The Pope is expected to spend several days watching practice and mingling with fans. Reports that he planned to coach the defense in the Steelers legendary “goal-line” drill remain unconfirmed.
The primary reason for the visit, however, is to resolve the contract dispute that threatens to become a gigantic distraction for first year coach Mike Tomlin. “The Holy Father has been following developments in this situation very closely,” said a spokesman for the Vatican who wished to remain anonymous. “One of the central missions of his papacy, as he stated early on, is to bring peace where there is war, and to reconcile those in conflict. The Holy Father believes the continuation of hostilities between the Rooney family and Mr. Faneca would do grievous damage to both parties, not to mention create innumerable crisis of faith in the souls of the greatest fans in the world.”
Details of the pilgrimage are expected to be released by the NFL commissioner’s office this morning. This is the second time a Pope has visited Steelers training camp. In 1974, Pope Paul VI met with members of the Steel Curtain and gave them a general absolution for any personal fouls committed in the course of the season.