A warm welcome to Steelers Nation

The Steelers will play their first home game of the season when they host the Minnesota Vikings at Heinz Field on Sunday, and their tiniest fans will be ready.

Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC hosted a Steelers Kickoff Rally on Tuesday, with newborn infants wearing Steelers onesies, football beanies and Terrible Towels draped over their bassinets in the hospital nursery, while staff was decked out in their black and gold and bringing plenty of energy.

"We have always had excitement at Magee for the Steelers," said Jeff Hodges, Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer. "A lot of it has been around the playoffs. I think it's so exciting to have something at the beginning of the season, kicking off the season. It's about what we do. New beginnings, the start of things. It's a great tie in for the two together.

"Everybody is so excited. The staff is excited. We are excited to bring new members to Steelers Nation. The families are into it. They are lined up at the nursery windows with the babies lined up, the nurses in their gear, and everyone taking pictures."

Steelers Joshua Dobbs and Terrell Watson were on hand, getting everyone excited while at the same time enjoying spending time with the infants. Dobbs admitted it was the first time he held a newborn, and was a little nervous, even though he has held babies before.

"It was really cool meeting some of the new babies," said Dobbs. "It was crazy seeing how small they were. Some of them were born less than 12 hours ago. I was asleep less than 12 hours ago in my apartment. It was fun. It was kind of a surreal experience to see it.

"They are right out of the womb and already Steelers fans. It shows it's a culture, being a Steelers fan. You go in, bring their first Terrible Towel and first onesie that says rookie season, or brand new. It's crazy to see the parent's reaction, that this is my kids first Terrible Towel and it's actually a big deal. It shows you it's an intense culture around Steelers football."

While the infants might be a little tiny to remember the day, for the families it's a special moment that they will be able to share for a lifetime.

"I am a lifelong Steelers fan," said Hodges. "I think about how many great memories people have from the Steelers. When you correspond that with what we do at Magee, the start of a new family and what is all involved with this. Knowing how the families look forward to this, and remember it, it's a really big deal for everybody.

"These are two great institutions. You have the Steelers who make up so much of what happens in Western Pennsylvania, and Magee is the same way. Wherever I go I hear stories of people who were born at Magee. It's the same with Steelers Nation. Wherever you go, they are there."

Even the tiniest ones.

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