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Art Rooney II: Let’s have a Super Bowl

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — One down side to being on the other side of the planet and lacking reliable phone service is that you can miss a call or two or 10.

Just before leaving, I wrote a Feb. 2 column challenging the Steelers and the Rooney family in particular to step up and bid for a Super Bowl, now that we’ve seen it work in New Jersey. It’s the second such piece I’ve written in the past couple years.

Art Rooney II, the Steelers’ chairman, tried to reach me as I was traveling and couldn’t, so he put his thoughts into this email. Out of respect to him and because I’ve already said my piece, the final word is his.

What follows is Rooney’s full email:

I think it would be a tremendous opportunity for the entire Pittsburgh region to bid for a Super Bowl at some point in the future. We already have many of the assets in place to host a Super Bowl in our area. For instance, the Convention Center is an outstanding venue and a necessity to host this type of event. Other facilities in the city such as Stage AE, Consol Energy Center, Market Square and many of the theaters in the Cultural District would be tremendous to host different parties and events throughout a Super Bowl week.

Heinz Field is a great football stadium, but it will need to be expanded and brought up to the first-class standards at the time of making a bid.

We are going to explore with the various community leaders, both in the public and private sectors, in the region to gauge if there is an appetite for putting together the commitment of time and resources that would be required to submit a bid that would be competitive with other cities.

Indianapolis, as a community, has done a great job organizing and planning to have the resources and assets to be able to successfully host major events, including the Super Bowl. The model Indianapolis has in place would be a perfect model for Pittsburgh leaders to study in advance of potentially bidding for a future Super Bowl.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

145 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. It’s seems to be a very fair and honest response by Mr. Rooney. I really wouldn’t expect anything else. Interesting he acknowledged it was the stadium more then anything else holding the process up. It’s really not that surprising. I would think most are not under the illusion that Heinz field is one of the best stadiums in football.

    • Not to be cynical, but the Steelers want to update/expand the Stadium, Super Bowl or not. And get lots of money from the Authority to do it. So “blaming” it on that as a road block contains at least some self-interest,

      • I think I was just about to be even more cynical. I think he’s just putting the heat on the SEA. And the trial was just delayed.

      • Bingo! This is mostly about renovating the stadium on someone else’s dime, IMO. I don’t think he even wants a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. He never seemed that interested before. Now that it seems to suit his purposes, suddenly it makes all the sense in the world.

        • Originally, Heinz Field was supposed to hold 70,000 people. The Rooneys cut that down to 65,000, for 2 reasons 1) cost, and 2) create more demand for tickets.

          Now they want to expand the stadium, when it will cost more than the original plans. All this SB talk is white noise. Do you really think GODell would put the SB in a city that is slashing public transportation to the bone? Hey Joe, I rerally want to go to that AFC party tonight. Ok John, but we have to leave by 9pm……. that’s when the last bus leaves.

        • Considering this blog is already off on a (good) tangent, I’ll throw this out there:

          PNC Park is 13 years old. I sure as hell hope Mr. Peduto is in office when Nutting goes to him in seven years claiming the stadium is in need of updates.

          • I hope in 7 years Peduto tells him “Go use some of he many millions you are getting from you new local TV deal with Root Sports”.

            Actually in 7 years Peduto may ask Nutting to save his request for another year or two and ask the next mayor.

          • Don’t get me started on public financing of stadiums, vs. money for schools and roads.

            I have no sympathy for millionaires extorting money from the rest of the public.

          • Well there’s already a capital improvements fund.

    • Absolutely correct, guys.

      Rooney just used Dejan to stump for more public money.

      I’m getting so sick of this family.

  2. Good. Maybe they’ll do what they shoulda done when they built Heinz Field and create a destination venue. Like most of the other new stadiums. But not Heinz Field.

    I’m ambivalent about northern, open air Super Bowls. But for the good of the cause, I’ll sit on it. But only as it relates to Pittsburgh.

    Not that I’m a homer.

    Well. Maybe a little bit.

    PS…never happen. But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what are Big & Tall shirts for.

    Wait. That’s not right.

  3. ” Heinz Field is a great football stadium, but it will need to be expanded and brought up to the first-class standards at the time of making a bid. ”

    Key phrase I hope no one reading this email, overlooks.

    Financially, the city of Pittsburgh and its Sports authority doesnt have the money to put 3,000 seats into Heinz field. It currently does not have the money to pay its own police force, properly in this veteran’s opinion. Security alone at the Super Bowl would consume most of the Pittsburgh Police Department. That is fact, not an exaggeration.

