Three Rivers Stadium Destroyed

Sunday, February 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A cloud of dust went up, and Three Rivers Stadium came down.

Sunday saw the end of one of the nation's best-known stadiums — site of one of football's most famous plays and a Pittsburgh pro sports resurgence in the 1970s.

Thousands of onlookers cheered the implosion of the 30-year-old home of the Pirates and Steelers. Experts loaded 4,800 pound of dynamite into the mammoth circular stadium last week to clear the way for separate baseball and football stadiums nearby.

The stadium's western wall tumbled inward and the rest of the structure collapsed into a cloud of dust. The $5.1 million implosion lasted about 19 seconds.

``This is a very bittersweet day for me,'' said Mayor Tom Murphy.

Three Rivers opened in 1970 at a cost of $36 million. It immediately boosted the sagging fortunes of the Pirates and Steelers.

After moving in at midseason, the Pirates ended a 10-year championship drought by winning the first of their nine divisional titles. They also won two NL pennants and World Series titles in 1971 and 1979.

The Steelers soon became a dynasty, winning four Super Bowls in six years and churning out several Hall of Famers.

The stadium also saw one of the most famous plays in NFL history, a wildly deflected touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris in a 1972 playoff game that was instantly dubbed the ``Immaculate Reception.''