Looking to have a good time in Pittsburgh before heading to Heinz Field for a Steelers game? Well, look no further than Steel City Underground's new series of articles to help you "survive" game day! We'll highlight some new tips on various topics that will help Steelers Nation get the most out of their game day experience.
Following my trip to Jacksonville this past weekend, I was compelled to write another article about underly aspects of being a Steelers fans. This one, in particular, is about attending road games.
At first, one may not consider going on the road to see your favorite team as a bad thing… that is until you realize that you’re inside enemy territory of everyone else’s favorite team!
In all honesty, Steelers Nation travels well. Too well, in fact: TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida was full of Steelers fans, which made it seem like a home away from home. However, with connecting flights, catching meals around town, and other tomfoolery, there are some things I believe everyone traveling to see a game, whether its in Pittsburgh or abroad, should keep in mind.
This is something I considered as I veteran of traveling: how will others react to seeing my Steelers gear? This is a valid concern, even going into a road stadium, as you never know what kind of fans you may encounter. (Even the best fanbases have bad apples which spoil the punch.)
If you’re not the kind of person that likes to draw attention, particularly jeers (and usually intended in jest) from the opponent’s fanbase, you may want to consider dressing in something more non-descript. I’ve seen some fans go as far as to wearing those ugly Pro Bowl jerseys, but honestly, a black t-shirt is enough; hoodie if it’s colder weather (or in that case, just wear a jacket… but not one with the Steelers logos on it, which defeats the purpose!)
The shirt and/or coat can be used to conceal your jersey, or just take your jersey off. Honestly, wearing a jersey into enemy territory is fun, that is, unless you lose. So, you may still want this as a backup plan for either before or after the game. If you’re staying in the remote location for more than game day, sporting your team may make you feel proud, but trust me when I tell you that not everyone likes the Steelers! (Noted, the man who went through Philadelphia and Cleveland’s airports!)
With that said, I was dressed in Steelers attire from head-to-toe, even including Pittsburgh Steelers sunglasses for that bright Florida sunshine!
Attending a game used to be easier before the NFL’s clear bag policy went in effect several years ago. Now I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a bag into the stadium. First, the bag check lines are super long. Second, there’s nothing that important that I just can’t carry on my own.
If you took my advice to carry a coat, you can stuff your pockets with gloves, hand warmers or whatever else you need. If it’s warmer weather, I’m hoping you won’t need any of those things.
Then there’s traveling. Do you want to pay to check a full bag for only a day or two of travel?
If you’re like me, that answer is no. I want to save the money for food and drink! That’s why I carried a light backpack with some change of clothes and those small travel toiletries you see in the dollar aisle at big box stores.
Finally made it in from Jacksonville... this backpack from @FOCOusa fit everything I needed for the trip (even fit under the plane seat as a "personal item"!) and was incredibly comfortable to wear too! Find this and more #Steelers gear at https://t.co/2wtPtKTm3G - Joe from SCU pic.twitter.com/dnM669VhWa
— Steel City Underground (@steelcityundrgr) November 20, 2018
This particular Steelers bag came from Forever Collectibles (FOCO) and met the airline requirement of fitting under the seat in front of me. Just don’t stuff it too much, in the event you find some souvenirs to take home! (Find this bag and more from FOCO at https://foco.com/collections/pittsburgh-steelers and find new Steelers products by following them on social media with the handle @FOCOusa on Twitter and Instagram.)
Finally, that backpack will come in much handier when trying to get around town. If you’re with a group of people, your luggage will actually fit in a smaller car, rather than needing a bigger vehicle to get around.
Personally, I prefer using rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft as opposed to paying for a rental car or taxi. Big city hotels generally charge stiff parking prices and that’s not including what you may have to fork over to park for the game. I find that by the time you pay the cost of a rental car and parking, you may end up paying double or more than that of hailing an Uber. If you’re in a group, this may or may not be possible: as a family you may not want to risk whatever Lyft comes to get you, but if you’re with a group of adults, you can split the costs and save even more cash.