By Teresa Varley
The Steelers are used to a stadium filled with 60,000 fans cheering them on while they are sporting helmets and shoulder pads, but the scene will be much different this week as fans gather in a ballroom to cheer on the dapperly dressed players in the team's annual fashion show.
"For a lot of guys it's scarier to be on the stage than on the field," said linebacker James Farrior. "In football you can tune out the crowd. In the fashion show it is close up. They are right there in your face. You get a little nervous."
But fear not, nerves will not stop the men in black and gold from strutting their stuff on the runway on Friday night (Oct. 24) when Steelers Style 08 kicks off at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel.
Farrior, who along with kicker Jeff Reed is one of the honorary co-captains, will be one of over 40 Steelers players who will model in the show, which benefits the Thomas E. Starzel Transplantation Institute at UPMC and the Cancer Caring Center.
"It gives us a chance to laugh at each other and have a whole lot of locker room talk the next couple of days," said Farrior. "A lot of the guys don't have a lot of fashion sense. It's our chance to give each other a bunch of laughs. We try to give each other fashion tips. Everyone thinks they are a fashion icon but nobody really has good sense. It's pretty funny.
"I think I rank at the top of the list on the team for fashion. It trickles down from there. I try to give guys advice, but sometimes they don't listen and try to have their own style. Sometimes that's okay, but sometimes they take it too far."
The players will open the show wearing their jerseys and moving down the runway to the song of their choice. They will also model Reebok attire, as well as either tuxedos or show off their own style in suits from their closets. Players' wives, girlfriends and kids will also model, with new Pittsburgh retail giant Nordstrom providing their formal wear. American Eagle Outfitters will provide fashions as well.
"It's fun for me because I get the sense the players really enjoy it," said Greta Rooney, who chairs the event along with her husband Art Rooney, II and Mike and Kiya Tomlin. "They choose their own music, wear their own suit. It's their style. They can be themselves. I also see how happy the audience is. It's great to take it to another level each year."
The theme of this year's show is Steelers Pride Worldwide and will recognize international doctors from UPMC as well as be a salute to Steelers fans in every corner of the world.
"The players will be tossing a lot of stuff out to the fans," said Rooney. "We are really going to include the fans in the show."
For tickets for the fashion show please call 412-802-8256.