PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It felt and sounded like fans might literally raise the roof at Stage AE during a pep rally for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night.

The team will play in the AFC Championship Game this weekend against the New England Patriots.

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The crowd roared for former Steelers Kevin Greene, Hines Ward, Chris Hoke and Brett Keisel. Injured defensive end Cam Heyward offered some advice on how to beat the Patriots.

Heyward: “We got to hit Tom Brady.”

Ward: “Hit him. We got to hit him.”

Heyward: “We got to hit Tom Brady.”

Ward: “We got to hit him again.”

Meanwhile, enthusiastic fans revealed some of their superstitions.

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“I wear the same clothes and same bracelets and same earrings,” said Robin Steinatimer, of Valencia.

Backstage, Ward said he still had some deep-rooted feelings about New England.

“I play in two championship games against Patriots, and they celebrated on Heinz Field. And I sat out there for a long time and watched the confetti, and I never wanted to feel that feeling ever again,” said Ward. “That’s still deep-rooted inside of me. So, I hope we can go out there and return the favor.”

Ward will serve as honorary captain for the Steelers during the game.

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Actor, Mount Lebanon native and diehard Pittsburgh sports’ fan Joe Manganiello stopped by Pittsburgh on his way to the game in Foxboro to rev up the crowd.

“There was no way I wasn’t going to stop here and be a part of this on Friday night before we get up there,” he told the fired-up crowd.

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He says he’s always been and always will be a Steelers fan.

David Highfield