Penetrating The Enemy: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Dave takes to the road to scout and evaluate Heinz Field, the atmosphere … and Steelers fans.

I am well aware of the double entendres at play here, and I regret nothing.

This past weekend, I joined my wife and in-laws on an adventure to the northeast to catch the Chiefs Vs Steelers second preseason game. Yes, watching that terrible game itself was as enjoyable as beating up a brick wall with my face, but that’s not what we are here to talk about today.

I embarked on a mission to evaluate the stadium, atmosphere, and the Steelers fans in general. I was more surprised than P. Diddy finding a one-dollar bill at what I came away with …

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The Stadium: Heinz Field

First off, Heinz Field is actually … pretty damn cool. You have no idea how much it pains me to say positive things about them, but the Steelers have one hell of a nice venue on their hands. One of the best parts? You can take a boat to the stadium.

A boat.

On this boat is alcohol and food, too, which is nice, but the fact that you can park in a free parking lot on one side of the river and hop on a boat for like $7.00 and ride it to the entrance of the stadium — that’s a novelty that I’m glad we were able to experience.

We had seats in the upper deck of the stadium, and I have to say the sight lines were awesome. Seating is a bit steeper than that at Arrowhead, so even if someone were to stand up in front of you (nobody does, though, apparently, but we’ll get into that) it would not obstruct your view.

Our section also provided a beautiful scene of the Pittsburgh skyline from the stadium:

All in all, Heinz Field is a good venue. The stadium was clean, access was easy, and it makes me want to give them an overall passing grade as it pertains to the quality of the place.

Food and drinks are roughly the same prices as Arrowhead, but I have a feeling that’s par for the course in most arenas. They do, however, have a much more diverse selection of beer and alcohol than I typically find inside Arrowhead, so that helped mask the fact that they kept attempting to get me to try their equivalent of “barbecue” — which I refused to do, like any self-respecting red-blooded Kansas City native …

Here’s a couple more gratuitous shots of the field:

Stadium Atmosphere

We Arrowheadians (Arrowheadites? Arrowheadoans?!) are used to our brand of fandom in the stands. We are loud, we are boisterous, we are full of piss, vinegar, and team spirit. We get loud even when there’s no real need for it, and if you spend most of your stadium experience with your butt in the seat, you’re probably not from around these parts.

That’s definitely not how Pittsburgh rolls.

In Heinz-sight, this was a preseason game, but when I saw how many people were in attendance I truly expected to see at least a glimmer of what the place might be like during an actual game.

I’m telling you, that stadium was quiet. As in, I actually had to hold myself back from passing gas because it very well may have reverberated around the stadium, and that’s definitely not how I want Mahomes to become acquainted with me.

There was no real noise, no shouting, no standing and cheering, no slapping the backs of the seats in front you. Sure, after a big (Pittsburgh) play the crowd would cheer a bit, but I would say that Chiefs fans are louder for KC Wolf walking out of the tunnel than Steelers fans were for a 3rd down conversion.

Again, it was preseason, so take it for what it’s worth — but I never had to raise my voice. Not once. Period.

Weird.

Steelers Fans

Now the part I was so looking forward to writing. I have Steelers fans in my family, as well as some ‘friends’ who root for them as well. None of them are very nice to opposing teams’ fans come game day. They’re typically snooty, stuck-up, arrogant, entitled little bastions of hate …

So you can imagine my surprise when I only met one bad apple the whole trip.

Seriously, I had worked up a laundry list of jokes to make about these petulant fools — had they indeed acted like ones — and my biggest regret is not being able to use them (I’m sure a time will come. But alas, that time is not today).

Here is my exchange with the only rotten Steelers fan I met:

Keep in mind, this old biddy was working behind the bar at the local grocery store and started this feud by refusing to serve us because we were in Chiefs attire. A nicer Steelers fan/employee then began to help, when she made the comment above that sparked my reply.

Twitter only allows for so many characters, but about 5 minutes later she threw out her final retort: “There are Steelers shirts down aisle ‘X’ if you want to wear something that actually looks good.”

“No thank you,” I said, “there’s very little advice I take from people slinging beer at 9 a.m. in a grocery store.”

The Good Ones

For the most part the folks in the stadium were welcoming. Well, maybe not welcoming, per se — after all, we were opposing fans. There were the customary side-glances, hard-eyes and whispered jokes. That’s just to be expected. No harm no foul.

