Several weeks ago I posted about the interview that Dan Rooney gave to the BBC in regard to the Pittsburgh Steelers possibly playing a regular season game in Ireland at Croke Park in 2013. That was not new news at the time as the idea has been tossed around for some time now.
The biggest concern that Steelers fans had following that interview was that it would result in a lost home game for the black and gold. As I have stated all along in my post, it likely wasn\’t going to be a home game that would have to be sacrificed because of the lease agreement that the Steelers have with Heinz Field. That lease is rumored to mandate that the Steelers play at least eight regular season games a year at the facility.
All of your concerns can now be put to rest as Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports in his Thursday column that he received an email from Steelers headquarters that read: “We will not give up a home game to play in Ireland.”
As it was reported a few weeks ago, Rooney, who is wrapping up his term as the United States ambassador to Ireland, would love to see his team play a regular season game in Ireland. The only way that is going to take place though is if another gives up a home game and the Steelers are termed the visiting team.
In his piece, Starkey says that he thinks that there is no reason why the Steelers would not want to play overseas. He states that it is in his opinion that there is no better way for the NFL to spread the gospel of American football than by having the Steelers play in the game. Starkey is right, as it is a great opportunity to build the Steelers brand even stronger overseas and grow the fan base even more globally than it already is. It certainly won\’t hurt in the merchandise sales department, that\’s for sure.
Starkey points out that there will still be some concerns by fans of a let down following such a long trip, but he also notes that the New York Giants played in London in 2007 and went on to win the Super Bowl that season.
How will this all play out? Time will tell, but don\’t be surprised if it happens.