In the city where three rivers converge, they charge onto the gridiron decked in black and gold, ready for a battle of strength, speed and strategy.
They run, throw, catch, kick, block and tackle in front of thousands of fans, both in the stands and on television.
But no, these are not the Pittsburgh Steelers . These are the Pittsburgh Passion professional women's football team.
Founded in 2002, and purchased by player Teresa Conn in '04, they have become a Pittsburgh phenomenon.
The players on the team have day jobs and real lives: Their roster includes all kinds of career women, including attorneys and executives, not to mention more than one-third of them are moms.
Thanks to Conn, the Passion are passionate about two things: playing quality football and appreciating the values learned through athletics. Players and coaches can be found in schools several times a week presenting motivational assemblies. They also reach out to kids through clinics and leadership programs.
"I see the opportunity to teach life lessons through sports," Conn, a former physical education teacher, said during a phone interview from Pittsburgh. "All the things you need to be successful through life you can learn through sports. If you're going to have a quality friendship or sports team or business, it's all the same ingredients. The lessons can get us through disease or divorce, or any of the struggles of life."
But this isn't just a feel-good-do-good organization. These ladies are champions: Undefeated winners of the 2007 National Women's Football Association's national title, they advanced to the semifinals in 2008.
Their popularity and prestige are skyrocketing to the point where a whole new generation can have a brand new aspiration: to grow up to play football for the Passion.
"Ten years ago, little girls couldn't have this dream," Conn said. "Why not let them dream, too? It's the ultimate team sport. It teaches you there are no superstars without other people doing hard work. Football teaches you the value of unsung heroes, and every kid should learn that."
Conn gives credit to Steelers legends like Franco Harris and Hines Ward, and corporations like First Commonwealth Bank for their support of the team, which the city of Pittsburgh has embraced with passion, no pun intended.
She said, "At first we thought it was going to be the old boys club, but if you're making the attempt to do it right, and put a quality product on the field, you come to understand that Pittsburgh loves all football."
And ladies, here's your chance to get in the game. The Pittsburgh Passion will hold tryouts Sept. 6 and Sept. 14. Few players in the team's history have competitive football experience many come from softball diamonds or volleyball courts, or simply have the desire to compete.
For more information, visit the team's official Web site: www.pittsburghpassion.com.
Goodman can be reached at email@example.com. Her column appears on Tuesdays.