Fans help fire up Steelers


The atmosphere at Heinz Field on Friday night was electric, as fans turned for the team's pep rally before they depart for Super Bowl XLV on Monday.

Cold temperatures and a light snow didn't seem to bother the enthusiastic crowd, who grew in numbers and volume as the evening wore on.

"You know Steelers Nation is going to show up and be everywhere," said wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. "But to have them show up here tonight is great. I love the way they yell for us. You get hyped tonight, but you have to be able to harness it and unleash it when it's time."

Both Art and Dan Rooney were on hand to thank the crowd, as were Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

"This is great for the city," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "Growing up a Steelers fan and to have the opportunity to represent the city as the mayor is special. The wonderful publicity and good PR we get is hard to measure. It's great for the city and we are proud of the Steelers.

"I said two years ago when I had the chance to represent the city as the mayor at the Super Bowl I said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Fortunately I was wrong. It never gets old. It's a wonderful tribute to the Rooney family and everything they represent."

Shortly before the players took the field Styx hit "Renegade" blared throughout the stadium while hard-hitting video highlights from the playoffs were shown and the crowd went nuts.

And then it was the moment everyone was waiting for as they welcomed their AFC Champion Steelers to the stage.

Players high-fived fans, some threw Terrible Towels into the crowd and others just savored every moment of the fun night.

"It's definitely wonderful," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "This is my second pep rally in four years. This is special, it's nice and it's great to hear the fans cheer one last time before we head to Dallas. It's great to have so much support. Whether it's on the field or off the field you always have Steelers Nation there to support you. I know we are going to have a lot of fans in Dallas next week too."

Players addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support all season and promising to give 110 percent next week against the Green Bay Packers.

"It feels good," said tackle Flozell Adams, playing in his first Super Bowl in his 13-year NFL career. "I was watching the news beforehand and people said the fans were there for a few hours already. It's good to come out and support the fans because they support us. It was a no-brainer being here tonight. We can't do anything but appreciate the fans."

Adams said he is enjoying the excitement around the city, but not losing sight for a minute of what the ultimate goal is.

"To make it to the Super Bowl is an honor," said Adams. "Everybody is excited to go, but more importantly a lot of people on the team want to win instead of just being happy being there."

The night fittingly ended with a crowd favorite when "Here We Go" was played, with many of the players singing along and thanking the fans some more.

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