There won’t be any fans in the stands to begin the season. Nor will the Pittsburgh Steelers have play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove for the first two games either. According to head spokesman Burt Lauten, the team suspended Hillgrove for the first two weeks of 2020 following a June DUI charge.
Hillgrove was arrested in early June after allegedly crashing his SUV into a Murrysville pharmacy. Here’s what WPXI reported at the time.
“When officers arrived at Hillgrove’s home, they said they saw damage to the front of his SUV. He also appeared visibly intoxicated, police said. Hillgrove told police that he had a couple of beers, according to the criminal complaint.”
Hillgrove, 79, has been the Steelers’ play-by-play announcer since 1994. For several years, he’s been part of a booth consisting of himself, color analyst Tunch Ilkin, and sideline reporter Craig Wolfley.
The suspension will cause him to miss the Giants and Broncos game. He’ll presumably be able to return Week 3 when the Steelers host the Texans. It’s unclear who will take over those duties the first two games of the season. KDKA’s Bob Pompeani could be an option. Pomp is a well-known Pittsburgh presence and calls preseason games on TV with Charlie Batch.
It’s also unknown if Hillgrove will be suspended from calling Pitt football, a position he’s held since 1974.