    “Upgrade the stadium so we can compete for a Super Bowl”. Sounds like ” Build us a ballpark so we can compete financially.”

    Logistics are nearly impossible. Financially it is impossible.

    • Your post seems to not be exactly objective, either. And it’s not just Pittsburgh’s sports authority, it’s the County’s. The police would get beaucoup overtime. Wonder what the Union thinks of it. Not saying its feasible, but you seem to be jumping to a lot of conclusions.

      • Did the mayor just ask the governor to keep Pittsburgh on the “financially distressed” oversight list?

        You’re using your heart on this, not your head.

        Pointless coversation anyway. Theres a million reasons this wont happen.

        • I’m only asking questions. You’ve made up your mind. Who’s using their heart, or more specifically their emotions?
          I’m not advocating anything except an intelligent review of facts and positions.

          • Whatever man.

            “Hey lets have a Super Bowl!” “We need to spend 100 million to upgrade Heinz Field and build more hotels!”

            Meanwhile the schools, Port Authority, roads and Emergency Services can wait their turn a little while longer.

            Ive lived in the city. I still have to go in there for work occasionally. My sister lives there now. Pittsburgh has a hell of lot things to fix and invest in before this nonsense.

            • I think you just made my point.

              • Fine Wilver, Im bias. Better than clueless as to whats going on politically and financially in the city.

                Did it ever occur to you thats probably why the Super Bowl was held in NY in the first place? Now “The Shield” gets to hold this carrot over every city. Upgrade your facilities and we’ll consider you. Never mind the August Wilson Center or the school we just closed. Cram more yinzers into Heinz Field!!!

                Im done. Im sure Dejan’s going to come up with some good counterpoints, I just think we got a fix our roof before we put a big HD TV in our living room.

  4. Maybe I’ll forge an email to Dejan on behalf of Bob Nutting.

    It will be brief.

    Two words.

    I’m sure it will receive the same respectful treatment.

  5. Which is first? MISL or the Super Bowl?

  6. Here’s an alternative; Bring the World Series to Pittsburgh.

    Stuart

  7. Mr. Rooney:

    Please ……..do not DUMP the cost of expansion of seating at HEINZ FIELD on the current season ticket holders via arbitrary price increases.

    THAT is unfair. :-(

  8. The Rooneys dropped the ball on Heinz field. Yes, they have been great for Pittsburgh and that legacy can’t be undone. However, I have some concerns
    1) They didn’t want 70000 seats when demand was sky high ? But now that the stadium is sporting so many empty seats, they want 3000 more?
    2) Whose genius idea was to design a football stadium whose acoustics rarely force an opposing captain to go to a silent count? 30000 Seattle fans at the SB were louder than 65000 Steelers fans. You can say each Seattle fan is louder than a typical old jaded Pittsburgh resident who goes to Steelers games. But how many times have you see another team go to the silent count at Heinz?
    3) What are the Rooneys planning to do to make it easy for a PSL holder to unload tickets in a very convenient fashion if they cannot find takers among their own friends or able to resell at a satisfactory price in the secondary market? The Steelers should have a reselling tickets at the gate counter and as game time approaches, they can open up tickets for free donation to designated charities/military families/young promising student families to fill up the stadium. Having a loud full stadium is important.
    4) If indy can host a SB, so can Pittsburgh.

  9. Looks like we hit a hot potato issue. Just the mere fact that the Rooneys had no interest in hosting a Super Bowl but are now using the opportunity to upgrade the Ketchup bottle’s facilities to draw interest at taxpayers and ticket holders expense makes the family and the whole enterprise seem as crooked as the day is long.

    Stadiums do not bring revenue. Having a healthy employment climate and enterprising tax base does.

  10. Well, this has successfully devolved into whether the stadiums should have been built in the first place.

    Anyone want to talk about Detroit’s bullpen?

  11. Hopefully sooner than later, the Steelers can return to Superbowl competition. And then, we can seriously talk about bringing that contest to Pittsburgh.

  12. I know this is completely off topic but heard on the FAN this afternoon, a host from a Philly radio station
    say that the chances of AJ signing with the Phillies was about 70%.

  13. Two thoughts regarding the Super Bowl in Pittsburgh AND the proposed seating additions to Heinz Field:

    1) I think Pittsburgh has got a pretty long ways to go to host an event like the Super Bowl.
    As a person that has traveled to many a Steeler game in the past 20 years, it lacks in both hotels and public transportation.
    I’m not saying these improvements can’t be made, but it would take some time.
    I also don’t believe Roger Goodell has any interest in playing further Super Bowls in cold weather places unless they either have a dome, or they are called New York City.

