The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers will (or should) host the NFL Scouting Combine.
Explanation: Beginning in 2023, the Combine is slated to become a revolving event, like the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft, in which a different city hosts the event every year, after having spent decades in Indianapolis. Pittsburgh has previously expressed interest in holding the aforementioned events, though, to date, without success.
Pittsburgh is as good a football city as there is in the league, with a passionate fan base and a scenic panoramic view that can serve as an excellent backdrop to the event. The league has plenty of experience filming there in primetime due to their regular presence in night games, as well.
The fact that the Steelers have expressed the desire to host both the Super Bowl and the draft in the past leads me to believe that they would be open to hosting the Combine, as well. They have become flagship events in the offseason calendar, and they’re clearly trying to heighten the profile of the Combine even further.
On top of that, the Steelers routinely rank among the best in the league in terms of their training and medical staff. The medical evaluations are the most significant part of the Combine, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t do that job as good in Pittsburgh as in Indianapolis.
There is one fatal flaw for Pittsburgh hosting an event in February: It’s cold. And it might snow. And Heinz Field isn’t a dome. You can’t have prospects running around on a wet field. You need as controlled an environment as possible, which is why the Colts’ centrally-located dome stadium was ideal, and why the event remained there for decades.
And then there’s the fact that, again, the event isn’t centrally located. That doesn’t matter for the Super Bowl, nor really for the draft, but when you have hundreds of players traveling from all over the country, plus representatives from every team, it’s simpler to have a venue with a moderate climate and as much control over the variables you can manage. Unfortunately, that’s not Pittsburgh.