UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Wednesday August 31 2016
Leave this field empty.

Training Camp: BnGG Style

PSR Logo
According to Scarborough Sports Marketing and ESPN sports polls, Pittsburgh has the largest female fan base in the NFL, more than doubling the number of female pro football fans on average. Women comprise 55 percent of the team’s fan base.

And for the past 12 years, the Steelers have been reaching out to women in the unique way that only the Steelers organization can do, opening training camp doors to over 300 women from all over North America to participate in Women’s Football Camp.

John Simpson, Steelers Marketing and Events Manager, believes that Women’s Football Camp is all about passion.

“This year, camp sold out in a record 30 hours. We have embraced our female fans for a long time, and in response they make this event a success,” said Simpson, who added that the “family atmosphere” the Rooney’s have created within the team extends to the fans.Photo by Vikki Tuk

The family affair was certainly front and center at this year’s camp. “Brett’s Bearded Beauties” took camp by storm, led by matriarch Bonnie Liska, her two daughters and close family friends. This is their eighth year at camp, and this year they were rewarded for their creativity by Brett Keisel himself. Nearing the end of practice, he crossed the practice field to take a moment to thank and speak with the group.

“I was like, ‘Mom, Brett’s crossing the field. Mom, he’s coming this way,’ and before I knew it it he was right in front of us,” said Dawn Elder Conley. “Brett was so awesome. He asked us about our day and thanked us for our effort. Camp gives us this opportunity. It’s something we cherish and as a family will continue to do.”

Photos of the group with their namesake landed in newspapers as far away as California.

The camp consists of four rotations, each run by current or former Steelers and assisted by members of the Pittsburgh Passion. The women are introduced to basic skills on Offensive Line, Defense, Receiving and Special Teams.

Former Steelers center Jeff Hartings who put the women through the O-line paces, ex-linebacker

Jason Gildon was relentPhoto by Vikki Tukless teaching D, former quarterback Kordell Stewert flashed his famous smile while showing gals running routes and hurling perfect spirals in their direction. But perhaps the most popular station was the special teams portion, led by long snapper Greg Warren and kicker Shaun Suisham.

“Not too many people know how difficult it is to pull off a good long snap. It’s a specialty,” explained Warren, now participating in his sixth women’s event. “Showing women how to do it is especially gratifying. They are determined to get it right. Plus, the women every year are just fun.”

After lunch, the women were treated to the 2011 NFL Films video recap, highlighted by the ladies’ deafening cheers each time a new player appeared on the screen.

After the film, the ladies were given sideline access to watch practice—with the special bonus of Dan Rooney being in attendance—and the day ended with dinner and an autograph signing by Emmanuel Sanders and Isaac Redman.

Recapping this experience on one page of a newspaper is difficult for a life-long female fan such as myself. It is simply something one has to experience. The entire Steelers organization welcomed the ladies with open arms: from the alumni running the drills, to the players on the field, to the training staff tending with injuries, to the front office folks who seemed to know most participants by name.

Photo by Vikki TukBy the day’s end, it became apparent why and how the Steelers are indeed a family. It’s little wonder as to why Steelers have the largest female following in the NFL. To them, everyone matters. That’s the foundation of Steelers Nation.

Share
Bob Prince was best known as the voice of the PIttsburgh Pirates for 28 years, but it was not the only job he had over his Hall of Fame career. “The Gunner” also called Steelers and Penguins games at different times during his career and was part of the NBC broadcast team for the 1965 All-Star Game.
Feature OneNorth Shore Notes
Expectations are high for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016. A revamped defensive line, featuring two of the league's best ends in Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, is one of the main reasons why.
Feature TwoPure Steel
Ron Everhart defied the odds and turned Duquesne basketball into a respectable program. But after five years he was dismissed and the Dukes' short-lived success came to a screeching halt.
DuquesneFeature Three
Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan has obviously spoken several very kind words about his championship hockey team. Sullivan has complimented his team’s speed, chemistry, and teamwork. But perhaps more than anything else, Sullivan complimented their toughness.
Blue LineFeature Four
PSR VIDEO
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Steelers TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3Steelers TV Channel
College football is one week away, as Hawaii and Cal open the 2016 season in Sydney, Australia next Friday. The local teams don't kick things off until Labor Day weekend, but PSR has our preseason rankings together already.
Custom 1NationalTop Story
In the days leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, it was unknown whether University of Pittsburgh tight end JP Holtz would be selected.
Custom 2High SchoolPitt FootballPure Steel
Western Pennsylvania's football recruiting class of 2017 is a strong one, led by Clairton's Lamont Wade -- one of the top recruits in the country. The class also features a multitude of interior line talent.
Custom 3High SchoolKeystone Recruiting
It's still the dog days of summer, but college football season is nrarly upon us. Local teams begin to open camp this week and next, and there are several players to keep an eye on.
Custom 4Penn StatePitt FootballSmall CollegesWVU