Pittsburgh still in relative state of ‘normalcy’

Tim McGraw and Black Eyed Peas celebrating NFL Opening Kickoff 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Frank Tadych / NFL.com)

Fans wait for Tim McGraw and The Black Eyed Peas to take the stage Thursday in Pittsburgh. (Frank Tadych / NFL.com)

PITTSBURGH – In a few hours, downtown Pittsburgh will be transformed into a giant party, courtesy NFL Opening Kickoff 2009 Presented by EA Sports. For now, things appear relatively normal.

Well, if normal is Yinzers (just learned this term, which refers to stereotypical blue-collar Pittsburghers) wearing Steelers’ jerseys to work on game days. It kind of depends on your definition of just what normal is. Thanks to Kellen at Six Penn Kitchen for the knowledge. Now feeling a little bit less of a tourist.

For those of you lucky enough to be in Pittsburgh today, I want to pass along a few details. The gates for the Kickoff event at Point State Park open at 4 p.m. ET. Something I didn’t know is that the two concerts today — Tim McGraw (5:30 p.m.) and The Black Eyed Peas (6:40 p.m.) — will be playing for an hour each. Worth the price of admission, even if it wasn’t free. Each then will come back for two-song encores starting at 7:50 p.m., which is what those of you watching on TV (NFL Network and NBC) will see.

A number of former NFLers also will be attending, too many to mention, but those with Steelers ties include Rocky Bleier, Chad Brown, Mark Bruener, L.C. Greenwood, Franco Harris, Merril Hoge, Kordell Stewart and NFL Network’s Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. I’ll make sure to catch up with as many of the guys as I can to get their take on tonight’s game.

Two somewhat unrelated notes. One, the pulled pork sandwich at Six Penn Kitchen downtown is good enough that you want to eat two (no, I didn’t, but it crossed my mind). Two, it’s amazing how difficult blogging can be when the “u” key on your keyboard is stuck. Who knew?

Heading over to the park and then the stadium soon and will be chatting with Harry Connick Jr. — who will sing tonight’s National Anthem — later, as well. I’m told he’s a huge fan. You also can follow all of what’s going on today on twitter @nfl.

— Frank Tadych

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