Aug. 16, 1961: Before the Terrible Towel and that ever-present chant “Here we go Steelers, here we go,” we had the Steelerettes to whip up enthusiasm for our favorite NFL team. It was a tall order — the Steelers of 50 years ago were perennial losers. Heck, even selling tickets was tough.
The Steelerettes were formed in 1961, making them the NLF’s first cheerleading squad. Members were “secretarial science” students at what was then called Robert Morris School of Business. And the look? Let’s just say it was conservative by today’s standards. Steelerettes of the early 1960s wore gold knee-length bibbed jumpers and hardhats. Even their grandmothers could approve.
The Steelerettes cheered until 1970, when Art Rooney Sr. ordered them gone. In a Post-Gazette interview several years ago, Art Rooney Jr. said his dad ”never did like that stuff.” And so the young women who cheered a losing team through many lean years missed the glory days that were so soon to come.
In this episode of “Sports ‘n ‘at,” PG sportswriter Bob Dvorchak takes a look at the cheerleading squad’s history.