Heinz Field

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Heinz Field
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Heinz Field (2005).jpg
Heinz Field in 2005
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Heinz Field
Location near Downtown Pittsburgh
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Heinz Field
Location in Pennsylvania
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Heinz Field
Location in the United States
Address100 Art Rooney Avenue
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°26′48″N80°0′57″W / 40.44667°N 80.01583°W / 40.44667; -80.01583 Coordinates: 40°26′48″N80°0′57″W / 40.44667°N 80.01583°W / 40.44667; -80.01583
Public transit Pittsburgh Light Rail (logo).svg Allegheny
Owner Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County [1]
Operator Pittsburgh Steelers
University of Pittsburgh
Executive suites129
Capacity 64,450 (2001–2006) [2]
65,050 (2006–2010) [3]
65,500 (2011–2014) [4]
68,400 (2015–present) [5]
Record attendance69,918 - Penn State vs. Pitt, Sept. 10, 2016
Surface Kentucky bluegrass (2009–present) [6]
Construction
Broke groundJune 18, 1999;19 years ago (June 18, 1999)
OpenedAugust 18, 2001;17 years ago (August 18, 2001)
Renovated2007
Expanded2015
Construction costUS$281 million
($398 million in 2018 dollars [7] )
Architect Populous (then Bortles Sport Architecture)
WTW Architects [8]
Project managerNW Getz & Associates, Inc. [9]
Structural engineerBliss & Nyitray, Inc
Services engineerM-E Engineers, Inc. [8]
General contractor Hunt Construction Group/Mascaro [8]
Tenants
Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (2001–present)
Pittsburgh Panthers (NCAA) (2001–present)

Heinz Field is a stadium located in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It primarily serves as the home to the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) and the Pittsburgh Panthers of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The stadium opened in 2001, after the controlled implosion of the teams' previous stadium, Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium is named for the locally based H. J. Heinz Company, which purchased the naming rights in 2001. It hosted the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals on January 1, 2011. On September 10, 2016, it hosted the Keystone Classic, which featured a renewal of the Penn State-Pitt football rivalry, setting a new attendance record at 69,983 people. In 2017 it hosted the Coors Light Stadium Series game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

Stadium place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events

A stadium is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.

North Shore (Pittsburgh) Neighborhood of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States

The North Shore is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's North Side. It has a zip code of 15212, and has representation on Pittsburgh City Council by both the council members for District 1 and 6. The neighborhood is home to Heinz Field, PNC Park and The Andy Warhol Museum.

Pittsburgh City in western Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States, and is the county seat of Allegheny County. As of 2017, a population of 305,704 lives within the city limits, making it the 63rd-largest city in the U.S. The metropolitan population of 2,353,045 is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, and the 26th-largest in the U.S.

Contents

Funded in conjunction with PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the $281 million (equivalent to $397.60 million in 2018) stadium stands along the Ohio River, on the Northside of Pittsburgh in the North Shore neighborhood. The stadium was designed with the city of Pittsburgh's history of steel production in mind, which led to the inclusion of 12,000  tons of steel into construction. [10] Ground for the stadium was broken in June 1999 and the first football game was hosted in September 2001. The stadium's natural grass surface has been criticized throughout its history, but Steelers ownership has kept the grass after lobbying from players and coaches. Attendance for the 68,400 seat stadium has sold out for every Steelers home game, a streak which dates back to 1972 (a year before local telecasts of sold out home games were permitted in the NFL)[ citation needed ]. A collection of memorabilia from the Steelers and Panthers of the past can be found in the Great Hall.

PNC Park baseball stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

PNC Park is a baseball park located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It opened during the 2001 MLB season, after the controlled implosion of the Pirates' previous home, Three Rivers Stadium. The ballpark is sponsored by PNC Financial Services, which purchased the naming rights in 1998. PNC Park features a natural grass playing surface and seats 38,747 people for baseball.

