The Return Of The Fans

A limited number of attendees were allowed at Sunday’s Steeler game, and the decision was well received by spectators and students alike.

Heinz+Field+welcomed+back+fans+when+the+Steelers+faced+off+against+the+Eagles.

photo by Anthony Durzo

Heinz Field welcomed back fans when the Steelers faced off against the Eagles.

Anthony Durzo, Staff Writer

Die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler fans dressed in black and gold were allowed to sit in the stands of Heinz Field yesterday, for the very time since the pandemic began. 

Since last March, COVID-19 has left Pittsburgh disappointed and angered since the City Of Champs had no way of seeing their beloved baseball, hockey, or football teams in-person. The disappointment soon turned into exhilaration when it was announced that fans could return to the seats of Heinz Field, but not without a few setbacks, of course. 

7,500 people were able to enter the stadium, which included the players, coaches, and staff members of Heinz Field. This allowance led to a total of 5,500 seats available, which was prioritized for season ticket holders who did not opt-out for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season. 

The Steelers are one of the first NFL teams to allow their fans into their stadiums—or at least those who wouldn’t let a virus stop them from seeing their team in action. 

“I would absolutely go to the game if presented the opportunity,” said junior Cole Dorn. “I can understand why people wouldn’t go, but I love football too much.”

Many are commending the Steelers and Heinz Field for taking precautions to protect fans.

“Even though it’s a small number, it’s good to see that the proper protocols are in place and that Steeler nation can still attend games and cheer on their time while being safe” junior Zach Webster said. 

In a statement released to the Steelers social media pages, President Art Rooney II expressed the franchise’s excitement to see the black and gold in stands again, even if it the scene would look and feel different. 

“All fans entering the stadium will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols throughout Heinz Field,” Rooney wrote. “We look forward to hopefully having more fans soon while still maintaining a safe and healthy environment at Heinz Field.” 

We are pleased to welcome back our fans to Heinz Field this Sunday when we host the Philadelphia Eagles.”

— Pittsburgh Steeler President, Art Rooney II

Junior Hayden Klein agreed with the team’s decision.

“I think it’s completely safe as long as there are limited crowds with social distancing and masks being worn,” Klein said.

With tailgating not permitted, the streets of the North Shore were quiet until just about an hour prior to game time, which began at 1:00 PM. 

North Shore stores and restaurants, however, such as Burgatory, Rally House, and Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, surrounding Heinz Field were also pleased to hear the return of fans to the stadiums.  They opened their doors bright and early on Sunday, preparing for any game-goers to come and spend some money before settling into their seats to watch the Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Whether they attended the game or watched it from home, the Pittsburgh fans were happy to see the Steelers defeat the Eagles in a close game, 38-29. Late in the fourth quarter, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Chase Claypool, who immediately ran the ball into the endzone, marking his fourth touchdown of the game. 

The Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday at 1:00 PM, again at Heinz Field, where the players and coaches will look forward to seeing their loyal fans cheer them on, just the way they like it.