The NFL has taken another step in ensuring you and I will be able to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers practice this training camp. The league announced fans will be allowed to attend camp, though each team and its fans must follow its states gathering guidelines. That news comes from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Last season, not only were there not any fans, the team held training camp at Heinz Field due to the NFL’s mandate that teams couldn’t travel for camp. That restriction has been pulled for 2021, opening the door for the team to make its return to St. Vincent College. The Steelers will still need to get approval from the league to attend but it doesn’t sound like that will be much of a hurdle.
Pelissero also notes the Steelers can open training camp as early as July 21st. Most other teams will report on July 27th.
For the Steelers, that means reporting on July 21st with their first practice next day on the 22nd.
In Pennsylvania, there will be no capacity restrictions come the end of the month. Meaning, outdoor events like training camp can be held with the usual number of fans. It’s always possible the Steelers choose to restrict the number of fans who can watch practice but because camp is held outdoors, fans should still be able to space out if need be. It is more likely there will be restrictions on player/fan interaction. You probably won’t see the mob for autographs along the fence line like past years.
We have every intention of covering training camp like the pre-pandemic years and it sounds like we’ll be able to provide that coverage without much issue. The Steelers should make an official announcement about camp plans sometime in June.
Pelissero’s tweet-thread also noted the Steelers have received approval for 100% capacity for games at Heinz Field this year. They are one of 30 teams who have been granted permission.
This meshes with Art Rooney II’s aim to have Heinz Field at full capacity. It looks like he’ll achieve that goal this fall.
While the pandemic is not over, things are clearly in a better place now than they were one year or even five months ago. When it comes to football, things should look relatively normal come the start of the season.