No room in the house? Then fill up the barn with Steelers items

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Some guys have their basements and some guys have their pouting sheds where they go to be alone.
Fred Murff has the Steeler Barn.
“I don’t think my wife wanted me to have a room in the house,” Murff said. “This is the next-best thing.”
A lot of men might argue that the barn is far better than a cramped, one-room retreat stashed away in a cold, damp basement.
Murff’s Steeler Barn is a shrine to the Pittsburgh Steelers. From the life-size cutout of Jerome Bettis on one wall to the Jack Lambert painting on another, the barn is 640 square feet of all things Steelers.
It has a sign reading “Steelers Country” and a framed, autographed Ben Roethlisberger jersey situated above the television. Also framed is “Terrible Towel,” one of the Steeler trademarks.
The TV may be capable of picking up other channels, but, on any given day, visitors are sure to find either the NFL Network or a rebroadcast of a Steelers game airing.
Beneath the barn lives Murff’s Great Dane, Ben, named for the Steeler quarterback.
Beginning this afternoon and continuing well into the evening, Murff is hosting a Super Bowl party as his beloved Steelers take on the Arizona Cardinals. If the Steelers win, they’ll be the first team in the history of the NFL to have won six Super Bowls.
Murff said he and his wife, Farrah, have invited about 10 couples and their children to the Steeler Barn, located beside their house, off Brown Road not far from Millbridge Elementary School.
They’ll have a bonfire outside where they’ll be roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
Murff said guests will be welcome inside the barn to watch the game, but … well, there are stipulations.
“I hope everyone will be kind of quiet,” he admitted.
After all, concentrating on the Steelers in the Super Bowl is a demanding undertaking.
The Steeler Barn and the house where Murff and his wife live are on property that belonged to his grandparents. Murff said that not too many years ago, the old feed barn had fallen into a sad state of disrepair.
The roof was virtually nonexistent. Rain and other elements had open access to the barn, which is set on poles and situated off the ground.
“It was full of weeds and bird (excrement),” Murff said of the barn.
There was talk of tearing it down, but Murff examined the structure and realized it was structurally sound. So, despite having never before tackled such a project, he set about remodeling the barn, turning it into a relatively plush hangout, complete with electricity, heat, air conditioning, a kitchen and bathroom.
The 36-inch television comes with surround-sound, a prerequisite, of course, for watching the Super Bowl.
The Steeler Barn took about 10 months to complete, with the work largely finished last May.
Murff and his wife traveled to Pittsburgh last Sept. 29 to see the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens in a Monday Night Football contest. The Steelers won 23-20 in overtime.
On the flight back to Charlotte, Murff traveled with Kevin Greene, a former linebacker for the Steelers and Carolina Panthers.
Murff said he became a Steelers fan back in the ’70s, when Terry Bradshaw was Pittsburgh’s quarterback and Franco Harris was running over would-be tacklers. Lambert was the team’s defensive mainstay.
“I always thought I was the biggest Steelers fan in Rowan County,” Murff said.
He and his wife have a 6-year-old son, Bryson, who may one day surpass his father in that category.
Bryson recently noted that: “When I turn 10, I get to go to the Super Bowl.”
Maybe so, but probably only if the Steelers are playing.