With the installation of a new south end zone section at Heinz Field still under construction, it's been known for a couple weeks that the spring game would not be returning there with Pat Narduzzi as the new head coach.
Former head coach Paul Chryst opted to have the spring games at a local high school for his first two seasons, and then not at all for the final season. There were rumors Pine-Richland High School might host the game this year, but that's not happening.
"We want our Blue-Gold Game to be an exciting culmination of a productive spring for our football program," Narduzzi said. "With our Heinz Field home under construction, we are excited to keep the game in the city and would like to thank the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and team president Richard Nightingale for hosting us. We have some fun things in store for the team and fans that afternoon and we'll look forward to revealing those details in the near future."
Personally, I think this is a pretty great choice. The stadium is blocks away from bars and restaurants in Station Square, and really offers a fantastic view of the city while you play. The stadium seats 3,500 which is obviously on the small side, but Pitt rarely draws huge crowds for this event anyway. For those that haven't been there in the past, I wouldn't say you go for strictly the football. Similar to Greentree for basketball games, you're not going to be able to tell much from guys running a couple of plays against each other. What you do go for is they usually have some good food, the band, cheerleaders, and a ton of family events. One thing Pitt does do well is get the players interacting with kids and families. If you have kids, this is usually a really great event to take them to. Even though I don't have kids, it's fun for me to catch up with other Pitt fans after a long winter of another coaching change, recruiting, and general Pitt offseason nonsense. It should also just be fun to see how Narduzzi is around fans publicly for the first time, and how an event like this goes with him.
The event is at a great time on Saturday at a later date in the Spring so the weather should be good. There could be the chance of a playoff Penguins game that day, but Pitt can't help that. Either way, props to Pitt for thinking somewhat out of the box for this one. Also, Highmark Stadium DOES allow tailgating. That makes the event worth it by itself.