My wife and I even met a few very nice couples, the ones below even buying us beer!

Yes, they gave permission to use this photo

Almost everybody asked us about our trip, what Kansas City was like, how we had been enjoying the city so far, etc. Overall it was actually a very pleasant experience.

I only have one final story to wrap this up:

Standing in line at concessions, there was a mother with her (probably) 10-ish year old son, and he and I began to playfully banter about our respective teams. The kid was pretty knowledgeable about both the Steelers and Chiefs, so I had a modicum of respect for the little guy.

The mother was very nice and we were all laughing at each others jokes as the boy and I went round for round, eventually parting ways as they made their purchase and took off to their seats.

Cut to about 17 beers later and the Carlos Hyde fumble — and there this little sh*t is, two rows in front of me and a few seats to the left. He stands up, turns around, and gives me the ‘Suck It’ gesture with his hands. In what was absolutely NOT my proudest moment as an adult, I responded as I pointed at him:

You better watch that, son, or you’ll have a new step-daddy by next weekend!”

You can take the Dave out of Kansas City, but you can’t … uh, take the Dave out of the Dave. Or something.

(Insert wittier ending than that here).

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Clay
Clay

ag after dark

Enite

I read the title, skipped the article, and jumped down to the comments. Why? Because I know you. I guess I will read it now.

d-block
d-block

You were 17 beers deep by the third quarter? Nice.

1wombat
1wombat

I’m happy that you had good penetration!

BigRed
BigRed

Penetrating The Enemy

This made me think of my ex wife.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

Penetrating The Enemy

Good article. Not so sure about that title though….

Mahomesisgreat
Mahomesisgreat

I’ve been to games in Denver, Seattle, Chicago(pre-season), and KC. There were a few a-holes in Chicago, but hands down the biggest jerks in the world were the Seahawks fans. What a bunch of assholes!

vvet818
vvet818

I take it you’ve never been to Gillette in Foxborough have you?
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Mahomesisgreat
Mahomesisgreat

I was actually just thinking about that, I’ll bet Patriots fans are the worst, just haven’t been there.

Tlback20
Tlback20

I’ve got quite a few friends that are Steelers fans that are actually great people. I can discuss football with them without them being obnoxious. I’ve been to Arrowhead multiple times and it’s one of the greatest experiences a fan could ever have. I’ve also been to Invesco Stadium in Denver. They can get a little loud but nothing like KC. I had to leave the two games early that I went to there due to the fans. As much as I love watching the Chiefs I’m not getting in a fight over it and ending up in jail. Some fans were nice but both games I was getting cussed out and people yelling in my ears for most of the game. Glad you had a better experience in Pittsburgh.

Mahomesisgreat
Mahomesisgreat

I had a pretty good experience in Denver, but we lost by a bunch, so they were really happy.

workingmansdead

Went to Chiefs-Steelers in Pittsburgh a couple years back and it was actually really cool. Got a ton of compliments on my DT58 jersey. Good stadium, fans are good, fuck the team.

TNCHIEFS
TNCHIEFS

Besides Arrowhead I’ve been to three other NFL stadiums, two of them in Atlanta. (That Mercedes-Benz is a showpiece.) But nothing I’ve seen comes close to the Arrowhead experience. Chiefs fans are in a league of their own; boistrous, rowdy, FANatical, and loud, but generally decent folk.

Mahomesisgreat
Mahomesisgreat

I’m biased, but Arrowhead is just different, Chiefs fans are the best!

sportingchiefs

We Arrowheadians (Arrowheadites? Arrowheadoans?!)

Pride Heads is the phrase you’re looking for…..bahahahahahahaha

CHIEFSandSABRES

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Arrowhead Guys Royal Ambassador Dave making his entrance into Heinz Field.

Fire_FG_the_moron
Fire_FG_the_moron

I’ve never been to a NFL game (hoping to attend the December edition of the Raider sacrifice) but always hear ARROWHEAD has the best fans even though the talkingheads claim they’re the worst.

Enite

It’s true. I caught us playing the Steelers some years back. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had. Even the Steelers fans were great. God blessed us with a much warmer day than anticipated. It is an awesome experience…and we sucked then. I can only imagine what Arrowhead is like now.