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Here we go, Steelers -- HERE WE GO!



1963-1964 football season

1963 group

By 1963 I think our uniforms looked a little better and the hard hats were gone. This is the squad I know the most about -- in the photo on the right, I'm the one on the far left. Starting on the left and continuing around the semi-circle are Dianne Feazell, Adele Colao, Barb Smith, Kay Vollmer, Eleanor Lineman, Michele Gardner, Pat Wolff, Elaine Reagan and Maureen Creen. The first group had 8 girls spelling out S-T-E-E-L-E-R-S, the second group had 9 girls -- I have no idea why -- and by 1963 our number had grown to 10. The tenth Steelerette, Fran Coppola, was absent when this group picture was taken. I'm not sure what the real reason was, but with 10 girls we could do a killer pyramid. That pyramid became our trademark. We collapsed in a heap more than once, but we usually managed to remain upright long enough to do our cartwheels and backflips into a ground formation. I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders do that!

Our field routines were still being performed to live music provided by, alternately, Vernon Lodge and Harold Betters. Harold Betters was probably as close to a national celebrity as our Steel City had. He was a nationally known musician who had hit the charts with an original composition and played his mellow jazz at "The Encore", a popular Pittsburgh club owned by his parents. We would get a copy of their musical schedule about a week prior to the game. That gave us a week to develop new routines to any songs they had added. We performed to the usual football fight songs like "Hail to the Redskins",and "Hooray for Mr. Football" but we had the most fun playing to the crowd with our lively "Can-Can" routine and "The Stripper". Of course, everytime the Steelers scored we lined up for our favorite routine -- "The Pittsburgh Steelers Fight Song".

Pyramid

On Sunday, November 24, 1963, the whole world was still in shock over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For a while it looked like the NFL was going to cancel the entire football weekend. After a lot of soul searching, Commissioner Pete Rozelle decided the games would go on; however, we were asked to sit on the sidelines and not do any cheering. As we entered Forbes Field I remember hearing someone say that Lee Harvey Oswald had been shot. This added to an already tense atmosphere and ten girls who "lived to cheer" were content to take their places on a cold bench. The weather was typical for November in Pittsburgh and by the time the snow started falling, our teeth were chattering. Obviously, we weren't dressed for the weather. Mr. Rooney, always the gentleman, sent someone into the locker room to bring each of us a jacket. I think we were expected to return them after the game, but a few of us didn't. I loaned mine to the Heinz History Center on Smallman Street in the Strip (you will only know what the "Strip" is if you are from the 'burgh). It now proudly hangs in a glass case in the Sports Museum section. After all these years, it remains one of my most prized possessions and I have vivid memories of sights, sounds and feelings from that weekend like none before or since. Our formidable opponent that day was the Chicago Bears. The singing of the National Anthem was particularly moving and when it ended, I doubt there was a dry eye in the stadium. Not a very festive way to begin a football game and the somber atmosphere told us it was going to be a very long afternoon. As the game progressed into the second quarter, the crowd began to come alive. Commissioner Rozelle received some harsh criticism for allowing the games to be played that weekend, but, for a few hours at least, we could all pretend it was just another Sunday in November.'Lefty' Lou Michaels

Before Roy Gerela or Gary Anderson the Steelers had "Lefty" Lou Michaels. This picture was taken at training camp in Latrobe, PA. Look closely and you will notice that the familiar Steelers logo (the hypocycloid) is missing from our uniforms. The Steelers logo was suggested by officials at Republic Steel, which is a company based in (of all places!) Cleveland, Ohio. I can't imagine anyone reading this who isn't aware of the intense rivalry that existed (and still does) between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. Many of the pro teams had started putting logo decals on their helmets and, when presented with the hypocycloid logo, the Steelers organization was hesitant to make it a permanent part of the uniform. They agreed to give it a try, but only on one side of the helmet, just in case. They kept the logo and the Steelers remain the only team in professional football to have their logo on only one side.

1963 Steelerettes

The 1962 and 1963 Steelers were Pittsburgh's best hope for a championship football team, but Mr. Rooney would have to wait 11 more years for that honor. In fact, some pretty dismal years were ahead. 1963 turned out to be the last winning season the Steelers would have until 1972. The Steelers ended the 1963 season fourth place in the NFL East with a record of 7-4-3.



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1963 Wins/Losses/Ties (7-4-3)
Date Opp Final
Sun 09/15 @Phi T 21-21
Sun 09/22 NYG W 31-0
Sun 09/29 StL W 23-10
Sat 10/05 @Cle L 23-35
Sun 10/13 @StL L 23-24
Sun 10/20 Wash W 38-27
Sun 10/27 Dal W 27-21
Sun 11/03 @GB L 14-33
Sun 11/10 Cle W 09-07
Sun 11/17 @Wash W 34-28
Sun 11/24 Chi T 17-17
Sun 12/01 Phi T 20-20
Sat 12/07 @Dal W 24-19
Sun 12/15 @NYG L 17-33


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Last updated 14.11.2006