Pittsburgh Steelers‘ chairman Dan Rooney died earlier this afternoon. Rooney was the heart and soul of the Steerlers’ organization. He worked his way up from being a water boy to fighting the good fight the with labor disputes in the 1970s and ’80s. He was a man that listened to reason and attempted to find the best solution to fix any problems.Rooney was a character on and off the field. He was direct, honest, and loyal to all of his friends, partners, and the NFL organization, but he was a man of character and humor.
“I loved being out there, loafing with the players and working with the team,” Rooney said. “I did whatever needed to be done and didn’t get paid much to do it, but I felt part of the team — I was a Steeler.”
Rooney was a man that loved to change and helped the NFL to grow as it has. Rooney recruited the league’s first black executive and pushed for the adoption of what has become known as the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coach or general manager opening. With more females wanting to coach or be in positions in the NFL, this rule expanded for women to get roles in the field.
Rooney’s voice was respected, heard, and accepted when he gave advice or picked out commissioners. He was the invisible man behind the the field that took pride in his job.
“My father meant so much to all of us, and so much to so many past and present members of the Steelers organization,” said Mr. Rooney’s son, the team president Arthur Rooney II. “He gave his heart and soul to the Steelers, the National Football League and the City of Pittsburgh.”
As we put this man to rest, remember his legacy that changed the NFL forever. “Football and the Steelers have taught me lessons about perseverance,” Rooney said. “The belief in possibilities, the expansion of boundaries, the kindness of people and the unpredictability of life.”
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