Dan Rooney Dies: Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Was 84

Under Dan Rooney the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed a golden era starting in 1975 with the first of four Super Bowl wins in six years

Dan Rooney, the longtime owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers has died today at age 84, the team announced. He took over leadership of the team in the 1960s from his father, Art, the original franchise owner.

And as for those aforementioned "relatively lean years" ... in Dan Rooney's 30 years as chairman, the Steelers lost 10 or more games three times.

In a twist of irony, it was this exact rule that prompted the Steelers to interview Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Mike Tomlin for their head coaching vacancy in 2006. Among his many contributions to the game, Rooney spearheaded the "Rooney Rule", which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching and general manager positions.

"My father [Art] would take me to the training camp - and I went to the training camp before I was 5 years old", Rooney once recalled. On behalf of the entire Spanos family and everyone at the Chargers, our sincerest condolences to his wife Patricia and the entire Rooney family. Rest in power Mr. Rooney, this league will never be the same without you.

PITTSBURGH (WBRE/WYOU) _ It's a sad day for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for football fans everywhere.

Rooney's influence even reached beyond football.

Under Mr. Rooney, two stadiums were built in Pittsburgh, and he played a major role in negotiations with the players' union and in league expansion in 1976 to Seattle and Tampa. He is the father of the 'Rooney Rule, ' which has meant so much to minorities working in, and wanting to work in, the NFL. I feel the success we have had as an organization is directly tied to the lessons I learned from Dan. For my part, Dan's friendship and counsel were both inspiring and irreplaceable. "Our hearts are with the entire Rooney family, who we know will miss him dearly, as will we, along with the entire National Football League community".

More recently, Rooney served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-12.

In 2008, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was honored at the Pittsburgh American Ireland Fund Dinner Gala at Heinz Field. In addition to being a close friend, Dan was one of the true visionaries in our sport and our game is what it is today due to the efforts of men like him. A big reason why this diversity exists is because of Rooney's work.

"Dan has always lead with humility", said Greene when he introduced Rooney before his Hall of Fame induction.

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