Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at 84

Dan Rooney

Rooney also served as the US ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, becoming the first ambassador from the U.S.to visit each of Ireland's 32 counties. He became involved with the workings of the franchise as early as 1955, and was managing day-to-day operations by 1969.

Why Rooney? As so many of his players said through the years, he saw no color, only talent.

Pittsburgh has had a mere three head coaches since '69.

The Rooney family has owned the Steelers since their induction into the league back in 1933 and they have done a fantastic job, winning 22 division titles and six Super Bowls.

In 1975 Pittsburgh went 12-2 and won their second consecutive Super Bowl.

He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He and his father are the only father-son team in the hall besides the New York Giants' Tim and Wellington Mara. Rooney and his son, Art II, later hired Mike Tomlin as the first black head coach in Steelers history. Three years later, he was instrumental in the hiring of Roger Goodell as National Football League commissioner.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the following statement: "Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney". He will forever hold his place in history as one of the greats who helped move the game of football forward.

Rooney is also credited for helping instate the NFL's "Rooney Rule", which stipulates teams must interview at least one minority candidate for general manager and head coaching vacancies.

The Steelers' website has a landing page devoted to Rooney's death, removing all other articles from the home page and leaving just two: Rooney's statement and a feature piece by Bob Labriola. We are graciously thankful for Mr. Rooney, the way he treated everyone he encountered and his passion for the NFL. "Mr. Rooney epitomized the best of this league: classy, great competitor, righteous, fair and a trailblazer".

He was appointed to the role by then U.S. president Barack Obama, who described him as "an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture and education". It's an fantastic record of stability and a large reason why the Steelers are considered one of the model franchises in professional sports. - Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. "This season, the number 84 on my uniform will represent the 84 years you spent on this earth making an impact on the lives of others". I think the less you say, the better off you are. "Thank you for everything".

"I have had a lifelong commitment to advancing the relationship between the American and Irish people and building peace on this lovely island, but came unexpectedly into politics and diplomacy", Mr. Rooney wrote in an op-ed piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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