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) is a 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) convention, conference and exhibition building in downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is served by two exits on Interstate 579. The initial David L. Lawrence Convention Center was completed on the site on February 7, 1981, but as part of a renewal plan the new, completely redesigned center was opened in 2003 and funded in conjunction with nearby Heinz Field and PNC Park. It sits on the southern shoreline of the Allegheny River. It is the first LEED-certified convention center in North America and one of the first in the world. It is owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Ohio River river in the eastern United States

The Ohio River, which flows southwesterly from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River in the United States. At the confluence, the Ohio is considerably bigger than the Mississippi and, thus from a hydrological perspective, is the main stream of the whole river system.

History

Planning and funding

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Pirates shared Three Rivers Stadium from 1970 to 2000. After discussions over the Pirates building a full-time baseball park, a proposal was made to renovate Three Rivers Stadium into a full-time football facility. [11] Though met with negative reaction from Steelers ownership, the proposal was used as a "fallback position" that would be used if discussions for a new stadium failed. [12] Steelers ownership stated that failing to build a new stadium would hurt the franchise's chances of signing players who might opt to sign with other teams, such as the other three teams in the Steelers division who had all recently built new football-only stadiums. [13] In June 2001, the H. J. Heinz Company purchased the naming rights to the stadium. [14] As per the deal, Heinz will pay the Steelers a total of $57 million through 2021; the "57" being an intentional reference to Heinz 57. [15] Despite Heinz later announcing its acquisition of Kraft Foods Group to form Kraft Heinz Company in 2015, the stadium's name will remain Heinz Field. [16]

Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The Pirates play their home games at PNC Park; the team previously played at Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium, the latter of which was named after its location near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Founded on October 15, 1881 as Allegheny, the franchise has won five World Series championships. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or the "Buccos".

Three Rivers Stadium stadium

Three Rivers Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1970 to 2000. It was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL).

Heinz 57

Heinz 57 is a synecdoche of the historical advertising slogan "57 Varieties of Pickles" by the H. J. Heinz Company located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It has come to mean anything that is made from a large number of parts or origins. It was developed from the marketing campaign that told consumers about the numerous pickle products available from the Heinz company.

Originally, a sales tax increase was proposed to fund three projects: Heinz Field, PNC Park, and an expansion of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. After the rejection of this proposal in a 1997 referendum known as the "Regional Renaissance Initiative", the city developed the alternate funding proposal Plan B. [17] Similarly controversial, the proposal was labeled Scam B by opponents. [18] The Steelers' pledge toward the new stadium was criticized for being too little, even after it was raised from $50 million to $76.5 million. [11] [19] Other local government members criticized the $281 million of public money allocated for Plan B. [11] [20] One member of the Allegheny Regional Asset District board called the use of tax dollars "corporate welfare". [21] The plan, totaling $809 million, was approved by the Allegheny Regional Asset District board on July 9, 1998, with $233 million allotted for Heinz Field. [21] [22] Shortly after Plan B was approved, the Steelers made a deal with Pittsburgh city officials to stay in the city until at least 2031. [18] The total cost of Heinz Field was $281 million. [23]

A sales tax is a tax paid to a governing body for the sales of certain goods and services. Usually laws allow the seller to collect funds for the tax from the consumer at the point of purchase. When a tax on goods or services is paid to a governing body directly by a consumer, it is usually called a use tax. Often laws provide for the exemption of certain goods or services from sales and use tax.

The Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) is a special purpose unit of local government in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Its physical boundaries are the same as those of Allegheny County, and include the City of Pittsburgh.

Design and construction

HOK Sport designed the stadium. [24] HOK Sport's project manager for the project, Melinda Lehman, said that the Rooney family asked for the stadium's design to "acknowledge the history of Pittsburgh and also bring in an element of looking forward, this is where Pittsburgh is going." [25] In order to accomplish this, HOK Sport used steel structurally and externally. [25] The stone used in Heinz Field's design is artificial, in order to decrease cost. [25] Of the glass used in the stadium's design, Lehman said, "The glass is a more modern building element, which ties into a lot of the buildings in [Downtown] Pittsburgh and gives great views of the surrounding areas." [25] The Steelers and Panthers have their own locker rooms, which differ in size based on the number of players each team is permitted to dress for each game. The visitor facilities are modeled after the home locker rooms' design. [26] As with its predecessor, Heinz Field's culinary service provider is Aramark; over 400 eateries are located throughout the stadium. [27] A bronze statue of Steelers founder Art Rooney, similar to those located outside PNC Park, was moved 100 feet (30 m) from its previous position outside Three Rivers Stadium. [28] In addition, a statue of a Pitt Panther over a paved depiction of Pitt's Cathedral of Learning was placed outside Gate A. Upon opening in 2001, Heinz Field's 27 by 96 foot Sony JumboTron was the largest scoreboard in the NFL. [29] In 2007, ESPN named the "tipping" of the oversized Heinz ketchup bottles atop the scoreboard one of the top ten touchdown celebrations in the NFL. [30]

Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

Rooney family family involved in business activities

The Rooney family is an Irish-American family which, after emigrating from Ireland in the 1840s, established its American roots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1880s, and is known for its connections to the sports, acting, and political fields.

Cast stone

Cast stone or reconstructed stone is a concrete masonry product simulating natural-cut stone and is used in architectural applications. Cast stone is used for architectural features: trim, or ornament; facing buildings or other structures; and for garden ornaments. Cast stone can be made from white and/or grey cements, manufactured or natural sands, crushed stone or natural gravels, and colored with mineral coloring pigments. Cast stone may replace natural-cut limestone, brownstone, sandstone, bluestone, granite, slate, coral rock, travertine, and other natural building stones.

A view of Heinz Field from across the river. Heniz Field Pittsburgh PA.JPG
A view of Heinz Field from across the river.

Ground was broken for Heinz Field on June 18, 1999, at a ceremony co-hosted by the Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh. [31] The stadium was constructed by Hunt Construction Group and Mascaro Corporation. [32] The two companies directed 1,400 workers over two years, in which there were no construction accidents or lawsuits. [28] The stadium is inspected yearly, along with PNC Park, by Chronicle Consulting, LLC, for structural defects and maintenance. [33]

Hunt Construction Group is an American construction management firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company, formerly known as Huber, Hunt & Nichols, was founded in 1944 by Paul B. Hunt, Arber J. Huber and Harry S. Nichols. The firm changed its name from Huber, Hunt & Nichols to its current name in 2000. It was acquired by AECOM in 2014.

Opening

Heinz Field in 2007 with Downtown Pittsburgh in the background Heinz Field Pittsburgh.jpg
Heinz Field in 2007 with Downtown Pittsburgh in the background

The first event held at Heinz Field was a concert hosted by the band 'N Sync, on August 18, 2001. Coincidentally, they were also the last band to perform at the Steelers' previous home, Three Rivers Stadium. [34] [35] Prior to the Steelers regular season schedule, the team played a pre-season game against the Detroit Lions on August 25, 2001. [36] Pittsburgh won the stadium's unofficial opening game 20–7, with 57,829 spectators in attendance. [37] The first official football game played in the stadium was between the Pittsburgh Panthers and East Tennessee State, on September 1. The Panthers won the game 31–0, with quarterback David Priestley scoring the first touchdown on an 85-yard run. [38] The Steelers were scheduled to open the regular season play at Heinz Field on September 16 against the Cleveland Browns; however, due to the September 11 attacks, all NFL games of the week were postponed, [37] [39] thus moving the stadium's premiere to October 7, against the Cincinnati Bengals. [39] Prior to the game, a speech from US President George W. Bush, ordering attacks on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, was shown live on the stadium's JumboTron. [40] The speech was met with much applause and support from the spectators in attendance. [39] Pittsburgh defeated the Bengals, 16–7. Steelers kicker Kris Brown scored the first NFL points in the stadium on a 26-yard field goal, and quarterback Kordell Stewart scored the first touchdown on an eight-yard run. [41]

That same year, two light-emitting diode (LED) video displays from Daktronics were installed at the field. The larger, high definition video display measures approximately 28 feet (8.5 m) high by nearly 96 feet (29 m) wide. [42]

In 2007, writer Bill Evans named Heinz Field the second best stadium in the NFL, behind Lambeau Field, in an article for ESPN.com. [43] Although both stadiums received a score of 54 out of 70, Sports Illustrated named Heinz Field the second best stadium in the NFL, also behind Lambeau Field. [44]

