On Sunday it will be all about football for the Steelers when they host the Philadelphia Eagles, but on Friday night it was fashion that was on their mind at the annual Steelers Style Fashion Show at the East Club Lounge at Heinz Field.
“It’s awesome,” said center Maurkice Pouncey. “We had a great time at it. It’s great exposure for the team. Everyone dressed up and went out and had a great time.”
Players and their families modeled the latest styles from American Eagle Outfitters, NIKE, Nordstrom and etcetera, with rookies going formal thanks to Tuxedo Junction and veterans pulling out suits from their own closets to show that they each have their own unique style off the field.
“I went out there and showed I have the best style on the team,” said defensive end Brett Keisel playfully, who was the co-captain of the show along with Pouncey. “We looked smooth. It’s fun. You interact with the fans and show what you’ve got. Usually guys use this time to get their Christmas card done because your kids and wives are all dressed up.”
Art and Greta Rooney and Mike and Kiya Tomlin served as the chairpersons for the event, which benefited the UPMC Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and the Cancer Caring Center.
“The players have a lot of fun,” said Greta Rooney, who wore one of the three dresses Kiya Tomlin designed for the show. “They walk the runway to their own choice of music. They show their style, what they are really like with their family and have a good time. And for them to donate their time to the cause is even more special.”
The theme of this year’s show was Football/Fans/Fashion, honoring the Steelers 80th Season theme of the “Year of the Fan.” Photos of fans decked out in their Steelers “fashions” were shown on the video screens and the players showed their appreciation of the fans by throwing Terrible Towels to them as they walked down the runway.
“I want to thank all of our fans for the support,” said Art Rooney II in his opening remarks. “Thanks to all of you for the support throughout the years, and particularly for your support for the fashion show. It’s been wonderful to be a part of these great charities that do such great work in our city.”
The show got off to an energetic start with the jersey scene, with players and their kids strutting their stuff to their own musical selections, which included Heath Miller walking down to “Beautiful Day” with his sons Chase and Jake and Troy Polamalu with his sons Paisios and Ephraim “Thriller,” with Paisios doing his best dance moves while wearing a Michael Jackson like red leather jacket.
“All of the guys have so much fun,” said Kiya Tomlin, whose niece Brynn Williams once again sang and wowed the crowd. “We are so used to seeing them all suited up with their helmets on and serious about their jobs. But they are family guys, regular guys and it’s fun to see them relaxed and letting loose. It was a good time.”
The players sported fashions by NIKE in the second scene, giving Steelers’ apparel a fashionable look.
Then they showed their true style in their own suits for the final scene. And despite the fun they were having, the competitive nature did come out because when it comes to fashion, these guys are very serious.
“This team is competitive,” said Pouncey. “The skill guys try to take more advantage of it because they are smaller and fit in more things. The big guys have a good time with it. We have style. There is no choice. I dress up. I am into fashion big time. Everything the skinny guys wear I try to wear as well.”
One of those skills guys who doesn’t mind showing off his style is safety Ryan Clark, who had some fun with the “competition.”
“It’s not a competition. There is a guy head and shoulders above them all and that would be me,” laughed Clark. “Some guys like to dress up, talk about it and be fashionable. It’s like road trips. Coach Tomlin doesn’t make us wear suits, so if you do it, you want to. It’s fun to get on the plane and talk about what each other is wearing, good or bad. It builds camaraderie.
“But a guy who can dress is Will Allen. He will look at Gucci and Prada and try to figure what he can get away with. Will is definitely the guy.”
But he had plenty of competition from some sharp dressed teammates on Friday night.
“Guys come in every day with something nice so you have to bring your best,” said linebacker Chris Carter. “No half stepping around here.
“It’s real fun. It’s a great event. Most importantly it’s for a great cause. This team is all for that.”
At the end of the night the annual “Swag Award” was presented, with Willie Colon taking the honors, and Paisios Polamalu taking the honors for the junior “Swag Award.”
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