Steelers Nation Unite

Fans part of Sunday's action

Take a look at what went on with Steelers Nation Unite during the team's 2015 preseason home opener.

Sunday's preseason home opener was fairly typical for fans on a Steelers Sunday in Pittsburgh. Attending the game with family and friends, these fans were looking forward to go home satisfied following a Steelers victory and enjoy the sights and sounds in and around Heinz Field.

While the aforementioned did occur for those in attendance, there were a number of experiences that added to the win for Steelers Nation Unite members, both before and after Sunday's contest.

When Steelers Nation Unite members check in at games or events using the Steelers mobile app, they set themselves up for opportunities to score exclusive rewards, including on-field experiences.

"I didn't believe it. I thought it was a joke. I had to have my husband look at it to make sure it was saying what I thought it was saying."

That was Leslie Crossley's reaction when she was notified that she'd be standing on the field right outside the Steelers tunnel as the team came running out for introductions.  David Clark, who was on the field with Crossley, echoed the sentiments.

"This is our first year as season ticket holders," said Clark, who traveled to the game with Crossley from Morgantown, WV. "We've waited 21 years and what an experience [it was] for us. It's mind-numbing."

Sunday was another first for member Camille Hutchins and her son, Jaden, who traveled to Heinz Field from Dayton, OH, for their first Steelers game. The tickets were given to Jaden as a reward for doing well in school this past year, and adding to the celebration on Sunday was the fact that Camille and Jaden were chosen to help lead the Terrible Towel Twirl on the sidelines at kickoff.

"I've been a Steelers fan all my life. I saw Steelers Nation Unite on Facebook and somebody told me to join, so I did," Hutchins explained. "It definitely paid off. We were ecstatic and were like 'We're going on the field?!' Not only our first game, but we get to go on the field? That's pretty awesome."

Post-game field access and photo opportunities were another reward for checking in on Sunday. For Amy Kichko, a North Huntington native who recently moved back from Dallas, TX, it was a great way for her and Mackenzie Middlebrook, a Dallas native, to spend their first game at Heinz Field.

"It was icing on the cake. This has been Christmas for us. I'm done for the rest of the year," said Kichko. "I'm from Pittsburgh and I've been to Three Rivers, but this is my first time in Heinz. I've toured here, but this is an awesome field and an awesome experience."

The Chicago Steelers Club was also represented at Sunday's game by club coordinator Steve Henderson. Henderson, a Western Maryland native who grew up a Steelers fan and now resides in the Windy City, entertains a large group of Steelers fans each game day and throughout the year.

"We do anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people per game," said Henderson, who goes by the nickname Steeler Steve.

"Every week it's different. We're crazy and we're loud. We do all kinds of game day specials. We've got bands, VJ, DJ, confetti cannons – you name it, we got it."

And while "Steeler Steve" has been to Heinz Field for a game before, Sunday was the first time he got to set foot on the playing surface.

"It's amazing. I don't even have words right now," he exclaimed.

When asked if he'd be bragging to his friends in Chicago when he got back, Henderson said the process was already well underway.

"I've already posted 100 pictures and I've already had 50 likes on the video I just did a minute ago of me running out of the tunnel."

To join Steelers Nation Unite for free and be officially recognized as a member of Steelers Nation, just visit now. Members also get to enter the home opener sweepstakes for a chance at a VIP trip to the Steelers home opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, September 20, among many more opportunities to get recognized for their loyalty and passion.

As member Amy Kichko pointed out, there's no reason that a Steelers fan shouldn't join.

"I think the great thing is, and I tell everyone this about Steelers Nation Unite, is it's free. You can't pass that up. You get all these wonderful rewards, and if you don't sign up and you're a Steelers fan, you're crazy. Do it!"

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