Pittsburgh Steelers

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne Elementary School kindergarten teacher Breanne Dolby thought she was bringing her students to the library for a “surprise guest reader” last Tuesday. Instead, she was awarded $1,500, a customized Steelers jersey and tickets to the New Year’s Day game.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Steelers legends, city and union leaders and working man rock icon Donnie Iris flanked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she addressed scores of supporters in the Great Hall at Heinz Field on Friday.

"I have a lot of ideas; I could keep you hear until the game starts on Sunday," Clinton said.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is home to many sports firsts: the Pittsburgh Pirates participated in the first Major League World Series, the city was the first to have a retractable dome stadium and the Steelers were the first to win six Super Bowls.

Harry Cabluck / AP

The University of Pittsburgh's football team is enjoying another winning season so far. The Panthers are third in the last four years. But it wasn’t always this way for Pitt. The program had bottomed out in the early 1970s and the Panthers won just one game and lost 10 in 1972. That was the season before the arrival of legendary coach Johnny Majors who led a dramatic turnaround. By 1976, Pitt went undefeated and won the national championship.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

When Steelers punter Jordan Berry was growing up in Melbourne, Australia, he didn’t follow American professional football and didn’t know there was such a thing as college football. But with his strong leg, developed playing Australian Rules football, he was offered an athletic scholarship by Eastern Kentucky University. He excelled there and was signed by the Steelers in 2015. 

Now, in his second season in Pittsburgh, Berry said the biggest adjustment to playing American football was learning how to be ready to come into the game cold.

PghJared / flickr

Through the years, Pittsburgh-area sports have seen their fair share of team mascots. Some have been embraced by the city and others haven’t quite cut it. We’re joined now in studio by stand-up comedian and City Paper columnist Mike Wysocki. He’s written a column for the City Paper on the “best, worst and handsiest sports mascots” in Pittsburgh sports history.

NFL/YouTube

What better way to celebrate the big game?

"In the end / when our team won / mom and dad looked at each other / one thing led to another that night."

NFL advertisers teamed with Seal to recreate "one of the greatest love songs of all time to celebrate the greatest game of all time," according to the caption posted on the NFL's YouTube channel on Monday.

Data suggests nine months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births, according to the ad.

Coraopolis Company RC21X Develops Brain Monitoring System

Jan 4, 2016
RC21X / Facebook

Coraopolis based company RC21X has developed a web-based brain performance monitoring system being applied to patients who have had concussions, strokes and other conditions. We'll talk with CEO Clarence Carlos and Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Paul Nussbaum who has been involved in testing more than 50 former NFL players.

Steeler Safety Will Allen On The Importance Of Giving

Dec 22, 2015
Billy Hurst / AP Images

As a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Will Allen is used making an impact on the field. However, the 33-year old Ohio native has also made impacts off the field through his charity group, the Will Allen Foundation. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Allen to learn more about the Foundation and what it does in the community.  

Allen created the foundation in 2008 while he was still a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.  It was an off day for the team and Allen realized he needed to do more than just play football.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

The newly-dubbed UPMC Rooney Sports Complex will house the Pittsburgh Steelers practice facility for 15 more years as it undergoes an additional $10 million expansion this summer, UPMC and Steelers officials announced Tuesday.

“And of course the major piece of the puzzle will be the expansion of the training facility on the first floor, which will include an expanded weight room and conditioning room,” said current franchise President Art Rooney II.

Flickr

Pittsburgh has been referred to as “the city of champions” by many, but a new index by Pittsburgh Today places the city’s professional sports scene behind Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, which measured Pittsburgh against 15 “benchmark" U.S. cities, said the Steel City came in fourth in their recent Pittsburgh Sports Town Index.

The Color Of Sundays

Oct 8, 2015
Cardinal Publishers Group

Pittsburgh Tribune Review reporter and author Andrew Conte laces together a history of racism in sports and the creation of the 1970s Steelers dynasty with his latest book, The Color of Sundays.

