Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns likely will be his final one at Heinz Field.
“I don’t ever speak in definites or guarantees, that’s just not what I’ve ever done or who I am,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “But looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing to this could be it. Regular season, that is — I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game there if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen. But in the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular season, signs are pointing that way, this could be it.”
Earlier this week, coach Mike Tomlin said he wasn’t interested in addressing the potential of Monday’s tilt serving as the final home game for Roethlisberger.
“I don’t know that it is going to impact anything relative to what we are intending to do or what he might intend to do,” Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger, who turns 40 in March, moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list on Dec. 19.
Roethlisberger has played his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he owns most of the franchise’s passing records, including completions (5,386), yards (63,721) and touchdowns (416).
The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has had one of his least productive seasons as a pro in 2021, throwing for 3,373 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
–Field Level Media
Teams visiting Heinz Field may have more to worry about than terrible towels.
According to reporting from WTAE in Pittsburgh, a Steelers fan dumped the ashes of a deceased family member in the south end zone of the field.
A Steelers spokesperson wanted to make it known that the fan in question did not have permission to do so, nor do the Steelers ever accommodate similar requests.
“Heinz Field Management does not permit or condone such actions,” a statement from the team read. “While we respect those fans who may be interested in honoring a family member by spreading their family’s ashes inside the stadium, Heinz Field cannot accommodate those requests due to state and local regulations.”
At least one fan complained to the network that the remains blew onto him and into people’s food.
“There is no hazard with them,” Bob Neely, an area funeral director said. “It’s been heated up to a point where there is no disease left, there is nothing there you just have fine particles … but you have a fairly good amount that can come out of an urn.”
–Field Level Media
The Pittsburgh Steelers will hold their training camp at Heinz Field and their training complex after the NFL nixed their plan for an offsite location.
The team traditionally holds camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., but the NFL rejected the team’s COVID-19 plan.
“We were prepared to safely host Training Camp on campus with fans, but unfortunately our plan was not approved due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Thursday.
“We will now have training camp, which is slated to begin in late July, split between Heinz Field and the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Once our practice schedule is finalized, we will announce plans to host fans at Heinz Field for a select number of practices.”
The Steelers held training camp at the college from 1967 until 2020, when the pandemic kept teams at home for camp. Lauten said the team intends to return to Latrobe in 2022.
“We are disappointed in the NFL’s and NFLPA’s decision regarding training camp, as one of our favorite annual traditions is welcoming the Steelers and their fans to campus,” said Father Paul Taylor, O.S.B., the Saint Vincent College president, in a statement released Thursday. “The Steelers are an important part of the Saint Vincent community, and we look forward to welcoming the team and fans back next summer. As they begin the 2021 season, we pray for the health and safety of the entire organization and Steelers fans around the world, as well as an end to this pandemic.”
–Field Level Media
Seating capacity at Sunday night’s wild-card game in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and the Cleveland Browns will be limited to 2,500.
Tickets will not be sold, and the people in the seats at Heinz Field will be guests of the Steelers. The decision follows orders of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to reduce capacity in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this season, the Steelers sold limited tickets, with a season high of 5,909 fans against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 15 before Wolf’s order took effect.
“We are disappointed we will not be able to host our season ticket holders and other fans at Heinz Field on Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns in our AFC Wild Card Game,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. “We were hoping to receive approval to host fans for the playoffs at a capacity similar to our games in October and November, but unfortunately the state’s orders will only permit 2,500 total people in the building, including players, coaches and staff. This will limit fans in the seating bowl to family and friends of players and the team.”
The Steelers, the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, and the No. 6 Browns are scheduled to kick off Sunday at 8:15 p.m. in the final of six wild-card games this weekend.
The AFC North rivals split their season series. The Steelers won at home on Oct. 18, 38-7. The Browns won 24-22 in Cleveland in the regular-season finale on Sunday.
–Field Level Media
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Tuesday that attendance at Heinz Field for the team’s two home games in December will be limited to family and friends of players and members of the organization due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Steelers put out a statement that new restrictions on gatherings in the state of Pennsylvania have forced the team to ban fans.
“Governor Wolf’s Office and State Health Director Dr. Levine issued new orders and advisories which will affect our games in December, starting with the game against Washington on December 6. That order will now limit Heinz Field to no more than 2,500 people in the building, including players, coaches, stadium staff, etc.,” the team said in a statement.
“Consequently, we will have to restrict fans in the seating bowl to family and friends of players and the organization.”
The Steelers Thursday night Thanksgiving game against the rival Baltimore Ravens is not impacted by the new restrictions, and about 5,500 fans are expected to attend the game at Heinz Field.
Fans at Thursday’s game will be required to adhere to the stadium’s protocols, including requirements for wearing a mask and social distancing.
While no fans will be allowed at Heinz Field in December, it is unknown if fans will be allowed into the stadium should the Steelers, who are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC, host any games in the postseason.
— Field Level Media