The Pittsburgh Steelers will be adding to the Heinz Field experience for fans in 2022. They announced on Twitter that a Hall of Honor Museum would open during the 2022 regular season. It will be near Gate B above the team’s Pro Shop. Fans will be able to visit year-round after it is officially open. This is an exciting development for fans of the Black and Gold and should make for an exciting pregame ceremony when the team announces the official opening date.
A lot of NFL teams have Rings of Honor, but very few teams could open a Hall of Honor Museum as a year-round attraction. I am looking forward to what the Rooney family has in store and wonder if they will have a sense of humor about the exhibits that likely harken back to some of the great moments in Steelers history. Here are a couple exhibits I would love to see:
Jesse James Caught the Ball
Super slow-motion replays, which show what we all know. James caught that pass and scored. Fans could participate in interactive fun by pretending they were the referee instead of Tony Corrente and got the call right and signaled touchdown. If you are not a Steelers fan and you wish to comment how Steeler Nation should get over this, I would like to point out that we can make sure that never happens with this exhibit.
Bill Cowher Picture Stuffing
Most of us know the story. On September 24, 1995, Cowher decided to get an early start practicing how to stuff a Thanksgiving turkey and jammed a picture into Gordon McCarter’s referee jersey demonstrating how they had blown a 12 men on the field call. Fans could take still frame photos from the missing Spygate film and stuff them into a likeness of a referee while posing for commemorative photos.
Patriots Rage Room
All good museums need a crowd-pleasing good time for the kids. Those of you who have ever visited one of these modern pleasure palaces know how much fun it is to take a bat, a golf club, or some other blunt object to a bunch of items that may not react well. Smashing up video cameras, televisions, Gatorade coolers, and an assortment of New England Patriots memorabilia while life sized photographs of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft look on the scene with sheer terror on their faces would be oddly satisfying. Forget the kids, I want to do that.
Mike Tomlin Press Conference Experience
Few coaches in NFL history have been better at press conferences than Mike Tomlin. At this attraction, fellow attendees could lob questions to you for 60 seconds while you are filmed spouting your best Tomlinisms. All-time great lines like “the standard is the standard,” “never say never, but never,” and of course my personal favorite, “we need volunteers, not hostages.” At the end of every tape, Tomlin could be inserted with someone asking why he chose to have you do the press conference? Tomlin would respond on cue with “he didn’t kill us.”
Currently 45 Steelers are in the Hall of Honor. You can view the list here. The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH has 346 members. The Steelers have the third highest total of Hall of Famers with 32 enshrined in Canton. That is nearly 10% of the Hall of Fame and players like Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, and Hines Ward are likely to add to this total in the near future. The Steelers Hall of Honor Museum should be a must visit for not only fans of the Black and Gold, but any pro football fan. It will be interesting to see how the players and memorabilia are presented in the new museum. The Steelers are an original NFL franchise and along with the Mara family who owns the New York Giants, the only two remaining franchises that have never changed hands.
It will be great for younger fans to learn about players like Bobby Layne, Ernie Stautner and John Henry Johnson who toiled for the Black and Gold before the Super Bowl era. They can look to the greatest team ever assembled in the 1970’s Chuck Noll Steelers and the ridiculous amount of Hall of Famers from that timespan. Younger fans can look back on the Cowher and Tomlin teams with the fond memories that older fans have about the 1970’s Steel Curtain. One or two ancient fans might remember the ’63 Steelers and how close they came to changing the course of the franchise.
There will be no Steeler bias from the national media at the Steelers Hall of Honor. Egregious Hall of Fame errors can be highlighted like L.C. Greenwood not being enshrined. Andy Russell, Greg Lloyd, and Carnell Lake won’t have to worry about writers overlooking them year after year. I know the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have more Hall of Famers than the Steelers, but if the ‘you can’t put all the Steelers in the Hall of Fame’ attitude did not prevail throughout the voting block that chooses the electorate, the Black and Gold would pass them over the next couple of years.
What kind of interactive exhibit would you want to see, Steeler Nation? Tongue in cheek experiences next to great pieces of the team’s storied history, or just hallowed ground where we view our heroes with the reverence they deserve?
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