Football and beyond mourns the loss of beloved chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and all-around great person in Dan Rooney
If you’re a fan of personifying ownership, you’re a Dan Rooney fan. If you’re a fan of humanitarianism, you’re a Dan Rooney fan. If you’re a fan of equal rights, you’re a Dan Rooney fan. Even if you’re a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you’re a Dan Rooney fan.
Point being there really isn’t a anyone who isn’t, or better yet shouldn’t be a fan of Mr. Rooney.
“I guess you could say the game is in my blood,” -Dan Rooney referring to football, as written in his book “Dan Rooney: My 75 years With the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL”.
Dan’s father, Art purchased the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1933, merely a year after Dan was born. So saying the game was in his blood might just be an understatement. From a becoming a Steelers waterboy at just nine years old, to multiple front office positions and eventually chairman, Rooney’s knowledge of the Pittsburgh Steelers was second to none. Rooney’s contribution to the team over the years is a huge reason why the Steelers are one of the league’s most successful franchises of all-time.
Beyond the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rooney also made the NFL a better entity. Rooney was part of the expansion committee that not only was an integral part in bringing the NFL and AFL (American Football League), but also bringing NFL franchises to both Seattle and Tampa Bay. In the 70’s and 80’s, Rooney even helped settle multiple labor disputes.
A giant believer in civil rights, Rooney is credited with recruiting the ever African-American executive in the NFL in 1967. He even had a rule named after him in his push for civil liberties, the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule requires teams that are searching for a new head coach or general manager to interview at least one minority candidate for the opening. Since it’s instalment, the rule has been expanded to include women for front office positions.
If that wasn’t enough, Rooney also took a position as the United States ambassador to Ireland under the Obama administration, in no small part thanks to his support of Irish-American charitable causes. He held the position from 2009 to 2012. His time as an ambassador made him well know in Ireland, as he funded the annual Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was a founder of the American Ireland Club, which was dedicated to bringing peace, culture, and charity in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“Money means nothing. I never made any decision based on money. Values, integrity, character, and all of those things – I think are important.” – Dan Rooney via an interview with The 700 Club’s sports reporter Shawn Brown.
Rooney continued his charity work and contributions throughout his lifetime, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 2016.
With such a long resume associated with his name, it should come as no surprise that his death touched so many people.
We've lost the heart & soul of Steeler Nation. Incredible person humanitarian & true patriot. May his memory be eternal. Love U PapaRooney
— Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu) April 13, 2017
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 13, 2017
Dear Mr. Rooney, When we first met in 2010 you embraced me with open arms. You made me feel welcome. You looked at me as more than just another jersey number. One of the most genuine, and humble human beings I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. You motivated me not only to excel on the field but also in life. This season, the number 84 on my uniform will represent the 84 years you spent on this earth making an impact on the lives of others. I’ll miss you my friend. Thank you for everything 💛 -AB
“Dan Rooney was the standard that all sports owners should be held to. As great of an owner as he was, he was an even better person. He gave all he could to the Steelers and somehow gave even more to Pittsburgh.” – Chris Morgan, lifelong Steelers fan and resident of the greater Pittsburgh area.
“Whether it be fans, players, coaches, broadcast personnel, media, team owners or club employees, Dan Rooney’s influence touched us all — and made all of our lives better. -Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner on the passing of Dan Rooney via a news conference according to ESPN.
Rest in Peace Dan Rooney and thank you for all you have done for the game of football and humanity overall.