Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Steelers

by | Oct 11, 2015 | Lloyd Brown, NFL | 0 comments

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Home of the Terrible Towel

One of the NFL’s oldest franchises is also one of the most successful, as far as wins and in the hearts of its fans. Owned by the Rooney family since 1933, the Pittsburgh Steelers are known for stability, community involvement and doing things the Steeler Way. This has resulted in six Super Bowl Championships, eight Super Bowl appearances and eight AFC conference championships. Since Chuck Noll was hired in 1969, the Steelers have had only two other coaches, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin… an unheard of level of continuity in the NFL. Twenty two Steelers have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including three coaches and three members of the Steelers’ ownership group. Despite having a later position in the first round of each draft, the Steelers have an enviable record of picking Pro Bowlers on an annual basis. This consistency and stability have led the Steelers to having one of the most loyal fan bases in any professional sport, as generations of Pittsburgh residents have been brought up in the Steeler Way.

Since the team’s inception in 1933, the Steelers have called four stadiums home; Forbes Field, Pitt Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium and now Heinz Field. Now to some quick Heinz Field facts: The stadium opened in August of 2001, with seating for nearly 65,000 fans. This includes 56,000 “regular” seats, 7,300 club level seats and 1,544 seats within its 129 suites. Unlike many of its northern counterparts, Heinz Field has a natural turf field, albeit with an extensive underground heating system to keep the playing surface from freezing during the brutal Pittsburgh winters.

Heinz Field has several elements that set it apart from most NFL stadiums. The first is the FedEx Great Hall, a shrine to Pittsburgh’s long and successful history in the NFL. Amongst the displays are a History of the Terrible Towel; the actual lockers of several Steeler greats, including Franco Harris, Mean Joe Greene and Lynn Swann, a section devoted to the Immaculate Reception, and salutes to each of the six Super Bowl winning teams the Steelers have fielded. A second very obvious feature is the two huge Heinz Ketchup bottles atop the scoreboard. If filled with ketchup, these bottles would hold more than one million ounces of this famous brand of condiment. The bottles “dip and pour” whenever the home team reaches the red zone.

Food & Beverage 5

The food and beverage offerings at Heinz Field reflect the diverse ethnic neighborhoods that make up the Pittsburgh area. You will find Italian, Greek, German, Polish and Eastern European fare, along with the typical American ballpark standards. Three food concessions you definitely will want to check out are Primanti’s sourdough bread sandwich ($8.25), filled with meat, cole slaw and French fries (not as sides, folks… those are the sandwich ingredients!), Benkovitz for its fish sandwiches and Quaker Steak and Lube for their wings (single order $11, half bucket $21, and full bucket $35). The more generic Goal Line Stands found throughout the stadium have prices as follows: nachos ($7.25), hot dogs ($5.25), bottomless popcorn ($8.50), pretzels ($5), peanuts ($4.50), 24-ounce beer ($8) and soft drinks – Pepsi products ($5.50) and water ($4) .You will not experience long waits in line, as there are nearly 50 concession stands set up pretty evenly throughout Heinz Field.

Heinz Field offers a wide selection of beers as well. Craft beers include Redd Apple, Sierra Torpedo, Third Shift, Sam Adams Rebel, Magic Hat #9, Sierra Pale, Blue Moon and Angry Orchard, all at $8.75. Domestic beers go for $8 and include Coors, Coors Light, Miller Light and Yuengling. Imports are $8.75 and include Sethwicks, Guinness and Newcastle.

The Steelers merchandise stands are known as Sideline Stores and offer everything you can think of in the gold/black Steeler colors.

Atmosphere 5

Pittsburgh is a city that believes in history and the importance of maintaining tradition, especially with its largely immigrant past. The Rooney family understands that, and the atmosphere they have created at Heinz Field epitomizes it. The Steel City produces little or no steel anymore, but the stadium is largely made of steel. Glass is another important construction element, a salute to PPG, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh. The three rivers of Pittsburgh are its identity, and the stadium provides wonderful views of the Allegheny. The food offerings also mirror the foods many of its fans enjoy in their ethnic neighborhoods.

The football history and legacy of the Steelers is definitely woven into the atmosphere, as the Great Hall is a celebration of the Steelers bond with the community. While many teams have adopted more contemporary uniforms, the Steelers uniforms have largely remained the same. Why?… it is the Steelers Way and it works. The field? … there is nothing artificial here… football was meant to be played on grass, and yes in the mud.

Wisely, Heinz Field has chosen to retain the atmosphere that matches its fan base… one that is hard working, largely blue collar and totally devoted to the Steeler Way. By the way, the stadium’s address? Art Rooney Avenue. The fans loved the man and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Neighborhood 5

The North Shore neighborhood is the home to both Heinz Field and PNC Park. Having two major sports facilities in the area has made the North Shore one of the hottest areas in Pittsburgh for new development. It has excellent access to the downtown business district via numerous bridges spanning the Allegheny River, and two light rail stations have been built in the area in recent years. In addition to being the sports hub of the Steel City, the North Shore is also home to the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center. Another recent improvement to the area is the North Shore Riverfront Park and Trail, which serves as the front door to Heinz Field, and also provides docking facilities for those boats dropping off fans for a Steelers, Pirates or Pitt ball game. It is designed for year round use for joggers, bikers, picnic groups and special events.

