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Steelers Make Case for New Stadium

December 9, 1998

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ His team’s shaky stadium concerns Bill Cowher almost as much as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ shaky playoff hopes.

Cowher’s first thought when a 6-foot section of Three Rivers Stadium wall crumbled onto the field late in Sunday’s 23-9 loss to New England: ``Too bad this wasn’t the week before the referendum.″

Cowher referred to the failed November, 1997 vote to temporarily raise taxes to help pay for new Steelers and Pirates stadiums. The plan has since been altered to include only existing taxes, but Pennsylvania’s General Assembly still hasn’t agreed to fund a one-third share of the cost.

``I thought about it after watching the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia on Saturday and seeing the incident happen here,″ Cowher said. ``You can talk about wanting new stadiums for revenue. We want new stadiums for safety.″

Nine students were injured when a railing broke in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium as they cheered for TV cameras, sending them tumbling about 15 feet to the field. One spent the night in a hospital.

Cowher was asked if the accidents emphasize the need for new football stadiums in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

``I’m just looking at it from a safety standpoint,″ he said. ``I start seeing things like this, and how else can I look at it? If I were standing up there (in the standing room area where the wall collapsed), I certainly wouldn’t be leaning.″

Three Rivers Stadium officials blamed the collapse on a small group of fans who continually pushed and shoved on the wall.

Extra security will be in place for remaining Steelers home games, and a railing may be erected to block fans from standing directly behind the end zone walls.

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