Should Heinz Field Host a Super Bowl?

Last week some discussion popped up about whether or not Heinz Field should host a Super Bowl, perhaps even one as big as the 50th, coming up in a few short years. Writers gave opinions, other writers gave similar opinions, and oh my were feathers ruffled over the whole ordeal. But amid the resulting border skirmishes between Pittsburgh media types, the question at hand was lost. Should Heinz Field host Super Bowl L?

No. No it should not.

Look, I understand the arguments in favor of it. The Steelers are an old, storied franchise (at least in the Super Bowl era, they are). There is going to be a cold-weather Super Bowl in New York next year. Football is a game that, in my opinion, is meant to be played under the open sky, along with whatever that brings. Games are played in snow and rain and mud every year, and as the weather gets worse, the games get more important. That's part of football.

And yes, it's true that Pittsburgh has hosted some big events in years past, including the G-20 summit. The city managed to accommodate representatives from around the world for serious talks about whatever stuff they talk about at the G-20 summit. The city held up, minus a few smashed windows and dumpster fires around Oakland and Lawrenceville, etc.

That's all well and good, but that isn't the EFFING SUPER BOWL. It's [probably] the largest event in western culture and as a selfish resident of the city of Pittsburgh, I don't need ten thousand tourists roaming around the city and its outskirts, backing up the line at Five Guys and whatnot. "They can stay in Canonsburg or something, there's unlimited space out that way!" they say. Anyone making that argument hasn't driven on Route 51, probably ever. Those logistics folks know more than I do, I guess, but it feels way too optimistic to assume we could host the Super Bowl without a hitch.

Another big concern I have about Heinz Field hosting a Super Bowl is that Heinz Field kind of sucks. It looks cool from the outside with its funky shape and bright yellow seats, but it's not that great of a stadium for, y'know, football. Where the Seahawks built CenturyLink Field specifically to funnel crowd noise onto the field, something Heinz Field fails spectacularly at. Instead of being known as one of the league's loudest stadiums (as it should be), it exiles crowd noise out into space, where, as they say, no one can hear you scream.

As much I like the idea of football in cold weather, it just doesn't feel right for the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl has always been held in beautiful climates (with few exceptions). When I think of the Super Bowl, I think of John Facenda narrating as two teams come out of the tunnel to a beautiful sunny day in Miami, ready to decide which team will be crowned champions. Cold weather for the Super Bowl just doesn't feel right. Call me old-fashioned.

There's also the matter of Heinz Field's real grass, which kind of looks bad on TV and isn't easy to dress up for the game's greatest event. Not only that, but most players around the league don't like playing on grass as opposed to turf, and while mud football is totally awesome, it's not what the NFL wants to sell in its ultimate product. People want pristine uniforms and lots of touchdown passes for some awful reason.

There is also the point Kovacevic makes that since the Steelers are so historically successful, that the 50th Super Bowl should be celebrated in the Steelers' hometown. That argument works a LOT better for places like Green Bay, Chicago, and Cleveland (yes, Cleveland). If you want the game to be celebrated closer to its birthplace, then put it in New Jersey again. The historical perspective frowns on Pittsburgh as a location for a great milestone in the NFL. Trying to argue for Pittsburgh to host a Super Bowl because of the team's history is selfish at best, ignorant at worst. I have a great appreciation for the long narrative of our game, and forcing Pittsburgh into the spotlight, in the scope the century-and-a-half tradition of the game, feels pretentious and insulting to me.

From a more tangible point of view, I'm not sure there are numbers that say Pittsburgh shouldn't host a Super Bowl. In fact, according to Kovacevic's column, the only numbers we have are in favor of it. But if we're going to treat the 50th Super Bowl as special, somehow, then it should be held in one of the cities mentioned above. If we're only celebrating the history since the Steelers became competitive, then why not just celebrate history since the turn of the century and have it in New England? (Yeah I didn't think you'd like that idea)

Truthfully, I don't see Super Bowl L as anything particularly special. There's no reason to make a big deal out of that particular championship, because the champion won't be any better than any other champion from any other year. Just like any other Super Bowl, it should be held in Miami or New Orleans or Dallas or San Diego. The champion should be crowned, and they shouldn't be assumed to be any more or less important than the 2008 Steelers or the 2002 Buccaneers or the 1973 Dolphins.

It's just another Super Bowl. It doesn't have to be anything more.

Brian Schaich

About Brian Schaich

Brian studied computer engineering long enough to know he just wanted to talk about sports all day for a living, so that's what he does.