The Pittsburgh Steelers celebrated alumni weekend a few days ago, honoring the 20 year anniversary of playing at Heinz Field.
Steelers Alumni Weekend
Each year, the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate alumni weekend to honor former Steelers players. This year, the weekend’s theme was celebrating 20 seasons at Heinz Field.
Normally, the organization hosts a dinner for the players the night before a game. The alumni are also honored at halftime on game day.
This year, however, things looked different due to COVID-19 restrictions. The organization instead held a virtual program on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. They streamed the program on the Steelers app, Facebook, Steelers.com, and various Steelers YouTube Channels.
Presented by Steelers team reporter Missi Matthews, the video featured highlights from former games at Heinz Field, as well as reflections and thoughts from former players.
It's an easy choice for #HEEEATH 💪
We're celebrating #AlumniWeekend by looking back at some of the greatest moments in our 20 years of playing at @heinzfield. Join us on Saturday at 8 pm for a special virtual program streamed live on our social & digital platforms. @U_S_Steel
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 4, 2020
Fans were tweeting their favorite memories at Heinz Field and memorable moments throughout the last 20 seasons.
The Steelers Alumni Weekend auction is still accepting bids and donations. The auction runs through Dec. 11 and will feature Heinz Field memorabilia. All donations will benefit the UPMC Sports Concussion Program and the Cancer Caring Center.
20 Years at Heinz Field
For the past 20 seasons, the Steelers have called Heinz Field home.
During a Steelers game at Heinz Field, fans are seen throughout the stadium waving their Terrible Towels and singing along to ‘Renegade.’
The first game at Heinz Field was played on Oct. 7, 2001. Pittsburgh defeated the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 16-7.
Sept. 16, 2001 should have been the day that the Steelers played their first game at the new field. However, the game was postponed after the attacks on Sept. 11.
“There was so much excitement for the opening of the new stadium, but there was sadness because of the events that happened on September 11,” said former tight end Mark Bruener, who was selected by Pittsburgh in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft. “We, as the NFL and as a team, we looked at that opportunity to not celebrate ourselves, or open Heinz Field as a stadium, but rather make our city an example to the country of our solitude to bring us together and show our solidarity with regards to the events that happened in the weeks leading up.
Former and current players, fans, and employees will have memories at Heinz Field that they will never forget.
Former Players Reflect on Impact of Fans
Steelers alumni have countless memorable moments at Heinz Field, but one thing that sticks out the most is the energy from fans. Many former players attribute this to their success on the field.
“Playing at Heinz Field, the atmosphere was incredible,” said former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. “It was the fans that made the atmosphere. The stadium is the backdrop. It provided a beautiful backdrop looking out to the city in the open side. It was an incredible canvas for us to provide the story and the picture.”
What are your most memorable #HeinzFieldMoments?
— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) December 5, 2020
Over the years, Heinz Field has been home to AFC Championships, Wild Card matchups and Thanksgiving/Christmas day games. These games have all been characterized by support from fans.
“Heinz Field, the fans were a huge part of our success,” Miller said. “We played some big games in that stadium. We won some big games in that stadium. There was always a comfort when we were playing at home in front of our fans. We never felt like we were going to lose when we were there.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Stadiums of Pro Football.
“From Our Haus to Yours“