Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Ron Cook

Ron Cook: Acrisure Stadium will sound a lot better if Steelers get back to winning

PITTSBURGH — People seem outraged about the name change from Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium.


Shouldn't you be more concerned about the type of team the Steelers line up in the stadium? They've won just three playoff games since 2010, none since 2016. Clearly, the standard hasn't been the standard for a once-proud franchise.

Shouldn't you be more troubled by the stadium itself? I don't like Heinz Field or — sorry — Acrisure Stadium. It was built on the cheap and might be the worst facility in the NFL, at least of those constructed in 2000 or after. I wouldn't like it by any name.

This reminds me of Pitt fans' maniacal obsession with their team's uniforms. They don't care so much about how good the players are in those uniforms. They just care that they look good.

It is ridiculous.

We're talking about a stadium name here, people.

It isn't that important.

I get that most of you don't like change. You are comfortable with Heinz Field because that's all you've known since the stadium opened in 2001. But change doesn't always have to be bad. And I'm not buying for one second that you'll never call the stadium anything but Heinz Field. The Civic Arena became Mellon Arena and we survived. Consol Energy Center became PPG Paints Arena and we survived. Give it time. You will adjust to Acrisure Stadium. You might even learn to love it if the Steelers start winning a lot of games there.

I also get that you would prefer the stadium being named after a Pittsburgh company rather than a Michigan-based global insurance brokerage firm. But professional sports are about making money. It seems clear to me — not to mention Kraft Heinz — that Acrisure was the highest bidder for naming rights that could be worth millions more than what Kraft Heinz was paying. I'm probably like you; I wish there didn't have to be corporate sponsors. But this is 2022, right? Maybe Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden still work in New York, and maybe Dodger Stadium still works in Los Angeles, but I don't think Rooney Field or Joe Greene Stadium would work here.

I agree, that's sad.

One final point about the name change:

Acrisure did a 15-year deal for the naming rights. I can't help but wonder if the stadium will be in existence in 2036. The Steelers are going to want a new playground long before then. That's the way it works in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans, Washington Commanders, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are looking for new stadiums. Their current stadiums opened between 1996 and 2001.

The stadium formerly known as Heinz Field opened in 2001, which means it will turn 22 this season.

Just as a point of reference, Three Rivers Stadium — oh, for those days without corporate sponsors — wasn't quite 31 when it was demolished after its final season in 2000.

A lot of Pittsburgh fans cried when Three Rivers was imploded. It wasn't so much that people loved the place. It was a big, cold, sterile, concrete circle, just like so many other stadiums of that era. What made Three Rivers famous was its winning teams. Everybody who followed sports knew about it. The Pirates won two World Series in it. The Steelers won four Super Bowls. It was a magical yard.

I have to admit, I got a little nostalgic when Three Rivers was blown up.

But I won't be disturbed in the least when Acrisure comes tumbling down. The stadium does have the really cool Great Hall — of course, it is sponsored by FedEx — which honors the franchise's significant history and long list of Hall of Fame players, coaches and front-office staffers. But other than that? It doesn't have the amenities that most of the other NFL stadiums enjoy. It is pretty much bare bones. It can't match up with the stadiums in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore, let alone with the rocket ships in Dallas, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

The Steelers have to try to keep up with the Joneses — literally if you're talking about Jerry Jones, who owns the Dallas Cowboys, a franchise worth $6.5 billion, according to Forbes.

The Steelers won't be able to do it for long in Heinz Field or Acrisure Stadium or whatever the hell they want to call it.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.