Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Apr 2017

Steelers Owner Dan Rooney Dies at Age 84

Dan Rooney, the second-generation owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has died at the age of 84. Rooney's move to take more control of the front office coincided with the rise of the Steelers in the 1970s; for example, he was a leading voice supporting the hire of Chuck Noll as head coach. Rooney also lobbied for a rule that required teams to interview minority coaching candidates, which now has his name. The Rooney Rule is imperfect, but at least it showed that owners acknowledged there was a problem. His son, Art Rooney II, will take over as chairman of the Steelers.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 13 Apr 2017

6 comments, Last at 23 Apr 2017, 5:20am by RobotBoy

Comments

1
by Sixknots :: Thu, 04/13/2017 - 10:06pm

I'm not a Steelers Fan (maybe a Steelers hater), but I feel some loss for the game here. Was this a shock in Pittsburgh or something likely coming near term?

2
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 04/14/2017 - 7:34am

He was 84. I don't think it's a shock anytime someone over about 70 dies. Still, it's sad. He was one of the better owners and a respected voice of sanity when they got together.

3
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 04/14/2017 - 8:45am

Reading the obituary in the link he definitely sounds like he lived a fulfilling and meaningful life and stayed humble doing it.

I think the most troubling part is that there is now probably no-one left among ownership who doesn't see it as a money-making venture.

"Rooney came out publicly against an 18-game regular season when other owners were pushing for it during labor negotiations.

His philosophy might be best summed up in one story about a time when the NFL was considering ways to enhance their marketing opportunities. During the conversation, an NFL jersey -- with dozens of sponsorship decals attached, making it look like a NASCAR driver's jumpsuit -- arrived at the league office. Rooney had sent it to make a point.

"Our business is the game; we're not in this thing to make all the money in the world," Rooney told me about that ploy, for a story that ran in the New York Times. "I think some other teams still do things our way. But on this, we might be the last guy on the mountain."

4
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 04/17/2017 - 11:26pm

RIP to a true legend.

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The standard is the standard!

5
by Jerry :: Thu, 04/20/2017 - 1:20am

A bunch of local coverage:

http://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/dan-rooney/

(It leads with the obituary, then goes newest to oldest underneath.)

A couple I'll particularly recommend:

Ed Bouchette's personal reminiscences:

http://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/dan-rooney/ed-bouchette-chats-wi...

A brief piece on the friendship between Dan Rooney and Ike Taylor:

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2017/04/18/ike-taylor-dan-ro...

6
by RobotBoy :: Sun, 04/23/2017 - 5:20am

Rooney sounds better than the general run of owners. His death reminded me of a recent bio I read about Billy Conn and its incidental mention of the Rooney's role in gambling and bootlegging in Pittsburgh. Then I came across another book that traces the shady legacies of many of the NFL's ruling families. 'Behind every great fortune there is a great crime' isn't news but what surprised me is how many of those families still maintain holdings in gambling and other businesses linked to organized crime. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2012/jul/04/citylights1-nfl-dirty-sec...