In a momentous change in 2022, Heinz Field bid farewell to its name after 21 glorious years. Standing tall on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, the renowned home stadium of the Pittsburgh Steelers now bears a fresh identity – Acrisure Stadium.
Construction on Acrisure began in June 1999 and lasted for two years before it opened in 2001. For more than two decades, this cutting-edge venue has stood as a steadfast witness to the triumphs and setbacks experienced by the Steelers.
Its presence has not only given the team a competitive edge but has also enhanced the fan experience to new heights, all while serving as a vital source of revenue.
Historic ties between Acrisure Stadium and Steelers
The Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates shared Three Rivers Stadium from 1970 to 2000. When the Pirates decided to build a new baseball park, the Steelers considered renovating it into a full-time football facility.
With the new stadium built, the H. J. Heinz Company purchased the naming rights. Under the terms of the deal, Heinz would pay the Steelers $57 million over 21 years, with the “57” being an intentional reference to Heinz 57.
The stadium hosted its first preseason game on August 18, 2001, when the Steelers defeated the Detroit Lions. Its first regular-season game was on September 16, 2001, when the Steelers won against the Cleveland Browns 16-13 in overtime.
The first NFL points scored in the stadium were by Steelers kicker Kris Brown, who kicked a 26-yard field goal. Quarterback Kordell Stewart scored the first touchdown after running eight yards into the end zone.
Records in the home field
Acrisure Stadium has been a hotbed of postseason activity since it opened. The Steelers have hosted 13 playoff games at their home during that time, holding an 8-5 record. It has been the site of some memorable moments for the team.
The first memorable event was when Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 27-10 in the AFC Divisional Playoff on January 20, 2002. The Steelers’ defense held the Ravens to 150 yards of total offense. Amos Zereoue, who was a surprise starter due to an injury to Jerome Bettis, rushed for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
One year later, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 36-33 in the AFC Wild Card Game on January 5, 2003. The Steelers trailed by 13 points with less than five minutes remaining, but they scored two touchdowns in the final 3:06 to win the game. Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard run with 54 seconds to play.
On January 15, 2011, the Steelers overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat the Ravens 31-24 in an AFC Divisional Playoff game in the stadium. The Steelers scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, and their defense forced three turnovers on consecutive Ravens possessions late in the game to seal the victory.
A few days later, the Steelers defeated the New York Jets 24-19 in the AFC Championship Game. The home team took a commanding 24-0 lead in the first half thanks to a fumble recovery for a touchdown by William Gay. The Jets fought back in the second half but could not overcome the early deficit. The Steelers advanced to Super Bowl XLV to face the Green Bay Packers.
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