On April 13, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that chairman Dan Rooney had passed away at the age of 84. He left a lasting impact.
In 2000, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney joined his late father, Art Rooney, as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On April 13, 2017, the pair was reunited in a much more significant place.
The son of “The Chief” was one of the most important figures in the league. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on the Steelers chairman’s passing, citing Rooney’s enormous contributions to the NFL and game of football. What’s more, he referred to Rooney as “one of the finest men in the history of our game,” an enormously true sentiment:
As noted by the league’s commissioner, Rooney was long a part of many negotiations league-wide that had a lasting impact on the league. Though he was no longer in control of the team after handing it to Art Rooney II, Dan Rooney’s legacy and contributions were made in a way that they’d never be forgotten.
Perhaps chief among the former Steelers owner’s contributions was his advocacy for minorities in regards to executive and coaching positions. It was Dan Rooney who pushed and eventually had the rule instituted that teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching vacancies. And, of course, he also hired Mike Tomlin to replace the great Bill Cowherd following the latter’s retirement in the mid-200s.
Dating back to 1970, no team has won more games, more division titles and more Super Bowl titles than the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Dan Rooney was a very pivotal part of that success. More than that, he was a pivotal part of the league’s success as a whole.