The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers ever leave Saint Vincent College, and if so, when? What would it take to reach that point?
There was a time in the history of the NFL during which it was a valued part of the season for a team to travel to an outside location in order to carry out their training camp activities. The majority of the teams once upon a time went away for training camp. Now, the majority of them participate in their own usual facilities.
When it comes to the Steelers, however, no team in the league quite has the same relationship as they do with their training camp destination. Pittsburgh’s annual pilgrimage to Saint Vincent College as they file into Latrobe, PA is a celebrated time by the [majority of the] local residents who love both their team, and the business that they bring along with them.
But we live in an era in which more and more franchise are being purchased by businessmen and subsequently run by businessmen, and, generally speaking, I would imagine that it is more cost-effective to hold training camp at your traditional facilities, rather than providing housing four presumably over 100 people, all told, including the roster, all coaches, and whatever staff may be involved.
The Steelers have been heading to Latrobe for more than 50 years, which is, if I’m not mistaken, the longest consecutive relationship that any one franchise has had with a training camp destination. The team is revered there, the home of Chuck Noll Field now.
But there likely will come a time, I don’t know when, and I don’t know why, that Pittsburgh may fall in line with the general thinking and forego their field-trip training camp in order to carry out their activities close to home, where players can commute from their beds, rather than in dorms.
For the time being, however, I can’t imagine it happening in the foreseeable future. It’s too much of a brand-building event, for which fans travel hundreds of miles, to let go of under the present circumstances. I guess a more prudent question might be, what would it take to cause the Steelers to vacate Latrobe?