Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at 84

Serving as US President Barack Obama's ambassador to Ireland between 2009 and 2012, Rooney was also well-known in American football circles as owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team. A voice of reason on a wide range of topics, including diversity and labor relations, Dan always had the league's best interests at heart. He epitomized Pittsburgh - hard working, humble, no-nonsense, tell it the way it is and never forget where he came from. In 1975, he became president of the franchise.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dan Rooney. That's him, that's Pittsburgh".

Rooney later supported and encouraged diversity of coaching in the NFL, creating the "Rooney Rule" in 2003 that said teams had to interview at least one minority for head coaching and senior football operations jobs.

Rooney's father, Art, founded the Steelers in 1933 and Dan Rooney eventually succeeded his father as the team's primary owner. Both credited Rooney with allowing them to flourish as Steelers. He empowered a great deal of people who shaped the legacy of the 1970s Steelers, including Bill Nunn, the scout who found so many important pieces of the puzzle in the draft from small schools in that decade. "I feel blessed to have known him, and our prayers and thoughts are with his wonderful family".

"I think of a story he told me about the National Football League wanting to make the Pittsburgh Steelers "America's Team", and he said 'no, we're Pittsburgh's team, not America's team, '" Hoke said.

Off the field, Rooney was appointed USA ambassador to Ireland in 2009 by President Barack Obama and served until his resignation in 2012. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this hard time". Also contributing to drafting several future Pro Football Hall of Famers in: Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, and even Lynn Swann.

Rooney is survived by Patricia, his wife of 65 years, as well as seven children, 20 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four brothers.

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