Future

While the Steelers continue to make capital improvements to Heinz Field as well as expand seating, the future of the Pitt Panthers at the stadium as been more murky. Attendance for Panthers games has varied from an average high of 59,197 people per game throughout the 2003 season to a low of 43,680 in 2007. [45] Most recently, Pitt averaged 48,150 in home attendance during the 2015 season. [46] Nonetheless, Pitt's average attendance is significantly less than that of Pitt Stadium, which was located on campus and torn down to make way for the Petersen Events Center. Much of Pitt's average attendance has been attributed to Heinz Field being a distance from Pitt campus in Oakland, with games currently being largely attended by alumni as well as fans of the opposing teams. Most of Pitt's students that live on or near campus don't own a car or chose not to bring their car from home, leaving many to rely on the Port Authority of Allegheny County or TNC drivers for Uber or Lyft.

While there has been talk of extending the Pittsburgh Light Rail to Oakland, significant costs were cited during construction of the North Shore Connector, which terminates at Heinz Field. [47] Another solution has mentioned moving the games back on campus with a purpose-built stadium, which has gained support from Pitt's administration. [48] [49] [50]

Notable events

In addition to football games, Heinz Field has hosted other various activities.

Football

On August 4, 2012, Heinz Field hosted the Women's Football Alliance's National Championship Game, becoming the first NFL stadium to host a title game for any women's football league. [51]

The quickest score in NFL history occurred on September 8, 2013, in the Steelers season opener against the Tennessee Titans, when the Steelers scored a safety on the opening kickoff three seconds into the game. Darius Reynaud of the Titans fielded the kickoff and took a short step backwards (into the south end zone) for what was ruled to be a safety, not a touchback, because the ball was not in the end zone when it was fielded. The Steelers, however, lost the game 16-9, which was also their first home opener loss since Heinz Field opened. [52]

The longest NFL field goal ever kicked in Heinz Field is 53 yards. Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey first set the record in 2016. That record was tied on November 26, 2017 by Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell in a game-winning effort over the Green Bay Packers with 4 seconds remaining in the game, resulting in a 31-28 win. In collegiate play, University of Pittsburgh kicker Alex Kessman kicked a 55-yard field goal against the Syracuse Orange on October 6, 2018.

Concerts

Since its opening in 2001, bands and artists including 'N Sync, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and LeAnn Rimes have performed at the stadium. In addition, hometown bands The Clarks and the Povertyneck Hillbillies have played multiple shows at the stadium. [53]

