Joe L. suggested I write a piece about sitting in the Heinz Field (yes, Heinz Field!!) press box during a Pitt game so here goes.
First off as nice as it is to be invited it really isn’t as much fun as sitting in the stands with POVers. Everyone in the press box is really friendly, especially EJ Borghetti and the rest of his staff. They provide a great pre-game buffet and drinks with an adjoining room where you can sit and eat while watching a big screen with the pre-game shows on it. I don’t usually sit in there as if I’m in PGH I’m with the POV tailgaters until just before kickoff.
Here is a listing of all the seats assigned (I’m not real good with cell phone photos.)
There are four (?) levels of seats in the box – which is located on the side of the stadium next to the Carnegie Science Center. The left side of the actual press box starts at around the 50 yard line, the radio broadcast box sits right on it. The important print/internet/whatever media types have most of the first two rows starting from the left side. The left is closest to the 50.
Then here is what is around me looking over to there – past this is the main radio broadcast from 93.7 The Fan. Those are the two vertical windows by the left monitor facing the rest of the box (I think). In that lower left corner is where the most-favored media sits as stated above. I believe there is a Spanish broadcast booth off the right side of the box.
Those people are from, in order, Post-Gazette, the Trib, Panther Lair, DK Sports and such. Surprisingly The Pitt POV is also assigned a front row seat but much farther to the right and closer to the end zone but I don’t usually sit there.
The second row is where the decision makers sit – officials doing replays, scoreboard, game clock, and play clock, lots of radio personnel along with bowl scouts. This game we had reps from the Chick Fill-A and Gator Bowls sitting with the Maxwell Award scout.
The third row is interesting as it comprises Pitt Public Affairs kids along with local TV media personnel and NFL scouts. The NFL teams sending scouts Saturday were: Steelers, 49ers, Bills, Colts, Dolphins, Seahawks and Jaguars.
Something to remember about scouts of all kinds is that are mostly local ‘stringers’ who mainly do broad canvassing of local teams/talent then send reports into their employers – if they ping on someone special then the NFL teams send their major scouts to do follow-up and more in-depth reporting. Some major print/Internet outlets like Sports Illustrated and others use stringers like that also.
When you’re done eating, drinking and schmoozing you are ready to move to your assigned seating for that pre-game stuff and coin toss. As you can see by the seating list graphic above The POV was assigned in the 40s for this game which is nice. However I always take a seat way up on the fourth (3rd? I’m confused) level so I can get closer to the mid-field and have less people around me as I like to, gently, cheer and groan as appropriate (and sneak a vape now and again – don’t tell EJ, usually I go to the bathroom for that).
Now, this was a big game. Next home game against Rhode Island seating will be much more compact as many less outlets will not care all that much.
Speaking of which they make a rather stern announcement about ten minutes before kickoff stating that the Box is a ‘professional area’ and as such no cheering, yelling, swearing, etc. will be tolerated and if you do so they will kick your ass out. I paraphrase there.
First here is my layout:
Here is a view of pre-game warmups from the box:
Here is a foggy look at some of the seating below and to the right of where I sat.
Here is a another look at the band, this time doing a more recognizable Pitt Script.:
There you have it – sorry for the crappy photos but I hope you now have a sense of what goes on up there and what it looks and feels like to be there on gameday. EJ called me back in 2010 when I was writing on The Pitt Blather and offered me media credentials and I thank him for that.
Sometimes I wish I lived in Pittsburgh and could devote more of my retired time to Pitt football and then really give the POV blog some looks into the background of the program and the admin surrounding it.
But, I also love living down here in Maryland – so maybe two or three times a year. I do plan on being more involved with Pitt football than I was the last few years. It was pretty much impossible for me to follow anything related last season but I’ll be more in-tune and involved now.
20 thoughts on “A View From the Press Box”
First off, a tip of the hat to JoeL for such a great suggestion
Next, thanks to Reed for the informative look. Really enjoyed it. Reed, did you schmooze with … local sportswriters? Pat B? Anyone from Tennessee?
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This was a pretty cool article. I’m glad Joe L suggested it.
Great idea for an article! This was a fun insider look at the press box. Glad to see you posting regularly Reed!!!
EJ is a good man. Pitt has far too few of them and ladies who know sports as a business but more importantly as a bridge to the community.
Salute to the Pitt Alumni Association and the Clipper for Vols fans. Classy move unlike the ticket office.
Reed – thanks for doing that!
We hear about it from time to time on the radio and in print, but always wanted a little more insight.
If I remember correctly, you were in there for the first half. Given the start to the game, did you pick up on any rule-breaking… i.e. hear any muffled cheers or expletives? DId you speak with any of the other folks in there… Jerry DiPaola or Chris Peak for instance?
And for the replay review, does one here an offical say, “oh, they may have missed that call. Will need to buzz them.”
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You are welcome guys. Good to see you enjoy it.
I couldn’t hear the box officials talking – and truth be told I may be misleading you a bit – the officials on the field have the main monitor and look at that while discussing the rules applications with the officials up in the box.
From what I understand the upstairs guys see exactly the same film as the field guys – but then the field official(s) make the final determination. I believe the field officials make the call for a review – they don’t get buzzed by the box officials.
In essence the box officials are the supporting staff.
Yes, the UT media guys I talked with were as nice as the UT fans I talked with – class acts all around.
I didn’t really schmooze with anyone because as I said I’d rather spend time with you guys then with the admin/media people. EJ has called me on occasion and I’ve call to talk with him – both about Pitt FB issues and outside stuff.
We also email each other often so really no need for us to do anything but say hello at the games – EJ is super busy on gameday as is his staff and honestly, they do a fantastic job not only on gamedays but all year round – it isn’t just FB that keeps them busy but every Pitt athletic team.
Rich has a pre-game article that will post at 6pm this evening and I’ll do the gameday threads/predictions, etc.
I still have to go over the predictions from the UT game but I might have been closest. I’ll not accept any trophy or monetary awards though.
Thanks for the insight, Reed.
I think there should be a permanent Last-Row seat in the Press Box for, well, you know, Lastrow!
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Nice seeing how the other half live.
I enjoyed it. Always been interested in what occurs in the Press Box. Now I have a better understanding. Maybe would like to visit and see in person but would rather sit in the stands.
Leaving for Columbia in next half hour for my daughter’s surprise birthday party.
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I guess she’s not a POV reader…. 😊
Thanks Reed – very cool!
Per Trib, Slovis is game time decision and Patti may not be available
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I agree, great idea for an article, Joe. And thank you Reed for taking the time to put the piece together. Sounds like the POV needs a Pittsburgh “stringer” to fill in for you at the other four home games. A volunteer position of course.
Would be perfect for a retired guy who has a balanced view of the program. Know anyone who fits thats profile :))
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Excellent work Reed…and an enjoyable read.
Another great idea from JoeL.
Thanks for the article, Reed! It was interesting to hear what goes on up there.
Thanks for the article and tour. I think I’ll just stay in my club seats on the 45 yd line.
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