The Steelers are going to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh isn't going anywhere.
First, let's get past the terminology. Using Pittsburgh to refer to the Steelers is an example of the lesser type of synecdoche, where the whole of something is used to refer to a part of it. You might go further and suggest that using Pittsburgh to refer to the Steelers is a metonymy, but let us not mince words.
Second, let's be clear on where Pittsburgh is going.
The city is in receivership.
Toledo (aka Frog City) has a bigger population.
Buffalo has a busier airport.
Pittsburgh's air is ranked among the nation's worst.
The Steelers are a business. An entertainment business. Just like the Civic Light Opera or the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. It's a stage, not a field. (edit)
For some reason, we teach our children to identify with this Steelers business in a way that they never identify with Bayer, Alcoa, Westinghouse, or any outfit that might someday employ them. Our schools have days when students wear Black And Gold™ and we indoctrinate them so they grow up to be Steelers fans, and - unless they move away to find work - our children grow up to support the taxes, subsidies, and give-aways that our politicians provide to this business. Good little Steelers fans!
There is very little new under the sun, and this maneuver isn't new either. Juvenal used the phrase bread and circus to refer to the Roman practice of providing welfare and entertainment as a means of gaining political power through populism.
...Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.
(Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81) (credit)
Juvenal also said, "It is hard NOT to write satire", when speaking of the Rome of his day. When the Boy Mayor changes his name to SteelersStahl, how can we see ourselves as somehow different from other decadent, frivilous societies?
Pittsburgh's population is half that of 1950.
Young people continue to leave to find work.
Pittsburgh has no semi-unique economic niche.
Downtown is abandoned and shut down at night.
The insane multitude of interlocking and overlapping municipalities, each well-supplied with nepotism, corruption, and incompetence makes regional progress a fantasy. This is the exact situation Micheal Heller calls The Tragedy of the Anti-Commons and is the topic of his recent book, The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives. (edit)
The short list above consists of the local items.
We are losing young Americans each day in war.
The financial sector is tanking.
Our automotive and other manufacturing businesses are failing.
We hand Senate seats out as perks of celebrity or family.
Businesses abandon commitments in bankruptcy and expect public subsidy.
We're about to
Don't pay attention to all that boring stuff.
Sing along: Here we go Steelers, Here we go!