PITTSBURGH (Heinz Field)
GAME DAYS: September 16, 2012 and November 8, 2015
- OPPONENTS: New York Jets and Oakland Raiders
- SCORE: Steelers 27, Jets 10 Steelers 38, Raiders 35
- CAPACITY/ATTENDANCE: 64,511/65,050 64,511/65,520
- THE TRIP: Road trip (4-hour drive from Washington DC) with my friend John, a Pittsburgh native, who along with his friends showed me a great time in Pittsburgh. John's buddy Gregg not only hooked us up with game tickets but also let us crash at his house after an epic night of partying complete with bonfire and wake-the-dead 2:00 a.m. jam session. Similar second trip, without the jam session, but enjoyed the nearby casino winnings which paid for my trip.
- IMPRESSIONS: The stadium not surprisingly has a highly industrial appearance, owing to the city's steel and manufacturing heritage. The unmatched history of the franchise is embodied in the stadium itself, especially through the Great Hall which includes all 6 Lombardi Super Bowl trophies as well as the Steelers Walk of Fame which includes a large collection of memorabilia of past stars and coaches. The game atmosphere was outstanding. Steelers fans are enthusiastic and knowledgeable; I appreciated that nobody stood up during a play - this happens in every other stadium I've visited. The loud obnoxious music and public advertisements you find in most stadiums were minimal at Heinz Field, enabling the crowd to actually focus on the game.
- WE LOVED: The beautiful setting of the stadium, adjacent to the Allegheny River and PNC Park (home of Pirates baseball) and across from beautiful downtown Pittsburgh. Prior to visiting, I had an ignorant vision of Pittsburgh as a decaying rust belt city but couldn't have been more wrong - the city is truly vibrant, beautiful and full of positive spirit. The tailgating was excellent. My second trip only reinforced these impressions.
- TRAVEL TIP: Get an awesome sandwich at Primanti Bros. Restaurant, have a drink at Jerome Bettis Grille 36 right next to the stadium.
- READ: The Ones Who Hit the Hardest, if you really want to understand both Pittsburgh history and the foundations of Steeler football.