DateArtistOpening act(s)Tour / Concert nameAttendanceRevenueNotes
August 18, 2001 NSYNC Amanda
Deborah Gibson
Christina Milian
Lil' Johnny
PopOdyssey Tour 48,118 / 56,275$2,558,856 [54] [55]
July 30, 2005 Kenny Chesney Gretchen Wilson
Uncle Kracker
Pat Green
Somewhere in the Sun Tour54,133 / 53,133$3,416,682
July 23, 2006 Bon Jovi Nickelback Have a Nice Day Tour
June 9, 2007 Kenny Chesney Brooks & Dunn
Sugarland
Flip-Flop Summer Tour54,372 / 54,372$4,462,709
November 25, 2007 Fall Out Boy Gym Class Heroes
Plain White T's
Cute Is What We Aim For
Doug
Young Wild Things Tour
June 14, 2008 Kenny Chesney Keith Urban
LeAnn Rimes
Gary Allan
Luke Bryan
Sammy Hagar
The Poets and Pirates Tour45,770 / 50,136$4,088,667 [56]
June 6, 2009 Kenny Chesney Lady Antebellum
Miranda Lambert
Sugarland
Montgomery Gentry
Sun City Carnival Tour 47,510 / 49,103$4,106,495
June 18, 2011 Taylor Swift Speak Now World Tour 52,009 / 52,009$4,009,118
July 2, 2011 Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Billy Currington
Uncle Kracker
Goin' Coastal Tour 53,753 / 53,753$4,604,884
July 26, 2011 U2 Interpol U2 360° Tour 55,823 / 55,823$5,050,730
June 30, 2012 Kenny Chesney
Tim McGraw
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Jake Owen
Brothers of the Sun Tour 53,325 / 57,452$4,841,193
June 22, 2013 Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Eli Young Band
Kacey Musgraves
No Shoes Nation Tour 49,043 / 51,186$3,693,793
July 6, 2013Taylor Swift Ed Sheeran
Austin Mahone
Joel Crouse
The Red Tour 56,047 / 56,047$4,718,518
June 21, 2014 Luke Bryan
Dierks Bentley
Lee Brice
Cole Swindell
DJ Rock
Chris Young
Chase Rice
Jon Pardi
Cassadee Pope
That's My Kind of Night Tour
Riser Tour
52,621 / 52,621$3,173,249
June 6, 2015Taylor Swift Vance Joy
Shawn Mendes
The 1989 World Tour 54,801 / 54,801$5,836,926 Little Big Town was the special guest. [57]
June 20, 2015 The Rolling Stones Awolnation Zip Code Tour 54,136 / 54,136$9,125,120
August 2, 2015 One Direction Icona Pop On the Road Again Tour 29,323 / 29,323$2,527,609
May 31, 2016 Beyoncé Jermaine Dupri The Formation World Tour 36,325 / 36,325$3,927,805
July 2, 2016 Kenny Chesney Miranda Lambert
Sam Hunt
Old Dominion
Spread the Love Tour 47,111 / 48,577$3,495,589
July 12, 2016 Guns 'N Roses Wolfmother Not in This Lifetime ... Tour 39,109 / 42,109$3,810,026 AC/DC guitarist Angus Young was the special guest. [58]
June 7, 2017 U2 The Lumineers The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 41,413 / 41,413$4,273,920
June 2, 2018Kenny Chesney Thomas Rhett
Old Dominion
The Trip Around the Sun Tour48,856 / 50,405$4,603,691
June 30, 2018Luke Bryan Sam Hunt
Jon Pardi
Morgan Wallen
What Makes You Country Tour TBATBA
August 7, 2018Taylor Swift Camila Cabello
Charli XCX
Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour 56,445 / 56,445$6,230,876Highest attended concert in the stadium to date.
May 18, 2019Garth Brooks

Soccer

On July 27, 2014, Heinz Field hosted a soccer match between A.C. Milan and Manchester City which was part of the 2014 International Champions Cup and Manchester City won the match 5-1. [59]

DateWinning TeamResultLosing TeamTournamentSpectators
July 27, 2014 Flag of England.svg Manchester City 5–1 Flag of Italy.svg A.C. Milan 2014 International Champions Cup 34,347
July 25, 2018 Flag of Portugal.svg Benfica 2-2
4-3 pens
Flag of Germany.svg Borussia Dortmund 2018 International Champions Cup 16,171

NHL Winter Classic

Heinz Field in hockey configuration before the 2011 NHL Winter Classic Heinz Field NHL Winter Classic.jpg
Heinz Field in hockey configuration before the 2011 NHL Winter Classic

On May 28, 2010, National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announced that Heinz Field would be the host of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic. [60] The game was played January 1, 2011 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh native Jackie Evancho sang the Star Spangled Banner before local sports legends Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis and Mario Lemieux dropped the ceremonial puck. The Capitals won, 3–1. [61] The game was the highest rated NHL contest since 1996 and the highest rated regular season game since 1975. [62] It was also the first night Classic and the first to use "CableCam" technology.

DateWinning TeamResultLosing TeamEventSpectators
January 1, 2011 Washington Capitals 3-1 Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 NHL Winter Classic 68,111
February 25, 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 Philadelphia Flyers 2017 NHL Stadium Series 67,318

In Film & TV

The 2011 American Idol Auditions chose Pittsburgh of one of six cities and scheduled signups at Heinz Field on July 12–13 and auditions on July 15, 2011.

