PA Governor Clears Major Hurdle for Steelers, Eagles Training Camp

tom wolf

Getty Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Will there be half-filled or empty stadiums in Pennsylvania this year? It’s the million-dollar question that no one knows the answer to.

The governors of New Jersey and New York have recently announced plans for sports teams in both states to “immediately return to practice and competition” under the specter of the novel coronavirus. With the preseason slate less than three months away, that’s a good sign. Team facilities will be opening and NFL training camps should begin on time. What that means for actual games with spectators remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf has been a bit more guarded in his plans to reopen Pennsylvania. The state is going through three phases: red, yellow, green. Philadelphia is still in the red phase and residents remain under a stay-at-home order until June 5.

UPDATE: Gov. Wolf announced on Wednesday that those counties in the yellow phase could begin practicing and facilities could reopen “without on-site or venue spectators.” Translation: the Eagles and Steelers can start training camp, assuming Philadelphia County and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) move into the yellow phase. June 5 has been the target date to go yellow.

Here is what the state announced on their website:

Professional sports, defined as any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse, are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green phases of reopening without on-site or venue spectators if the team (or league on behalf of the team) has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.

Such a plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel. Also, no fans or spectators may be permitted on interior or exterior venue property.

It looks like Pennsylvania will follow suit with its neighbors in New Jersey and New York. That means the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers can both return to the practice field in time for training camp. There would still be some social distancing guidelines, of course.

“In the end, the ultimate arbiter of our fate here when it comes to sporting events are going to be individuals who want to participate, individuals who want to be part of sports, whether it’s amateur or professional,” Wolf told reporters last week, via The Associated Press. “And we’ve got to make sure that we give them the confidence to then go to these sporting events and feel safe, that they’re not taking their lives or health into their hands.”

Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Steelers Selling Only 50-Percent of Individual Ticket Sales

The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking a cautious approach with ticket sales for the 2020 season. The team put individual tickets on sale to the public on May 22 but they only put 50-percent of those tickets on sale “out of an abundance of caution,” per team spokesman Burt Lauten.

Obviously, the Steelers don’t want to burn their fans by selling them tickets for games that aren’t open to the public. Meanwhile, the Eagles haven’t announced any plans to put individual tickets on sale. Last year, they went on sale on May 14 at 10 a.m. Season-ticket holders have already been informed that the second installment payment (due on April 16) had been postponed.

“The timing of future payments will be determined and communicated at a later date,” the team wrote in a letter. “We are closely monitoring developments and will evaluate every option to ensure that you have the flexibility to make your scheduled payments within a reasonable time.”

Is New Jersey Feasible for Eagles to Conduct Camp?

If Pennsylvania continues to drag its feet about reopening, could New Jersey be a viable option for the Eagles to conduct training camp? Maybe. The Steelers have reportedly already been looking at other potential sites for camp, including possibly doing it in Ohio. Head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed the team is “looking at all options.”

For the Eagles, they could look across the Delaware River to New Jersey. The Sixers began a “phased reopening of their practice facility” in Camden, NJ on Wednesday for individual workouts, all voluntary. The NBA is moving fast and has a proposal in place to begin an expedited playoff format in late July. All games would be played at Walt Disney World.

Rowan University’s Richard Wackar Stadium is only 30 minutes from downtown Philadelphia and could provide a makeshift facility for the Eagles to get their reps in. Far from the luxuries of the NovaCare Complex, it’s better than nothing. Or Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium is further up the New Jersey Turnpike, about an hour away.

Pure speculation here. Other nearby options include Arm & Hammer Park (baseball stadium) or CURE Insurance Arena (multi-purpose indoor arena), both located in Trenton, NJ. Pennsylvania might be open by the time they figure out logistics. For now, the Eagles can continue to battle at Fletcher Cox’s ranch in Texas.

Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

READ NEXT: Browns Top Pick Jedrick Wills Reveals New Jersey Number

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x