Pittsburgh One Of Many Fine Cities Deserving Of Chance To Host The NFL Draft

By Matthew Marczi

With the National Football League’s recent decision to push back the NFL Draft and also hinting at the possibility that the draft could be hosted in cities other than New York City, Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II was quick to suggest that his team’s city would make a fine host for the increasingly media-driven annual spectacle:

“Sure, I’d like to see the draft move around (to other cities), and I would love to see it come to Pittsburgh some time”. said Rooney. “It’s a great event and attracts tremendous fan interest. It would be a fun event for Pittsburgh to host, and I think our city could do a great job with it”.

In fact, there is little to argue against Pittsburgh being a fine destination for such an event. The Steelers have a rabid fanbase and are the most successful franchise since the NFL-AFL merger. Aside from that, they have a stable and powerful ownership that includes individuals in the film industry, such as Thomas Tull.

However, there is a broader point that transcends a singular fanbase that the league should consider in its decision on whether or not to take the draft to different cities in the future, something that Gregg Rosenthal mentions in passing in his article on Rooney’s comments. It is a worthy compensation for those football cities that are not in the rotation to host the Super Bowl.

As the draft becomes more and more elaborate with every year, the potential for its host city to profit increases. Certainly, changing the draft format to a three-day event and televising it in prime time has changed the way the draft is viewed. That is an opportunity that should be passed along amongst the league’s various football cities, not just New York (which, of course, does not even host its namesake Jets and Giants).

Of course, not every football city in the league will necessarily be fit to host such a major event. Cleveland, Buffalo, and Green Bay, for example, do not strike me at cities begging to host the draft any time soon with their lack of resources. But what about places like Seattle, Chicago, or Denver? You know Denver is not going to be hosting a Super Bowl any time soon with its climate. What about Minneapolis, Boston, or Baltimore?

The majority of these cities are not likely to ever even be in consideration to host a Super Bowl. Baltimore, perhaps, may have a sufficiently reliable climate, but does the league really want to have its premiere event in Baltimore? Detroit has hosted two Super Bowls, but they have a dome. Chicago is a major city, but it is not New York City, whose influence can overcome misgivings about potential climate issues during the heart of winter.

No, cities such as Tampa, Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, and Phoenix will always be the cornerstone cities rotating the league’s premiere event. San Francisco and Dallas could be emerging as new entries into that rotation.

So, as the draft quickly becomes the league’s other premiere event, why not use the opportunity to bring a major league event to some of these other worthy host cities? Why not use this as a trial run to see how well these cities do managing a major spectacle? More importantly, do we really need to watch the same New York Jets fans every year boo every single draft pick, including their own team’s selections?

As mentioned above, there are many fine possibilities from which to select, but the city of Pittsburgh would make an excellent and sensible choice, and would not require much of a pitch to sell the idea. Pittsburgh is a sports city whose television ratings relative to population routinely skew toward the top in the nation. The Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates are all beloved franchises in both good times and bad, and overall, times are pretty good in the sporting world in Pittsburgh right now, even with the Penguins underachieving in the playoffs this season.

Now would be an excellent time for the city to host the draft while the Steelers are still within the championship window of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s prime playing days. The owners should be pushing for the league to rotate the host city for the draft. In fact, I would be surprised if they are not doing so already.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steeltown

    I’m indifferent on this issue pertaining to the draft venue..but the Super Bowl should be hosted in more cities. The whole fair weather argument is ridiculous, this sport is built for the elements. A cold weather SB would be awesome!

  • Rob H

    Good point about not having to see and listen to the same idiots every year, I know all towns have their share of morons, but I like to think that Pittsburgh would treat the kids being drafted with a little more class.

  • steeltown


  • StrengthOfVictory

    Pittsburgh also has the venues to host something like this. Consol Energy Center perhaps? The Convention Center?

    Hell, we hosted the G-20 Summit. I think we can handle the NFL Draft.

  • cencalsteeler

    Couldn’t have said it any better Steeltown. I’d take a snow game on grass over a carpet under a dome any day! Tired of the Miami-New Orleans thing. It’s time for a 32 team rotation, bringing parity for cities who represent the NFL.

  • steves

    Matthew – The Superbowl was in Minnesota a few years ago. It snowed there but in the dome it was warm and tosty. Half of Minnesota is under Ground. When the Superbowl was in Dallas it was a BIG mess. No One can drive on Ice and the roads were a sheet of it. Then Jerry got gready and added extra seats, which was taken to the courts. I don’t think the Super Bowl will be in Dallas again after that mess. Only reason San Fran is getting a Superbowl is their New Stadium. They can’t even keep the lights on in Candlestick!!
    Pittsburgh will probably NOT get a SB, the turf is a mess every year. They allow High Schools and Pitt to play there and every year in January the grass is gone. I know the Rooney’s allow it, that’s cool, but not for Pro Games. We don’t want players getting hurt. New Jersey (New York) is having a Super Bowl in their New Staduim, which is really cool.
    I am with the Draft being in different Citys. They should bid on it like the SB. The Convention Center would be a great place in Pittsburgh to have the Draft.

  • Rob

    Pittsburgh would be an excellent location. There are a lot more teams fans close to Pittsburgh than New York. Not a tough drive for New England or the Giants or Jets, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Chicago, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, and Carolina Philadelphia are all drivable distances to the Burgh so is the Pro Foot Ball Hall of Fame. Cincinnati would also be a good venue as would Nashville.

    Think how much cheaper it would be to attend if it was in the central states area rather than that bastion of liberal gouging known as New York