Heinz Field served as the home field of the Gotham Rogues in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises . [63] An estimated 15,000 unpaid extras filled the stadium during shooting on August 6, 2011. [64]

During Episode 4 of The Bachelorette (season 12), eleven contestants competed in a five on five football game. In addition, they met with football players from the Steelers, including Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, and Brett Keisel. [65]

Other events

In 2002, the Pittsburgh Marathon concluded at Heinz Field; the course was altered from past years to allow competitors to cross the finish line on the field. [66]

In 2005, the Pittsburgh Wine Festival was held at Heinz Field, over 2,000 people attended. [67]

Features

Playing surface

In June 2001, Kentucky Bluegrass was laid on the field, [10] at half the height of most NFL field's 2-inch (51 mm) grass. The field is heated from below, using a mixture of antifreeze and hot water, to keep the field at around 62 °F (17 °C) in order to keep the grass growing year-round. [35] The field was re-surfaced multiple times, until the synthetic-enhanced Desso GrassMaster was installed in 2003. [68] Debate continued over the surface after players began slipping during game play. Despite this players and coaches of Pitt, the Steelers, and their opponents supported keeping the current turf. [69]

I need the grass. I like the mud. I like the sloppiness, I'm used to it. Mr. Rooney, can we please keep the grass? I don't want no FieldTurf. It's bad on your knees.

Ike Taylor [70]

On Friday, November 23, 2007, Heinz Field hosted four WPIAL championship football games which were followed the day after with a game between Pitt and South Florida. After discussion with the NFL, [71] Steelers ownership made the decision to re-surface the field for their nationally televised game against the Miami Dolphins. A layer of sod was laid overtop the 2.5-acre (1.0 ha) Desso GrassMaster surface. [72] The field's condition was exacerbated by 1½ inches of rain after the new sod had been laid, [73] which did not allow the tarp to be removed from the field until 70 minutes before the game began. [74] The field conditions during the game ended up being so bad that at one point during the game, a punt by Dolphins punter Brandon Fields ended up sticking into the turf without bouncing. [75] The Steelers won the game 3–0, with a field goal by Jeff Reed with 17 seconds remaining in regulation; [76] it was the NFL's first 3-0 game since 1993 and the longest two teams went without scoring since the New York Giants and Detroit Lions played to a scoreless tie on November 11, 1943. [76] Scott Brown, of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , called the field a "veritable mud pit". [77] While Gene Upshaw, head of the National Football League Players' Association, also criticized the field citing a 2006 survey of NFL players that ranked Heinz Field as the second worst field in the league. [77] Steelers receiver Hines Ward called the playing conditions "horrendous" after the game. [78] However, the following day Ward and other Pittsburgh players lobbied to keep the natural surface stating, "I think everybody wants to keep the grass." [70] Since that season, the Steelers have played their game on the weekend following Thanksgiving on the road at the team's request.

Heinz Field before a Steelers game SteelersWarmUp.JPG
Heinz Field before a Steelers game

Debate continued over the field later in the season when Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor called the field "a lawsuit pending". [79] Pittsburgh's ownership stated that the decision was up to the players, who once again defended the natural surface. [80] In February 2008, the Steelers announced that they would keep the Desso GrassMaster surface. [73] During the 2008 season quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was given a concussion after being hit at Heinz Field. He later stated, "I'm glad we weren't on FieldTurf. That grass—you know, the soft Heinz Field—might've helped a little bit." [81] After the 2008 season, a poll of 1,565 NFL players rated the surface at Heinz Field as the worst of the 18 natural surfaces in the League. [82]

The DDGrassmaster surface was removed in January 2009 and replaced with the old sod placed on top of the DDGrassmaster surface for the AFC Championship also in January 2009. [6]

Field design

Initially, the south end zone had either "Steelers" or "Panthers" painted in the end zone, depending on the game itself. The north end zone has always read "Pittsburgh", which is painted in gold lettering and trimmed in either black for the Steelers or dark blue for Pitt. Although there is typically no midfield logo when both Pitt and the Steelers are in season, both teams have applied their logo if the field's schedule allows for a sufficient break to remove or apply the other team's logo for that team's next upcoming game. The Steelers have typically added their logo to midfield after Pitt's football season has ended.

