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Official Review by Steven Bieniek, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Arthur J. Rooney Field is named after the Chief himself. The former owner of the Steelers would be proud of this stadium, despite its small size. Duquesne University is a small university, so this stadium really reflects the university nicely. While the atmosphere may not quite match Mr. Rooney’s Steelers atmosphere at Heinz Field, it will provide a very enjoyable day of football.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is really not a whole lot to talk about as far as concessions go. The lone interesting item is that there is a concession stand outside the stadium, and there is only one concession stand inside the stadium. The stand outside of the stadium has a grill that includes hamburgers and cheeseburgers, but other than that; both stands are pretty much the same.
There are very few options; if you're looking for anything other than hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzels or Shearer's chips, you're going to be out of luck. The quality of everything is pretty good, but the prices are a little goofy. Hamburgers are $5 and hot dogs are $3.50. You can make either of these into a combo that includes chips and a soda, but it will set you back $7.50 either way.
When you see the stadium for the first time, you may not expect much out of it since the stadium is really small. However, the atmosphere is actually fun and exciting. When you read the free program, you will notice that there are a lot of local players on the home team and possibly on the away team if they are a conference rival. This will cause a lot of extra yelling and screaming from the fans and students. The away fans are also very loud, but part of that may be from the fact that the away side of the field is literally stone steps and not very comfortable. As you can see from the pictures, if you're coming to support Duquesne's opponent, you might want to sneak over to the home side.
The Duquesne band would be great, but they are stationed on the far end of the stadium where they can barely be heard. Where you could find some extra noise would be from outside the stadium, because this is one of the few stadiums where you can actually watch the game from outside the stadium.
Behind the away side, there are a few spots where you can stand for the whole game without buying a ticket, but you're not going to see every part of the game well. Overall, the stadium is a great atmosphere for a college game. You're not going to mistake this for an FBS stadium; more like the equivalent of going to a Minor League baseball game.
Duquesne is right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh, and the stadium is right in the middle of the campus. The campus itself is not going to offer a lot of options, but you'll have plenty of choices for restaurants, bars, and anything else in other parts of the city. Pittsburgh's North Shore, Strip District and the rest of downtown are all just a short drive away.
The campus is just a few blocks and a right hand turn away from Consol Energy Center; so it is really in the same neighborhood. Pittsburgh is a pretty safe city overall, but the area immediately around the campus is not the best place to be walking after dark. However, once you get a couple of blocks away, there will be a lot more people around. After all, Pittsburgh is one of the safer cities in America. To sum up, if you're looking for places to hang out before or after the game, the best places to go would be the North Shore or Strip District.
The fans and students at Duquesne are very upbeat and supportive of the team. The stadium is small, but there will be people standing behind the general admission area and lined all around the stadium. Most of the fans there will most likely either know a player on one of the teams or will be a student. The fans around you will be very nice and supportive, and they make the atmosphere enjoyable and relaxing.
There is one male bathroom and one female bathroom on either end of the stadium. When the stadium is full, both bathrooms get very long lines, especially at halftime.
Parking isn't quite as bad, but you're still right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh. There are a few garages within a short walking distance, and the price should be reasonable on Saturdays, depending on which garage you park in. Just be sure to park in one of the garages on Forbes Avenue, as those will be the closest to the campus. After parking, continue to the campus buildings, and you'll be able to find directions as to where the stadium is located on campus.
General admission tickets will run $10 for advanced purchase, and you can purchase reserve seats at the gate for $15. The stadium still looks and feels new; however, you're not going to get the thrills that you would at a bigger stadium. The price you pay for the ticket is for the football game and that's pretty much it. The atmosphere made by the students and fans will more than make up for the lack of amenities. You won't mistake this for an FBS or NFL game. But again, this will be a very nice relaxing Saturday, and you won't regret getting to see the rest of the beautiful campus on the way to the stadium.
The first extra star is for the Duquesne Duke mascot and his great dance moves. He would toss t-shirts and mini footballs into the crowd in between quarters and really kept up with the crowd. Be sure to check out the great dance moves he has at half time as well. The second extra star is for the free programs that stadium staff actually walk around and hand out.
Duquesne University is proof that Pittsburgh is not just the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, and Panthers. Despite its size, Arthur J. Rooney Field is definitely worth the trip because of its great atmosphere and campus scenery. Whether you're a Pittsburgh local or just in town on a football weekend, I'd highly suggest taking in a Duquesne Dukes football game.
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