With Pope Francis opting to scale back his Vatican-provided transportation, it was only fitting that Don Zadach, the self-styled "Pope Yinzer," do the same.
"We came on the T," said Mr. Zadach, who was offering black-and-yellow blessings to passers-by today as he and his wife, Remy, walked around PNC Park. Mr. Zadach, 55, of Jefferson Hills, who used to dress as a Steelers Santa Claus, said he came down well in advance of the 8:30 p.m. kickoff against the Chicago Bears to "watch the chaos" as the city and team officials try to coordinate traffic and parking issues for the more than 100,000 fans combined expected to attend the Pirates home game against the Cincinnati Reds and the Steelers game. However, with the Pirates on the wrong end of the score, he said, traffic and parking might not be as big of a problem as predicted. "With the Pirates losing, people may get out early," Mr. Zadach said.
Tony DeLoia, 59, of Dubois, who was headed to the Steelers game with family and friends, said he parked Downtown and walked over the Clemente Bridge.
"We knew Pittsburgh was going to be kind of crazy," Mr. DeLoia said. "I had nightmares about it last night, thinking it was going to be horrible. ... It's been OK so far."
With many parking lots closed to Steelers fans until 6 p.m., there was only one sure way to arrive with a place to park.
Pete Castellano, 51, of the North Hills, and his boat,"My Goomah," were among dozens of boats moored on the north bank of the Allegheny River.
"It gives us an opportunity to tailgate and have fun without paying the ridiculous price for parking," Mr. Castellano said.
Outside PNC Park, Pittsburgh police Lt. Matt Lackner said Pirates fans were rapidly departing to make room for Steelers fans, who were asked to delay their arrival until 6 p.m.
"It's going very well right now," Lt. Lackner said. "They appear to be heeding that."