    2) As far as what the Rooney’s are looking for (additions to Heinz Field), I say give it to them.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a major force in putting Pittsburgh on the map world wide.
    Their presence in Pittsburgh is second to none in bringing people into Pittsburgh.
    Give them what they want and need to succeed…..

    • “Their (The Steelers) presence in Pittsburgh is second to none in bringing people into Pittsburgh.”

      I’m almost afraid to ask but how exactly?

    • Daq, agree on your first point. I know DK has linked articles saying Pittsburgh has enough Hotels/transportation, but I really don’t think you get a big event when the buses/T stop at 9:00.

      To your second point about the Rooneys…… they cheaped out when Building Heinz. They could have had more seats, while still being able to expand in the future.

      But, it’s a moot point.
      No SB’s for Pittsburgh.

      DK: I didn’t ‘link articles.’ I did my own research, with the help of Visit Pittsburgh. There are absolutely enough hotel rooms, and Rooney said as much himself. If there aren’t enough close enough to Downtown, you bring boats on the river to make up the rest. The hotel space is a total non-issue.

      • Dejan, you REALLY need some Starbucks. I’m sure Roger didn’t mean that you didn’t do your own research. he meant that you DID, and you reported your results, and LINKED articles to back your up.

        Here, have a hug :)

  14. Most of my family are curlers. Tradition to drink Scotch when event is over. Total partiers.

    • I love it. Was invited to an event at the rink on Neville Island by a friend. He went to Marquette, by the way. I think that’s where he picked it up. What a great time afterwards. The local authorities caught wind of the tournament & set up a DUI checkpoint across the Coraopolis Bridge.

      • **** Good story.

        I noticed CNBC (Fred Roggin said the NBC stands for “Nothing But Curling”-love the guy) hired Wisconsin girl Trenni Kusnierek to do sideline reporting. I find it hilarious that NBC has a sideline reporter for Curling.

        • Wasn’t Trenni the former Pirate chick?

          • Sure was, Plan.

            Works in Boston now. She’s the one that doesn’t date Will Middlebrooks.

            • I get confused by all the former Pirate chicks…….. Lacey collins, trenni, the “Ice Swan” ” high-5″ chick… can’t remember her name.

              You would think they would keep one around……… ;)

            • Oh, and Oshie………

              read an article yesterday about the Bucks ans Sixers….. who now are at the bottom of the league. my NBA season may already be over…….

              • Kind of takes the heart out of it when the Yucks and The Stinxers are vying for the worst teams in the land. That is why the NBA should be like soccer…have a high league and a low (not D) league for those constantly feeding on the tailpipe of suck.

            • Met her a couple times. She did sidelines for a couple of our games that were on FSN. She was very nice. She went to Marquette also.

  15. You all may have heard today that that Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees signed for $155 million, arrived in NYC in a chartered 787 that seats 200 with 7 total on board: himself, his family, and his poodle, announced he was happy to be a Yankee, and went on to training camp in Tampa, FL. Of course he can well afford it, and it was outrageously impressive enough to raise eyebrows, to say the least.

  16. So is the National Weather Service believable when they say I should expect “historic accumulations” from tomorrow’s winter storm? Or is that just one of those “this team will hit” predictions?

    By the way, Mike Seidel from the weather channel was in my neighborhood earlier today. That can’t be good, right?

    • Saw the warnings on the WC, Patton. Looked like bad stuff heading your way. Hope your power stays on. Be safe, friend.

      • Thanks, John. Seems appropriate that we’d catch the latest “Winter Storm of the Century” on the day pitchers and catchers report. We’ll be fine.

    • Ewwwww…I remember when we had close to 4′ back in ’92. I couldn’t get out of my driveway for a week. No power for most of that week. Ugh. praying for you, patton!

  17. As long as the Pirates bring a World Series game to Pittsburgh, I could care less if the Super Bowl ever came. Sure it would be great economically for the city, but I was one of the many rooting for horrific weather conditions in New York just so they would learn their lesson and play the championship game in championship conditions.

    Go Buccos.

  18. Seems there would be the incentive the Steelers have been looking for to expand Heinz Field beyond it’s current capacity and the potential financial rewards for the city and the region would be the proper incentive for local gov’t leaders to make it happen.

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