NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney Dies

Owner and Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, Dan Rooney, died April 13 at the age of 84. No details surrounding Rooney’s death have been released.


One of the most influential owners in the National Football League could frequently be seen walking from his lifelong home to Steelers home games. He casually interacted with fans, employees, players, and strangers on the street with equal ease.

The National Football League’s ruling that requires teams to interview all eligible candidates for coaching and front office positions without discrimination and to increase diversity carries Rooney’s name.

He was also one of the forces behind league expansion and labour negotiations with players.

Rooney was literally born into the world of football. Young Dan could be seen with his father and original Steelers owner Art Rooney from the time he was big enough to walk on to the field. The Steelers players were his babysitters, homework tutors, and playmates growing up.

Art Rooney founded the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933; in 1936 the team changed their name to the Steelers.

Rooney took over operation of the team from his father Art in the sixties, leading them to a record six Super Bowl championships – four under quarterback Terry Bradshaw.


Rooney’s philosophy on his role as owner was to do his best for the team. Rooney said, “my job is to do what’s best for the organization and to make that decision regardless of what the consequences are to me personally. I take my position very seriously. What I want is an organization that can be together, one where everybody in the place has the same goal, and that is to win.”

When the NFL Hall of Fame inducted Rooney in 2000, he became only the second owner to earn such an honour – his father Art was the first.

Dan handed over the ownership duties to son Art in 2003.

Current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on Rooney saying he is, “one of the finest men in the history of our game.” Goodell added that Rooney’s, “dedication to the game, to the players and the coaches, to his beloved Pittsburgh, and to Steelers fans everywhere was unparalleled.”

Daniel M. Rooney was born July 20, 1932 in Pittsburgh. In high school he was a football star himself as the team quarterback. After earning an accounting degree from Duquesne University Rooney entered the family business of running a professional football team in earnest.

Photo Op and Remarks to the Pittsburgh Steelers. East Room. Blue Room.

Photo Op and Remarks to the Pittsburgh Steelers. East Room. Blue Room.

In 1969 under the leadership of head coach Chuck Noll the Steelers went 1-13 ensuring them of the first pick in the 1970 draft where they picked a young standout from Louisiana by the name of Terry Bradshaw. Joining Bradshaw were “Mean” Joe Green, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Franco Harris, Mel Blount, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, and Mike Webster and the dynasty known as The Steel Curtain was born.


In 2009 President Barack Obama appointed Rooney as the Ambassador to Ireland; a post he served for four years.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said that the upcoming NFL season would be dedicated to their late owner Dan Rooney.


Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown spoke on his team owner saying, “you looked at me as more than just another jersey number. One of the most genuine, and humble human beings I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. You motivated me not only to excel on the field but also in life. 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.”

Antonio Brown

Steelers at Ravens 12/27/15

Rooney is survived by his wife of 65 years Patricia, children, and grandchildren.

photos courtesy of:
By US Department of State –, Public Domain,

By Photojunkie – Own work, Public Domain,

By Eric Draper –, Public Domain,

By Jeno’s – “1986 Jeno’s Pizza – #46 Terry Bradshaw”. Jeno’s. 1986., Public Domain,

By David Schellhaas – Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

By Keith Allison – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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