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Pittsburgh hosting the 2026 NFL Draft will be huge and scary

In the biggest news to hit the city since local boy Michael Keaton won a Golden Globe for best actor for the movie, Birdman, the NFL officially announced on Wednesday that Pittsburgh will host the 2026 NFL Draft.

Wow. This is seriously going to be huge for our little burg, the one with the “h” on the end of it that a lot of folks forget to add whenever they’re mentioning it on X. Many of those same folks throw in a “K” when talking about what a great head coach Chuck Noll was during his 23-year tenure in Pittsburgh.

Anyway, the point is this: Many of those same people will be headed to Pittsburgh for the 2026 NFL Draft, and I’m already getting chills. Yes, chills of excitement, of course. I mean, this is going to be like having the marathon, a Steelers game, a fireworks night after a Pirates game, a Penguins Stanley Cup parade, Picklesburgh and a Kenny Chesney concert in the city all at the same time.

I’m also getting chills of anxiety. After all, this is going to be like having the marathon, a Steelers game, a fireworks night after a Pirates game, a Penguins Stanley Cup parade, Picklesburgh and a Kenny Chesney concert in the city all at the same time.

Where are we going to put all of these people?

You know you’re officially old (the NFL Draft will happen on the eve of my 54th birthday) when you start getting nervous about the number of people who will be coming to your city to celebrate the draft of your favorite sport.

Just how many people will be coming to town for this three-day event? I’m not sure, but the city of Detroit (population: 639,111 according to the 2020 census) claims that it set a record when 775,000 people attended the recently concluded 2024 NFL Draft.

I don’t know if that number is correct, but Nashville (population: 715,884 according to the 2020 census) reportedly held the previous record when 600,000 people poured into the city for the 2019 NFL Draft.

How about a city that is similar to Pittsburgh in terms of population? Cleveland (population: 372,624 according to the 2020 census) claimed that 160,000 people converged on the town for the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, remember, COVID was still a huge deal in the spring of 2021, and while it’s impossible to say, it stands to reason that even more folks would have rocked Cleveland had a first-in-a-century pandemic not been our reality then.

We might get a glance at how nightmarish the logistics for the 2026 NFL Draft will be for Pittsburgh (population: 303,034 according to World Population Review) when Green Bay (population: 104,936 according to World Population Review) hosts the 2025 NFL Draft.

Back to Pittsburgh.

Where will the draft be held? How many streets will the city shut down for the three-day event? How impossible will parking be?

What about the traffic? Let’s be honest, we’re talking about a city where bottlenecking is to rush hour traffic what the trap block was to the running game when Chuck (K)Noll coached the Steelers.

I realize it’s silly to worry about something that will happen two years down the road, but I drive for a living, and I plan on having the same job two years from now. I work for a great company, but I might have to develop symptoms of COVID during the weekend of the 2026 NFL Draft. No, not so I can attend the event–that would be insane. Instead, I’ll just hunker down in my apartment for three days and hope that my town is still intact when I poke my head out.

In all seriousness, this is a huge deal for Pittsburgh. The 2021 NFL Draft reportedly pumped $42 million into the city of Cleveland. That’s not quite Taylor Swift concert money, but it’s still a lot of revenue.

I expect a ton of rabid football fans to converge on the city of Pittsburgh for the 2026 NFL Draft. And not just out-of-town Steelers faithful, either. Here’s an article from Bills Wire encouraging their table-crashing mafia to invade Pittsburgh and partake in the 2026 NFL Draft. Buffalo is fairly close to Pittsburgh in terms of proximity (215 miles by car if you take I-79 S). I can see the Bills Mafia crashing into Pittsburgh to celebrate the draft. The Bills will probably have the number-one pick that year (that championship window has already closed). Their fans will likely be eager to see who the franchise selects to replace Josh Allen (he’ll either be retired by then due to his constant need to impersonate Mike Alstott’s running style, or he’ll be the new quarterback of the Rams after demanding a trade).

I envision those smug Lions fans overtaking the city of Pittsburgh for the 2026 NFL Draft. The Lions will likely be two-time-defending Super Bowl champions by then. Jared Goff will be the new G.O.A.T. And Ryan Gosling will play him in the movie about his life that will stream on Netflix. Dan Campbell will be the barometer by which we measure all NFL head coaches (especially that damn Mike Tomlin, who will again have his team drafting somewhere around 20).

It will be payback for what Steelers fans did to the city of Detroit during the week of Super Bowl XL. It will also be the 20th anniversary of The One for the Thumb.


Anyway, congratulations to the city of Pittsburgh. You deserve it.

Finally, some advice for you folks who will be invading the city in two years: Don’t forget that “h” when talking about our burg, and do forget the “K” when mentioning our Hall of Fame football coach.

The first Hall of Fame head coach. But remember that the second one has an “h” in his surname.

You damn people forget about that all the time when accusing Mike Tomlinson of winning with his players.


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