On-field product means more than a stadium name

Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief | After over two decades of entering Heinz Field, Pittsburgh fans will see a new name on the North Shore: Acrisure Stadium, which secured naming rights in July.

Brentaro Yamane | Layout Editor

Aug. 25, 2022

As the school year commences, so does the impending football season.

Students in the Pittsburgh area are trying to get back into the flow of school. While it might not be easy to get back into the rhythm, one of the things that might help students relax is attending Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh football games.

For those who have attended Steelers and Panthers games in previous years, the stadium’s name became synonymous with Pittsburgh culture.

However, a new chapter opened for the venue on July 10, when the name “Heinz Field” vanished after 21 years. The next day, a Michigan-based insurance company known as Acrisure secured the stadium’s naming rights, and the venue will be known as Acrisure Stadium for the foreseeable future.

Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, I had always known the home of Pitt and the Steelers to be Heinz Field. Many local fans are upset because Heinz was and is Pittsburgh. It’s a Pittsburgh-based company, and it was something they could relate to. It evoked a sense of pride and honor.

While it might be upsetting to not see two giant red ketchup bottles anymore, it will not stop people from attending Steelers and Panthers games this fall.

Change is a part of life. If everything was the same, nothing would ever evolve or move forward. Personally, this “switch” that has happened is one that many Pittsburgh residents would take any day in because it’s inconsequential to the way they go about their lives.

Other forms of change consist of having a family member die, losing a job or having a relationship with a significant other end. It’s important to keep things in perspective.

The only thing people should and will complain about in year one of Acrisure Stadium is if one or either teams significantly underperforms.

Both teams are still legit.

The Steelers have a shot to make it to the postseason for the third-consecutive year, having assembled a healthy mix of young offensive weapons to coincide with a strong defense in year one removed from the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.

With the exception of quarterback Kenny Pickett (drafted by the Steelers) and Jordan Addison (transferred to Southern California), the Panthers return a significant amount of talent from a team that won 11 games and an Atlantic Coast Conference title a season ago.

Despite any outrage, attendance isn’t going to shift.

In October 2016, just four months after the franchise secured its fourth Stanley Cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins renamed their arena from Consol Energy Center to PPG Paints Arena. While both companies are based in Pittsburgh or its surrounding area, people could’ve taken exception to having a building that opened just six years prior already changing its name.

Attendance didn’t skip a beat, and the Penguins won a second-consecutive title in 2017.

In the end, results always have the biggest impact.

After watching the first game at Acrisure Stadium, a preseason contest between the Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 13, it was obvious that the atmosphere was electric.

It was also clear that a name wouldn’t dictate whether fans were excited. That was left to Kenny Pickett, who entered the game in the third quarter and threw for two touchdown passes in his professional debut. Pittsburgh won 32-25.

Although initial reaction to the stadium’s name might not be favorable, in the end, people will not care.

They’ll care about whether Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin can produce another postseason appearance. They’ll care about whether Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi can prove that the 2021 campaign wasn’t a fluke.

Perspective is key. Don’t lose sleep over a name. There are bigger things to worry about in life.