoff Saturday afternoon.

So we had to call an audible.  He got a “great night sleep” at the bus station and woke up early to notify the warriors in Philadelphia that he was not going to make it.  We forwarded them the tickets via email & they still got to enjoy the exciting 15-10 win over the Falcons to advance to the NFC championship game!

Meanwhile, my dad was making plans to get to pittsburgh.  He was refunded for his original ticket & was able to transfer his “Philly to Pittsburgh” ticket for a “Columbus to Pittsburgh” ticket.  He arrived in the steel city Saturday evening and spent his 2nd night in a row at a bus station.

My dad was up early Sunday morning to plan for a big day!  We planned to kick off making Wishes come true at the steelers Playoff game & then make his way across town to host warriors at the Pittsburgh Penguins game.  2 games in 1 day!

He met up with the warriors for lunch courtesy of Jerome Bettis’ grille before the game.  The Jerome Bettis Grille is one of the most coveted restaurants in Pittsburgh on Gameday for obvious reasons.  It’s located just steps from Heinz field & serves some delicious food!  We cannot thank them enough for their continued support throughout the years!

Today we had the honor of hosting Marine SSGT Willis Jones & Army SGT Glenn Bell.  SSGT Willis is from California.  He happened to be in Michigan visiting family when my dad called him to invite him to be our guest at the game.  His wife flew all the way from California to meet up with him for the experience!  SGT Bell & his family live in Punta Gorda Florida.  They rented a car and drove 16 hours to be a part of this experience!  Needless to say, these are some for hard Steelers fans!

My dad enjoyed getting to know everyone over lunch.  He learned that both warriors have been life long steelers fans & neither one of them had ever been to a game! Both were excited for the opportunity to see their first ever game & hoped to see the Steelers advance to the AFC championship game.

Before heading to the stadium, my dad presented the warriors with new Steelers caps courtesy of New Era & surprised them with front row tickets in the upper deck!

SGT Bell’s wife made a last minute decision to give up her ticket to her father in law.  Being from Florida, she may have underestimated how cold it was going to be in Pittsburgh…  se ended up watching the game in the warmth of grandmas house with their 7 year old just a few miles away.

As the group walked over to Heinz Field in the frigid cold, they stopped to get some pictures in front of the stadium and the Immaculate Reception statue.

My dad had no intention of going to the game with the warriors, but he found a ticket on the ground as he was escorting them to the stadium.  Tough to pass up a free ticket!

Unfortunately, the game did not start well for the Steelers.  They quickly fell behind the Jaguars 21-0!  It was disappointing especially for 2 huge fans that traveled so far to be there.

Steelers nation was stunned.  With their “Terrible Towels put away, an eerily quiet crowd sat in silence trying to figure out what was going on.  But the steelers were not about to give up.  With one of the best players in the NFL on their side, they got the crowd back into the game & only trailed 28-27 heading into the 4th quarter.

The Jaguars and steelers went back and forth trading touchdowns twice in the 4th.  Trailing by 7 with just over 2 minutes in the game, the steelers made a questionable decision & opted to try an onside kick which ended up setting up a Jaguars field goal.

The Steelers did their best to comeback and scored one final TD, but came up short in the end, losing by the score of 45-42.  And believe it or not, the Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell predicted the final score!  Last week after their low scoring win over the Bills, he said  “it doesn’t matter if it is 2-0 or 45-42, we are gonna pull it out.”

Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger, passed for 5 touchdowns and 500 yards an accomplishment that you may never see again in a losing effort…

Despite the loss, the warriors got to see an entertaining game & enjoyed their first ever Pittsburgh Steelers experience!

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Samantha at the Bettis Grille 36 for the delicious pregame meal & for their continued support over the years.  We also want to thank New Era Caps for providing Steelers caps to the warriors & Morris at the Marriott City Center for providing accommodations for the Jones’

   

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we wank to thank  the warriors, Marine SSGT Willis Jones and Army Sgt Glenn Bell for their service to our country!

Immediately after the game, My dad thanked the warriors one last time & made his way across town on the T train to meet up with the warriors to host them at the Penguins game! Stay tuned for more details!