No surprise here, but Tom Corbett (seen above, in a Steelers.com photo at the AFC Championship game) is going to the Super Bowl. As the Patriot-News notes, the gov is paying for his own ticket, which is common for politicians. What isn't common is the access to those tickets -- besides the fraction of Steelers ticket holders who get them through a lottery system, the team holds back an unidentified number of seats to distribute to the connected.
Yes, they and the lottery winners have to pay the $800 face value for each seat, but in the insanely inflated world of Super Bowl ticket prices, where regular folks are paying between $2,100-$8,000 to get into the stadium, face value is actually a bargain.
We'll probably get more into politics/Super Bowl stuff through the week -- Dan Malloy is in Dallas as part of the PG's coverage team -- but if you're going to read only one story about football this week, please make it this terrific Sports Illustrated story by S.L. Price, called "The Heart of Football Beats in Aliquippa." It's a cauldron of economics, race, culture, history, and sweat that doesn't mention the Steelers a single time, but is pure Pittsburgh, and even has a quote from a certain professor Early Returns readers should know well:
It's not rare to hear someone declare Aliquippa dead too. The streets give off a postapocalyptic feel, at once simmering and still. You can't be sure that what you see is a mercilessly dismantled past or a nightmare vision of the future—a vivid preview of what can happen when a nation ships its manufacturing work, the kind that once offered blue-collar security, overseas.
The J&L mill, battered by cheap, inventive Japanese products and taken over by the Ohio-based LTV Corporation, began shutting down nearly 30 years ago, and closed for good in 2000. Pittsburgh has made a successful transition to the new economy, but "Aliquippa's in a weird place," says Pitt labor economist Chris Briem. "It's not the center of the region, it's not the city, it's not quite rural. What is the competitiveness of towns that used to have a reason for being—and don't anymore?"