Some Steelers fans apparently aren’t too pleased with the team’s decision to switch stadium names. After 21 years as Heinz Field, the Steelers’ home stadium has been re-named to Acrisure Stadium after the two sides came to terms on a 15-year agreement.
Bill Cowher, a Pittsburgh native whose 15 years as the Steelers coach earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is certainly aware that the stadium re-name has ruffled some feathers among the team’s loyal fanbase. But Cowher, who was the Steelers’ coach when the team moved from Three Rivers Stadium to Heinz Field, feels that the re-name will be a good thing for all involved, unless you’re a Steelers opponent.
“I think it’s actually very flattering that a company comes from the outside to want to be a part of Pittsburgh,” Cowher said during a KDKA interview. “And to me, it’s not so much about the the name of the venue, it’s the venue itself. Pittsburgh will always be a very tough place to play if you’re a visiting team coming in here because of the people, the passion, the vibrancy that you feel when you enter into that stadium. So you can call it whatever you want, it’s what you’re going to feel when you enter that stadium and you’re an opponent and what you’re going to feel like when you walk out of there losing.
“I know that people of Pittsburgh, and I’ve been a Pittsburgher, are very, very resistant to change at times. But this is more about the economics of the game and trying to keep things competitive. At the same time, it ain’t going to change the atmosphere that’s in that stadium. Whether it’s Heinz Field, whether it’s the Three Rivers Stadium, whether it’s Acrisure Stadium, whatever it may be, it’s the people in there that make it a special venue.”
Cowher’s right. At some point, fans will get over the re-name and will return in droves to watch the Steelers play on Sundays. Cowher was also spot on when assessing how the re-name may help from a financial standpoint. While the terms of the Steelers’ deal with Acrisure is not currently known, the Kraft Heinz Company said in a statement that the team’s new partner was “willing to pay significantly more than we could justify.”
The Steelers made plenty of memories at Heinz Field, winning two Super Bowls, three AFC titles and a slew of division titles. They’ll look to have similar success at Acrisure Stadium, which will usher in a new era this season following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement in January.