Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney died at the age of 84 on Thursday, the team announced.
Rooney who pretty much ran the Steelers from his late 20’s on, left an incredible mark with the city of Pittsburgh and the NFL.
He will not just be remembered as a great owner but most importantly a great human being.
How unique was Dan Rooney as an owner?
Over a 45 year span beginning in 1969, he would only hire three coaches.
Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin.
Rooney was officially named Team President in 1975, though, he was running the organization for several seasons before that, starting with the Noll hire in 1969 after Joe Paterno turned down the job and was the Steelers first choice.
With four Super Bowls under his belt at the time, in 2000 Rooney was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
Two years later Rooney would introduce the ‘Rooney rule’ for coaching hire’s, while in 2003 he made son Art II Team President and Chairman.
Rooney, though, was still making his mark with personnel decisions, even if he didn’t have the official title of Team President.
During the 2014 draft, Bill Cowher wanted to draft an offensive lineman with the No. 11 overall pick. Rooney didn’t want to be burned again in passing up an elite quarterback prospect after Chuck Noll who had final say selected a defensive lineman over Dan Marino in 1983.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of passing on another great quarterback prospect,” Rooney wrote in his book “Dan Rooney: My 75 Years With The Pittsburgh Steelers and The NFL.” So I steered the conversation around to Roethlisberger. After some more talk, we came to a consensus and picked Roethlisberger.”
In 2006, Rooney was highly involved in overseeing the hiring process that named Roger Goodell commissioner, while in 2009 after the Steelers claimed their sixth Super Bowl, Rooney was named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland under the Obama administration.
Rooney returned to the Steelers as chairman in 2012.