By Teresa Varley
The Steelers have a huge fan following in Mexico, with one of the biggest supporters possibly being Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderón.
The wife of Mexican President Felipe Calderón started following the Steelers at a young age as her brothers were fans of the team. So it was fitting when she was in Pittsburgh recently for the G-20 Summit that she stopped by Heinz Field for a tour given by Steelers Chairman Emeritus Dan Rooney and his wife Patricia, team President Art Rooney, II and Business & Football Administration Coordinator Omar Khan.
"It was a great honor especially considering how many Steelers fans we have in Mexico," said Art Rooney, II. "Having her openly proclaim she is a Steelers fan was great to hear. Apparently her whole family are Steelers fans. It was an honor to have her here. We invited her to come back for a game and she said she would love to do that."
She received a warm welcome on the JumboTron and the tour included seeing the locker room, walking out to the field, the Coca-Cola Great Hall and the press box, where she was shown the broadcast booth for Grupo Radio Acir, the team's Spanish radio broadcast that airs in Mexico City.
"It was interesting to see that she is a real fan," said Rooney, II. "She enjoyed seeing the lockers and Great Hall and the different jerseys. She listened to the Immaculate Reception replay that we have in the Great Hall. She wanted to see everything and do everything. She didn't want to just come and say a few hellos. She wanted to see everything she could see. It was fun to be with her. She is a great person and we hope to get her back some day."
After the tour, which she indicated was one of the highlights of her trip to Pittsburgh, she was presented with a Steelers jersey with her name on it and one with President Calderón's name as well. She was also presented with pink ribbon Steelers items the team has in honor of breast cancer awareness month, as she is an advocate for breast cancer causes.
Before departing for home she taped a message for the team and fans.
"Hello I am Margarita Zavala, wife of the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon. I have had a beautiful visit here in the Steelers' stadium. Like many of you know it is one of the favorite teams in Mexico; our country has an enormous number of fans and spectators. We hope that very soon we will have the Steelers again in Mexico. Thank you very much and congratulations champions."
To view the full photo gallery by Mike Fabus, click on Heinz Field Visit and go to Events.