The book tells the story of Pittsburgh Courier sports writer turned Steelers scout Bill Nunn Jr., who by 1970, was the first African American promoted to a front office position with the Pittsburgh Steelers as Assistant Director of Player Personnel. 

Though at first reluctant to have a book published about his life and work, Conte says Nunn warmed up to the idea when they agreed to make the story not just about one man and the Steelers, but rather as a story about black athletes finally getting recognized by the National Football League.

Should Michael Vick Be a Pittsburgh Steeler?

Aug 26, 2015
Jeff Haynes / AP Images

Free agent quarterback Michael Vick signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday night. The move has incited debate over Vick’s history and how that may affect the Steelers season. In 2007, Vick spent 21 months in federal prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring. Over 12,000 people have signed a digital petition protesting his contract. Tribune-Review reporter Ben Schmitt won an Emmy at the Detroit Free Press for his contribution to the series “Pit Bulls: Companions or Killers?” He offers his thoughts on the controversy.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

Next month at Heinz Hall, former Steeler and decorated Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier will perform a one man show about his life. It is described as an intimate portrait featuring highlights of Rocky's multi-faceted life as a four-time Super Bowl Champion, wounded warrior, family man and community activist. Rocky Bleier joins us in studio along with the man who wrote the play Gene Collier.

Urban Archives / Temple University Libraries

   During World War II, due to shortages, there were plenty of things Americans had to do without and NFL football was nearly one them. The war left the league with a shortage of able bodied men to play the game. So rather than shut down during the 1943 season, the Steelers and the Philadelpha Eagles combined their rosters to form a unified Pennsylvania team; the "Steagles." We'll talk with Matthew Algeo, author of "Last Team Standing: How the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles--'The Steagles' Saved Pro Football During World War II," and Al Wistert, the last surviving Steagle.     

The city’s tourism agency, VisitPittsburgh, has proposed creating a non-profit organization tasked with attracting major sporting events to the area.

Executive Vice President Jason Fulvi said the city needs an organization dedicated solely to sports promotion.

“We had over a million overnight visits last year in Allegheny County and all of that brings money and revenue into the community," he said. "It helps to support not only our hotels, but restaurants, bars (and) attractions.”

John Marino / Wikipedia

The end of a three-year agreement between the Port Authority and the Steelers and Rivers Casino corporations that enabled T riders to reach Allegheny Station free of charge may upset the transit system's free fare zone. Without funds from either organization, the Port Authority must either pick up the tab itself or start charging riders who use the T stop to attend sporting events. Alex Zimmerman has been covering the story for the City Paper and joins us to discuss the issues surrounding the suspension of the deal. 

Zimmerman says the change is due, in part, to the Port Authority's desire to separate subsidies from advertising rights for the two stations on the North Shore:

"Port Authority went to [the subsidizing entities] and said 'We're happy to continue our agreement with you, but we want to retain ad rights.' ... The Steelers and casino aren't saying much about what their negotiating position is." -- Alex Zimmerman

Also in the program, local entrepreneur Mont Handley describes the peat moss substitute that he invented, Margaret J. Krauss tells an untold story about Pittsburgh during WWII, and Johnstown Tomahawks representative Chad Mearns talks about Johnstown's recent recognition as "Hockeyville USA."

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Pittsburgh Steelers' football stadium will keep the name Heinz Field despite the company's planned merger with Kraft Foods Group.

Steelers Slammed 30-17 by Ravens in Wild Card

Jan 4, 2015
AP Photo/Gene Puskar

Ben Roethlisberger was helped to his feet and walked slowly to the sideline, trying to clear his head from a hard hit and a night that didn't go his way.

Postseasons don't usually end at Heinz Field. Not like this. Not to hated Baltimore.

Without injured All-Pro back Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers were one-dimensional on offense and didn't do nearly enough to stop the Ravens, who snapped a three-game playoff losing streak against their bitter rivals with a 30-17 victory Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.

