In 22 days the Pittsburgh Steelers players will do something they haven’t done since 2019, and that being report to a training camp outside of Pittsburgh. The team will be back at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA once again, living in dorms and having the experience of having nothing but football on their minds for the month, or so, they are in that part of western Pennsylvania.
The past two seasons the team hasn’t traveled out of Pittsburgh for obvious reasons. 2020 was when things were shut down due to protocols, and in 2021 it was reported there would be limited fans permitted to attend due to protocols, so the team decided to stay in town. Now, with restrictions lifted the Steelers are heading back to Latrobe.
The last time the Steelers were there was when tragedy struck. 2019 was the camp when the team had to deal with the death of wide receivers coach Daryl Drake at camp, something which wrecked the team, especially the receivers.
Now the team returns, and all that was said between 2019 and 2022 was how they missed being in the college environment. How they value their time in Latrobe. Before a decision was made final this offseason, some thought the Steelers wouldn’t be going back to Latrobe, doing what so many other NFL teams have done in the past and just stay in the comfort of their team headquarters, opting for a handful of open practices for fans to attend.
Throughout this time, it made you question whether the team truly values their time there, or if it is more just for the fans. As my mind works, this brought up a follow-up question...
Does going to Saint Vincent even matter? Does being in that environment do anything to help forge a better Steelers team?
You hear a lot about how the players despise the dorm set up, and can’t wait to get back to the comforts of their homes. Then you hear others who talk about the comradery built during their time there. When Mike Tomlin was on the Pivot Podcast with Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor he spoke about those nights where players sat on a curb outside a dorm talking. Not about football, but life, and how those moments help create a brotherhood which can’t be duplicated just anywhere.
Don’t confuse this question with if the team can improve from the X’s and O’s during camp. Every training camp, no matter where it is located, will have players working on their craft as they trim their roster from 90 to 53. If the Steelers being on Chuck Noll field somehow helps trimming the roster easier is up for debate.
In my opinion, I feel the Steelers making the trek to Latrobe does matter. I think the bond which is developed on the road, albeit in Latrobe, is one which is tough to duplicate elsewhere. Anyone who has ever attended a camp, doesn’t have to be a sports camp, which was away from home typically talks about how the experience was different...usually for the better.
But this is when I want to open up the question for you to respond. Do you think the Steelers going back to Saint Vincent matters? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp in just a couple weeks.