Since Gretz is a season-ticket holder, he’s going to take a look at the debauchery and insanity that takes place in the Heinz Field stands after every home game he attends.
As far as home openers are concerned I can’t say Sunday’s game was filled with much excitement. Don’t get me wrong, the 24-0 win was a load fun, and the weather could not have been better, but I had the feeling that a good number of the 63,000 fans that showed up only did so because they had to, knowing full well the Steelers were going to rebound from their Week 1 loss to Baltimore and take care of the Tarvaris Jackson-led Seahawks. And they did. By the time the second half came around the only cheering was reserved for the random score update from the Baltimore game, and late in the fourth quarter when the Steelers were trying to preserve the shutout when Seattle, for the first time all day, crossed mid-field.
The Pittsburgh Steelers in-game entertainment staff is doing everything in its power to bring 70s arena rock back to the mainstream.
Anybody that’s attended a game at Heinz Field, or followed the Steelers even a little over the past decade, knows that the song Renegade by Styx has become the unofficial anthem of the team thanks to the video they play to pump up the crowd before big defensive situations. On Sunday they played a random video early in the first quarter set to the Rush tune “Working Man,” and during one of the 240 commercial breaks they showed Ozzy Osbourne wearing a Steelers shirt and telling people to crazy. All of this, of course, followed a pregame performance — as well as the singing of the National Anthem — by REO Speedwagon.
I’ve always found the Styx thing highly fascinating because when you get right down to it, 65,000 people are getting worked into a frenzy and raising the decibel level to help the defense to make a stop by this collection of dudes…
It’s crazy, and frankly, defies all logic. Whatever it is, the Steelers found that songs niche and it works incredibly well. I have no explanation for REO Speedwagon, however, and it has me asking which band could possibly be next?
Is an appearance from Foreigner, Boston or whatever is left of Journey far behind? Perhaps it will be Grand Funk Railroad and (as Homer Simpson once described them) “the wild shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drum work of Don Brewer.” The possibilities are endless, and I’m having a hard time putting reasonable odds on any of them because REO Speedwagon came out of nowhere. And don’t take any of this as a knock at arena rock because I absolutely love bands Queen and Led Zeppelin, and would have paid large sums of money to see them in person, but man … Speedwagon.
The Stadium Experience vs. The Living Room
We talked about this briefly on the post-game podcast but the NFL really is fighting what seems to be a losing battle when it comes to convincing people to go to games when it can be so attractive to sit at your house, watch multiple games at the same time, actively keep track of who is doing what for your fantasy football team, and shotgun a case of Natural Light for the cost of one $7.75 draft beer at the stadium.
The NFL has been trying to do whatever it can to help make the in-stadium experience as comfortable as watching the game from the comfort of your home.
(I think I’m still in the minority on this but I enjoy the in-stadium, gameday experience — minus the random drunk that tries to fight everybody or everything — and if I wanted to watch Steelers games from home, I’d simply save a helluva lot of money and, you know, watch the game from home.)
Just before the season started word spread that the NFL is ordering all 32 teams to show real-time fantasy football stats in the stadium, which is fine.
On Sunday there weren’t many of these updates at Heinz Field, and not only that, out-of-town scores were hard to come by as well. Heinz Field has fantastic LED scoreboards all across the stadium, and in years past, used to be filled with out of town scores. Now? It’s all advertisements. The only time we were given an out-of-town score update was at the end of each quarter, and perhaps one or two other times during the many commercial breaks. I really don’t care about the individual fantasy stats (the only league I’m playing in this year, and it’s the first league I’ve participated in in years, is a loser league, where the object is to pick the worst players) but I would like to see what’s going on around the league a little more often, even if it’s something as simple as a score.
Other Random Happenings…
– I love sitting in the upper deck of the end zone because you get, I think, the best look at everything that is happening on the field. Take for example Antonio Brown’s 40-yard punt return in the first quarter. When he fielded the punt inside his own 10-yard line and started to run across the field to his left, you could see right away that he only needed one block on the outside that would allow him to turn up field and make a big play. He ended up getting that block (there was only one Seahawk remaining on the perimeter and at least three Steelers) and nearly took it all the way.
– Daniel Sepulveda jersey count: 0! Though, I did see one in the grocery store on Friday.
– Paul Coffey jersey count: 1
– Here’s how beautiful the day looked…