By Teresa Varley
A recent survey showed that the Steelers have the biggest female fan base and that was evident at Heinz Field when the team hosted their annual Ladies Night Out, with over 340 female fans on hand.
The football frenzied crowd of ladies came donning their black and gold, wearing jerseys from today's superstars such as Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu to heroes of the past like John Stallworth.
Some sported skirts made out of Terrible Towels, others carried Steelers purses and every black and gold accessory you could possibly imagine adorned the ladies.
And some even had permanent symbols of their love for the Steelers, like Rosie Reuiz who has a Steelers tattoo on her ankle, a mother's day gift from her young son.
"We are hard-core Steelers fans," said Reuiz of herself and husband Chris and son Anthony. "We moved to Pittsburgh from Dallas four years ago when the Steelers were 15-1 because of all of the excitement and we were hoping to see them in the Super Bowl. We do everything that the Steelers offer for fans to do."
The evening kicked off with dinner and hearing from two Steelers players, center Justin Hartwig and nose tackle Chris Hoke.
Hartwig gave the ladies a chance to get to know the newcomer by sharing the path that brought him to the Steelers. He talked about what attracted him to the Steelers and shared what the team's weekly schedule is like, offering some insight that most fans don't get to hear.
Hartwig then opened it up to questions and the ladies fired away, showing their football knowledge as they asked about the difference in the snap count at home and on the road, where the crowd is a factor and what is the biggest difference going from quarterback to quarterback on the different teams.
"One of the big things is where they place their hands," said Hartwig, to the amusement of the ladies.
And of course, he couldn't get off too easy, as one lady just put it out there asking him what he is going to do about the line and keeping Roethlisberger on his feet.
"I'm working on that," he said with a smile, an answer that was greeted with rousing applause.
When he was finished, Hartwig was amazed by the turnout and the knowledge of the ladies.
"They were on point. They were great," said Hartwig. "These women were all excited. It was a great welcoming experience for me.
"They had some good questions. The ones that throw me off are things like what are your rituals. You don't think about those things all of the time. I was impressed. You can tell they grew up watching football. They came out with great questions, were enthusiastic and screamed a lot, so it was fun."
Wide receiver Hines Ward made a surprise appearance, much to the delight of the crowd who greeted him with a standing ovation and cheered from the time he entered the room.
It was then Chris Hoke who took the stage and brought his boundless energy with him, giving the ladies a quick sampling of his "Hokey-Pokey" sack dance upon request.
Hoke talked about how he balances football and family, as he and his wife Jaimee have four young kids. He also shared the story of how he got where he is today, going from an undrafted rookie to a major part of the team's defense.
"It was a lot of fun. I love speaking to people," said Hoke. "I love to get in front of people and talk and answer questions. There ware a lot of hardcore fans who know a lot about football. I was talking about football stuff and they were shaking their heads like they knew what was going on. The questions were great. It showed they have a lot of knowledge of the game and they know what's going on and they watch the games."
After the speeches the ladies had the chance to take a tour of Heinz Field, including the team's locker room, press box and other areas and they took in a taping of the PNC Hines Ward Show.
"This is the first time we came to this one," said Christine Ainsworth from Altoona, Pa. "I got goose bumps about 12 times listening to the players talk. Chris Hoke was a great speaker. The whole experience is great. We are diehard Steelers fans. I have been texting my husband and telling him what is going on. He is jealous. I told him he could wear a skirt and try to sneak in but he said no.
"We are all diehard Steelers fans. We will keep up the women's tradition for Steelers football."