In 2003, the Steelers played the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Steagles team, when the two merged as a result of player shortages caused by World War II. Steelers president Dan Rooney had initially considered wearing a throwback uniform for the game, but decided against it because the merged team wore the Eagles uniforms, and the Steelers didn't want to wear the Eagles' colors. Instead, the team had the south end zone painted in plain diagonal white lines, which were common in NFL endzones until the 1960s.

Although the Steelers lost the game 21–16, Rooney liked the look of the south end zone being "plain", and decided to keep it permanently. As with the team's logo at midfield, the Steelers paint "Steelers" in the south end zone once the college football season ends. The Green Bay Packers also adopted the plain diagonal white lines in the end zones at Lambeau Field for 2007 due to an Anniversary logo being painted on each end, before switching back to wordmark endzones in 2008 which have remained since.

Heinz Field Panorama.JPG
Panorama of Heinz Field from club seating during Steelers vs. Chiefs post-game on December 21, 2014. Note the "Steelers" painted in the south endzone, added after the college football season.

Seating and tickets

As of 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers have sold out every home game since the 1972 season. [83] Entering the 2008 season, the Steelers average ticket price of $69.47 was the 15th highest out of the NFL's 32 teams. [84] The majority of the 65,050 seats are colored "Steeler gold", though club seats are dark gray. [10] [25] Heinz Field features 1,500 seats in 129 luxury boxes, with prices ranging from $64,000 to $135,000 depending on location and size. These boxes were predicted to increase the Steelers' profits from $10 to $11 million per season over those at Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium also features 6,600 club seats that include a restaurant and an indoor bar, at prices up to $2,000 per person. [23] For the 2010 season, season ticket prices for Panthers games range from a maximum of $295 per club seat with required donations per seat between $250 and $500 depending on location, to as low as $87 per seat with no required donation for upper end zone sections. Individual game ticket prices ranged from $30 to $65 depending on the seat location and the opponent. [85]

Great Hall

The Great Hall GreatHallEntrance.jpg
The Great Hall

The Great Hall spans approximately 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) on the east side of the stadium and houses a collection of Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers memorabilia. The Hall includes a timeline of the Steelers franchise's major events, an oversized Steelers helmet hangs from the ceiling beside a video screen that shows entertainment for fans throughout game days. [86] The Great Hall also features the actual lockers of several former Steelers, including Hall of Fame members Franco Harris, Joe Greene, and Bill Dudley. [86] Six large Super Bowl trophies-shaped display columns were erected and contain artifacts from each championship the Steelers have won including replica trophies. [87] Two display columns are dedicated to the University of Pittsburgh and contain memorabilia from the Panthers' teams. The floor is painted to resemble the field at Three Rivers Stadium, with the word "Steelers" painted in black over a gold background. [86] University of Pittsburgh players are featured on two large murals within the Hall. Eight additional tile murals created by local high schools represent western Pennsylvania football history. [87] In 2007, the Great Hall was named the best concourse at an NFL stadium by writer Bill Evans, in an article for ESPN.com. [43]

Seating expansion

The Steelers notified the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority in December 2010 of their intention to add up to 4,000 seats to the lower southern end of the stadium. The plan would increase seating up to 69,050 as soon as the 2012 NFL season. [88] Seating was added in that section for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, which had an attendance of 68,111. The temporary seating was left in place for the 2010–11 NFL playoffs, with the AFC Championship game on January 23 having a record attendance of 66,662. [89]

On April 12, 2012, the Steelers confirmed they would seek approval from the NFL to expand seating by 3,000. [90] On May 19, 2014, after more than two years, the Steelers and the SEA came to an agreement to add about 3,000 seats to the venue. [91] After contractors surveyed the complex the final number of 2,390 added seats with five additional suites including more parking, restrooms and concessions was determined in December 2014 to increase capacity to a total of 68,400. The seating was put in place by the summer of 2015. [92]

Transportation access

Heinz Field is located at Exit 1B of Interstate 279 within a mile of direct access to both Interstate 376 and Interstate 579. The stadium also has dedicated elevated walkway access to the Allegheny Station of the Light Rail/Subway system. On Steelers and Pitt Panthers game days, access is also provided from Station Square parking facilities via the Gateway Clipper Fleet. [93]

See also

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Further reading