Photo credit: Jeff Haynes / AFP
Author: Jon Kuzma
Everyone knows that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the best franchises in all pro football with a league leading 6 Super Bowl victories. What most people don’t know is just how the Steelers were able to amass all of those Vince Lombardi Trophies. The Steelers were able to become the most successful franchise is all of pro football because of their leadership and much of that leadership stems from the Rooney family. Art Rooney might have founded the Steelers back in 1933 (known as the Pittsburgh Pirates initially) but Dan Rooney eventually succeeded his father and kept Art’s traditions alive. Dan Rooney learned the ins and outs of the football industry while working for his father and that helped polish Rooney for his own time as team President. During that era (1975-2002) Dan Rooney was able to hire Chuck Noll as head football coach and Rooney also led the Steelers to 15 division championships, 8 AFC Championships, and an NFL record 6 Super Bowl Championships. It was a hell of a run for the Steelers owner but maybe more impressive was Rooney’s ability to connect with people. Dan Rooney was never too big for anyone and was known as a man who constantly helped other people. Rooney was often regarded as a champion of diversity and he opened doors for so many NFL staff members, players, and coaches. Not only that but league commissioners such a Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, and Roger Goodell all took advice and were mentored by Dan Rooney. So with news coming out of Pittsburgh today that Mr. Rooney has passed away, one has to understand how great of a man we truly lost. Rooney will forever be known for his humility and his ability to make every person feel included and important. It’s that approach that helped build the Pittsburgh Steelers into what they are today and so many people have been blessed to know Dan Rooney. Next time you’re watching a Steelers football game remember what that team truly stands for. Grace, humility, inclusion, and hard work all contributions from Dan Rooney and the Rooney family. He will certainly be missed not only in the football community but by fans, friends, and loved ones.
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