In Pittsburgh, football is as much a religion as it is a weekend afternoon activity. Keep the Steelers spirit alive by abiding by these 10 commandments of tailgating in Pittsburgh.
1. Thou shall be the first to get there and the last to leave. Plan to kick off your tailgating party about four hours before the scheduled kickoff time when many of the stadium’s surrounding parking lots open. And don’t even think about leaving before the game ends. (Related: Tailgating Parking Tips For Heinz Field)
2. Thou shall wave thy Terrible Towel. Any Steelers fan knows that you can’t honorably cheer on the black and gold without a wave from what is undeniably the most famous sports rally towel of all time, the Terrible Towel. Wave it proudly, drape it over your tailgating chair in a show of support or simply throw it over your head for a makeshift umbrella. However you choose to use your Terrible Towel, make sure you do so with Pittsburgh pride!
3. Thou shall consume only the most authentic Pittsburgh fare. Heinz ketchup and Rolling Rock beer are among the essentials at any Pittsburgh tailgate. Pair these with other Pittsburgh favorites including Italian sausage, pierogies, burgers, hot dogs and dips for the ultimate Pittsburgh tailgating cuisine. (Related: Best Tailgating Dips For Pittsburgh Steelers Games)
4. Thou shall designate a driver. Between I.C. Light, Rolling Rock and the countless downtown sports bars that serve these game-day favorites, Pittsburgh has solidified its reputation as a drinking town with a football problem. Unfortunately, the city’s love of locally brewed beer means that Pittsburgh also ranks high among DUI arrests and fatalities. Be smart and designate a driver prior to your tailgating experience.
5. Thou shall keep Game Day holy. For the most diehard Steelers fans, game day is their one day out of a busy workweek to enjoy good friends, good food and what all Steelers fans hope for: a good game. Play a round of cornhole, toss the frisbee or football, fire up the holy grill, wave your Terrible Towel and partake in a little friendly football banter with your rivals, but do so in good sportsmanship. Tailgating fans are all there for the same reasons: to support their team and hopefully score a win. Keep the experience enjoyable and safe for all fans.
6. Thou shall honor parking lines and traffic signs. Navigating the entrances into the stadium can be tricky and extremely congested, particularly if you are entering the city through the Fort Pitt tunnel. Be a patient and courteous driver, obey traffic laws and wait until you reach your parking spot before you think about tailgating.
7. Thou shall know the words to every Steelers song. From classic rally songs to hilarious Steelers parodies, there’s a song that’s sure to appeal to every black and gold fan. Load these onto your playlist for the most rocking party. (Related: Best Tailgating Playlist For Pittsburgh)
8. Thou shall not steal thy neighbor’s parking spot. At Heinz Field’s lots, each tailgating vehicle can only take up one spot. Double-parking is prohibited in all lots and city police are on patrol in all pre-sold lots to enforce these policies.
9. Thou shall not lose thy vehicle. With 6,187 parking spaces in the Heinz Field lots, it’s not hard to lose your vehicle in a sea of cars, especially if you’ve partaken in a few adult beverages or find yourself leaving the game at night. Take note of your surroundings and any landmarks near your parking space to make exiting the game much less stressful and quicker.
10. Thou shall honor thy black and gold. It doesn’t matter if you sport your support via your favorite player’s jersey, face paint or in any team getup you can create, just don’t leave home without your black and gold.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.