"This is going to sting for a while," Roethlisberger said.

The Northside Leadership Conference will use $900,000 in pledged funding from Highmark, Northwest Savings Bank and the Pittsburgh Steelers to support the North Side neighborhood including small business and strategic real estate development.

Gloria Rayman, past NSLC board of directors president, said Friday because the coalition of grassroots neighborhood organizations has non-profit status, it can partner with corporate sponsors.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

With his Grizzly Adams beard, Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is one of the most recognizable athletes in Pittsburgh. But now in his 13th season, and having reached the age of 36, Keisel knows the end of his playing career is near. He joins us to talk about football, hunting and raising money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

James Harrison's Return to the NFL Brings Controversy

Sep 29, 2014

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the controversy over the return of James Harrison to the Steelers. And now that the Pirates have returned to the post-season for the second consecutive year, what are their chances of reaching the World Series?

Johnny Manziel's time is coming. For now, the most famous backup quarterback in football is merely a student.

Brian Hoyer, the journeyman veteran who beat out the Heisman Trophy winner for the starting job in Cleveland, provided a lesson in resilience on Sunday. Then Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers provided another in how to finish.

Again.

Roethlisberger hit Markus Wheaton twice during a last-gasp drive to set up Shaun Suisham's 41-yard field goal as the Steelers survived 30-27.

The NFL Takes a Stronger Stance on Domestic Violence

Sep 5, 2014

Post-Gazette Sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to discuss the Steelers' regular season opener as well as the possible outcome for two Steelers players who were stopped for marijuana possession. Also, the NFL takes a stronger stance on domestic violence.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Heinz Field’s new executive chef John DiMartini has only been on staff for three months, but he’s ready to roll out 10 new house-made menu items in time for the Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season home opener Saturday.

Available to all fans in the concession areas is the Emperor Burger, named for late Steelers head coach Chuck Noll: a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun. Also new to concession stands this season are 8-inch personal cheese and pepperoni pizzas from Fox’s Pizza Den, based in Murrysville.

Dman41689 / Wikipedia Commons

Chuck Noll’s selection of Joe Greene in the 1969 draft is believed by many to be a major changing point in the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. He was the first of many Steelers drafted by the team under Noll who went on to win four Super Bowls and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak emphasized the Steelers organization retiring a number is remarkable, as it has happened only once before Greene.

Remembering Chuck Noll and A Turning Point for Pittsburgh

Jun 16, 2014
Zennie Abraham / Flickr

Last Friday night, former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll died in his home of natural causes at the age of 82.

Noll coached the Steelers for 23 seasons and transformed the team from a long-standing joke to a championship dynasty, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls.

It can also be said that he transformed the city of Pittsburgh into a football town; with Franco’s Italian Army, the whirls of yellow at each game in the form of Myron Cope’s Terrible Towels, and the one play that's been viewed as the true turning point in Steelers history "The Immaculate Reception."

Noll was there for all of this and the driving force behind it all.

More than one-third of all U.S. children grow up without their fathers, according to the U.S. Department of Census.

That’s a statistic that Urban Impact, a faith-based community organization in Pittsburgh, wants to change.

Study: Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Take a Loss the Hardest

Dec 16, 2013
Drew Allen / flickr

According to a recent study done by Emory University, Steelers fans take losses harder than any other fan base in the NFL.

Manish Tripathi, assistant professor of Marketing at Emory University focused the research on fans' emotional responses and found out why it's more than just a game to Steelers faithful.

He says he used instantaneous social networking strategies to gauge the mood of fans after winning or losing.

Gary Pomerantz / Twitter

Mean Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris played major roles in the 1970's Steelers dynasty. On assignment for the Washington Post, in 1981, Gary Pomerantz interviewed them to see if the dynasty was in decline.

Years later Pomerantz interviewed these players and others to see how football had formed their bonds of friendship on and off the field. What he discovered is chronicled in his new book, Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now.

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