UNITY TWP., Pa. — Nearly every day during Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College, just outside Latrobe, Pa., fans line up early in the morning for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of their favorite football team at work.
Early in the afternoon, the gates open, and they stream into the stands on the west side of Chuck Noll Field and spill out onto the surrounding lawns and hillsides.
Among those fans, particularly on the weekends, there are many, many young boys — and hopefully, a few girls — that hope to be Steelers themselves one day.
They come from all over Western Pennsylvania to watch, cheer, and maybe grab an autograph or a photo with a favorite player.
As youngsters, Western Pa. natives and current Steelers Dravon Askew-Henry and Kevin Rader certainly had thoughts of one day stepping onto the field as members of the Black and Gold.
Rader, a Pine-Richland and Youngstown State graduate, camped with Green Bay last year, but the young tight end saw no regular-season action. Askew-Henry is a former Aliquippa and WVU safety that signed with the Steelers this spring as an undrafted free agent.
But they never made it to St. Vincent College as youngsters. Instead, they’re getting their first Steelers training camp experience as members of the roster.
In fact, the first time either had ever even been to the campus was when Rader pulled his pickup truck into the driveway on move-in day.
“I’ve never been here and I’ve lived here my whole life,” he said. “It’s kind of funny.”
“I never came here, but I always heard and knew about it and watched it on TV to see the highlights and everything,” Askew-Henry said.”
Of course, the fans are a big part of what makes the Steelers training camp experience a special one, and it’s hard not to notice them from the minute the team descends the hill onto the playing field.
“It’s different,” Askew-Henry said. “It brings that game atmosphere type of feeling.”
The other thing that stands out about Steelers camp to those that grew up idolizing the team is the history of the place. Heinz Field and the Steelers’ South Side practice facility haven’t even been around for 20 years now.
But they’ve been coming to training camp near Latrobe for 54 years. That means that greats like Joe Greene, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann all made their Steelers debuts in exactly the same setting as Askew-Henry and Rader.
“It’s definitely a special place that all the guys and players that you think about have been playing and staying here for camp,” Rader said.
Of course, at 24 and 25, they youngest Steelers’ memories are a bit more current.
“The history here runs a long way, way before my time,” Askew-Henry said. “I’ve been watching this team since I was a kid. One of my favorite players ever was Troy Polamalu, so I mean. This history goes way back.”
The other thing being at St. Vincent College means for players like Askew-Henry and Rader is that it’s close enough to drive home on an off day, go back to get something they forgot, or have friends and family visit practice.
“I’m an hour up the road. I’m pretty sure they’ll be here,” Askew-Henry said, squinting while looking toward the bleachers. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some here today.”
Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname
Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.
Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast
The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.
The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.
The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.
That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.
The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.
The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.
What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?
The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.
What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.
In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.
Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.
In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.
More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team.
The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.