The Steelers will practice under the lights on Saturday night at Heinz Field, and even though fans will not be permitted in the stadium, it will be broadcast through the team’s TV and radio partners.
KDKA-TV will broadcast Saturday’s practice, with Bob Pompeani, Charlie Batch, Missi Mathews and Tunch Ilkin broadcasting from 6-7 p.m. WDVE-FM will be providing a radio broadcast, with Mike Prisuta and Tunch Ilkin on the air from 6-8 p.m.
The Steelers have traditionally had one of the most open-to-fans training camp experience in the NFL, with the majority of their practices at St. Vincent College near Latrobe open to the public and the team holding special night practices for the fans at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium and at Heinz Field.
None of that has been able to happen this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team has sought out ways to keep their fans engaged, broadcasting a portion of each padded practice through the team’s website.
Head coach Mike Tomlin also wants ways to create game-like environments for player evaluation in the absence of preseason games this year, and a regional television broadcast could be one way to do that.
“We will create a competitive environment,” Tomlin said on Wednesday. “The guys have a lot to do with that. The way they embrace the competitive practice atmosphere that we have aids in sorting some of those things out. Make no mistake, there’s many layers to that discussion and others. It’s a challenge that all of us globally are facing in this no preseason game environment.”
After three straight days of full practice from Monday to Wednesday, the team is off Thursday. They will return to work at Heinz Field on Friday afternoon before Saturday’s night practice.