The North Shore has always had a strong Steeler influence in its dining and entertainment offerings as Three Rivers Stadium was also in the neighborhood. One of the standards over the years has been the Clark Bar and Grill, which is across the street from the stadiums. A more recent addition is Grille 36, owned by Steeler great Jerome “The Bus” Bettis. One last neighborhood restaurant I can personally recommend is Peppi’s, home of the Roethlisburger. Other Steeler-inspired items on the menu include the Joey Porter “bella” steak and the Franco Italian sub.

Fans 5

A person would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated fan base than the Steeler Nation. They come dressed head to toe in black and gold, wearing steelworker helmets and sit through some of the dreariest weather imaginable with absolutely no complaints. A Steelers game ticket is hard and costly to come by, as the team has sold out nearly every game for the last 30 years. The fans can have an intimidating effect on the visiting team, as an extremely loud crowd, dressed in black and gold and waving thousands of the famed terrible towels fervently cannot be replicated on a practice field. Another reason for the strong fan base is geographic, as their fans not only come from western Pennsylvania, but the football heartlands of Ohio, as well. Pittsburgh fans see several teams as their direct rival, not just a single rivalry, as most NFL franchises have. The Bengals, the Browns and the Eagles all fit in this category due to their close proximity, while the Ravens have become a division rival in the past few seasons.

Access 4

Heinz Field is located on the North Shore across the river from downtown Pittsburgh. The parking situation in close proximity to the field is dominated by lots catering to the season ticket holders, and it can be difficult for a single-game ticket holder to find a parking space. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to choose from that can be less expensive than a close-in space and will drop you right outside the stadium. The stadium is linked to the downtown area by a number of bridges, which are limited to pedestrian access on game days. Parking in the downtown area is much more abundant, especially around the Convention Center and Heinz Hall. It is then an easy walk across the bridge to the stadium. For those who prefer to be let out right at the stadium, you have both land and water options. Pittsburgh has a wonderful light rail system that has stations in the downtown area, as well as the Station Square area a bit further away. Two stations (Allegheny and Northside) will drop you off immediately outside of Heinz Field. The water option utilizes Pittsburgh’s famous three rivers to drop you off right in front of the stadium. Pittsburgh Water Limo shuttles people across the Allegheny River from downtown and docks outside of the stadium. The Gateway Clipper ($10 roundtrip) journeys a bit further, as it comes up the Ohio River from the Station Square complex and drops you off at the same dock.

Another thing you need to be aware of at any NFL stadium is the need to arrive early, due to the stringent security rules relating to what can be brought to the stadium. Fans are discouraged from bringing any types of bags to the game. What you do bring must fit into a clear plastic bag no larger than specific dimensions. (Go to NFL.com for specific details on what can be brought into the stadium.) For those who are smart and travel bag-free, Heinz Field has Express Entry gates located at the Southwest Rotunda and the FedEx Grand Hall. These lines will get you to your seats much faster.

Once inside Heinz Field, you will find a number of escalators and elevators to transport you to the higher seats in the stadium.

Return on Investment 3

Parking immediately outside Heinz Field is reserved for season ticket holders. Parking in the downtown area across the river will cost between $5-$15, and Station Square charges $8 plus $10 roundtrip on the Gateway Clipper up the river to Heinz Field. Honestly, the most economical way to reach Heinz Field is via the Light Rail System, which goes to all sections of city and has two stations immediately outside the stadium. The train is free on game days. Tickets honestly are a seller’s market, due to the decades of sellouts the Steelers have experienced. Expect to pay upwards of $85 even for a upper deck seat. The concession prices are high, but the selection and quality of the foods is far above the standard fare at other ballparks.

Extras 5

One of the best things about Heinz Field is the enforcement of PRIDE, an acronym for Positive Field Experience, Respect for Each Other, Integrity, Dignified Behavior and Excellence On and Off the Field. Steeler fans are amongst the most rabid fans in the NFL, but they do abide to the PRIDE principles, which are strictly enforced

The Terrible Towel is an icon of the NFL and deserves its own mention.

The setting of Heinz Field offers just as impressive views of the river and downtown Pittsburgh as its baseball neighbor, PNC Park.

The FedEx Grand Hall is an outstanding celebration of Steeler history and tradition that is not to be missed.

The city of Pittsburgh has made a dramatic transformation from its steel mill past. Today it is a city filled with museums, parks and cultural offerings that cannot be seen in just one day. I highly recommend a three-day weekend to fully enjoy the town.

Food and Drink Recommendations

Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36

375 N Shore Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 224-6287

http://www.jeromebettisgrille36.com/


Mullen’s Bar & Grill

200 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 231-1112

http://www.mullensbarandgrill.com/locations/north-shore-federal/


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Entertainment Recommendations

Carnegie Science Center

1 Allegheny Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 237-3400

http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/


Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

1212 Smallman St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 454-6000

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/sportsMuseum.aspx


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Lodging Recommendations

 

SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore

223 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 323-9005

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pitns-springhill-suites-pittsburgh-north-shore


 

Residence Inn by Marriott Pittsburgh North Shore

574 W General Robinson St

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 321-2099

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pitrn-residence-inn-pittsburgh-north-shore/


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Stadium Info

Heinz Field
100 Art Rooney Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Pittsburgh Steelers website
Heinz Field website
Year Opened: 2001
Capacity: 65,500

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