They came from near and far, women of all ages, strangers when they began the night but when it was over they were one, forming a bond over a love for something special to each of them – the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 250 women who gathered at Heinz Field on Wednesday night for the Steelers Ladies Night Out came ready to show that love, decked out head to toe in Steelers attire. From jerseys of current players to Hall of Famers, to sweatshirts and jackets, and everything in between, if it had a Steelers logo, they were wearing it.
"This is great. It's focused on the women Steelers fans here," said Sharon Ambrass, from Pittsburgh's North Hills who previously attended events the team held for women. "It's nice to have an evening out with other female fans. We are pretty rowdy here. It's great to be with each other."
Ladies Night Out, presented by Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program, part of UPMC Cancer Centers, kicked off with a dinner and an opportunity for the ladies to get to know each other. But soon after that they had the chance to get to know a little more about the evening's special guests, guard Ramon Foster and cornerback Ike Taylor.
Foster talked to the women, sharing the story of his journey to the NFL and admitting the scariest thing for him as a rookie free agent was coming to the team and not knowing if he would eventually be a Steelers' player or not. He talked about his weekly routine, superstitions and just what it's like to play for the Steelers before getting an array of questions from the ladies.
"They are very knowledgeable. I respect the women's fan base to the utmost," said Foster. "I definitely had a fun time. It definitely opened my eyes up. They love the Steelers. They really are in tune to what is going in. They put a lot of time into it just like the men do. These women are traveling a long way and I have a lot of respect for them."
Taylor shared with the ladies the special friendship he has with Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, talked about the influence his mom and sisters had on him, and even shared his home organizational skills with the ladies. He also shared how the three professional sports teams in the city, the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins, support and motivate each other.
"When the Pirates were doing well, what they were doing for the city with the excitement, that meant a lot to us," said Taylor. "We all cheer for each other."
After the players spoke it was off to the taping of the PNC Steelers Huddle Show hosted by former Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke and a tour of Heinz Field, complete with the locker room, press box and the opportunity to kick a field goal.
"I enjoyed it," said Taylor. "Dealing with the women in Pittsburgh, being here for 11 years, you kind of get the understanding they know football."