Carolina Panthers

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger expects big Steelers following in Charlotte

Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t want Derek Anderson meddling in Pittsburgh Steelers’ affairs.

After last week’s 24-7 win against the Lions, Carolina’s backup quarterback tweeted to Panthers fans that if they’re going to sell their tickets to Sunday night’s game against Pittsburgh, “please don’t sell them to a Steelers fan.”

“Tell Derek to mind his own business,” Roethlisberger joked this week on a teleconference with Charlotte reporters. “It’s awesome. Everywhere we go we’ve got a great fan following. That’s one of the awesome things of playing for the Steelers. I know especially in Carolina we go there in the preseason and we always have a ton of fans so I’m hoping there will be a bunch of them there.”

Roethlisberger has only played at Bank of America Stadium once during the regular season, but the teams have alternated home and away visits for the fourth exhibition since the 2003 preseason.

It’s unscientific, but the number of Steelers’ fans often rival that of Panthers’ fans in those exhibitions. The Steelers are one of the oldest franchises in NFL history, having been established in 1933, and they have one of the most loyal fanbases in the league.

“Derek must be calling on his Cleveland experience,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, referring to Pittsburgh’s AFC North rival where Anderson played from 2006-2009. “You know, it’s something that we appreciate. It’s not something that we take for granted. We realize that there’s responsibility that comes with that and our responsibility to entertain our fans, and we take that business very seriously.”

This week, Hunter Wilson, the owner of Carolina Nightlife, canceled an event at Whiskey River in EpiCentre that was geared toward Steelers fans in Charlotte.

After social media and message board outrage, Wilson pulled the event and admitted he had made a mistake.

“Despite the fact that there are a lot of Charlotte neighbors among us that are Steeler fans, it is not in good taste to host an event that goes against our home team,” Wilson wrote on his website. “I have canceled this event and want to apologize for this misstep.”