Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at 84

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at 84

"My goal was to build a team that could sustain a winning tradition just like the Rooney family had with the Pittsburgh Steelers". Dan will be missed and the loss will be felt by the entire league.

Perhaps Rooney's most lasting contribution to the National Football League - and to sports in general - came with the Rooney Rule.

Dan was the namesake for the Rooney Rule, which in 2003 was established to force teams with head coaching and general manager vacancies to interview minority candidates.

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

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"Our sincerest condolences go out to the Rooney family and the Steelers organization".

The franchise announced that the chairman passed away at 84 years old on Thursday afternoon. Rooney was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2000, marking only the second time a father and son have both been inducted - Art Sr. was enshrined in 1964. Rooney spearheaded the team's commitment to continuity and stability. "A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was one of the finest men in the history of our game and it was a privilege to work alongside him for so many years". Rooney was then the chairman of the NFL's diversity committee. Tomlin has the sixth-most wins in league history for the first 10 years of a head coaching career. Rooney was a legend in the Steel City and helped turn the Steelers into the first-class franchise they are today.

The Rooney Rule's goal particularly advocated for the fair and proper treatment of African Americans to ensure equal, unbiased consideration for high level football positions.

Dan Rooney was and will remain one of the most respected owners in this league. He is survived by Patricia, his wife of 65 years, as well as seven children, 20 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four brothers. The Steelers became the first National Football League club to hire an African-American executive when Bill Nunn, the sports editor of The Pittsburgh Courier and an expert at scouting talented players from traditionally black colleges, began working part time for the team in 1967. The rule was established after the 2002 season, which ended with two African American coaches, Tony Dungy and Dennis Green, getting fired despite successful tenures with their respective teams. He served from July 2009 to December 2012, but he frequently returned to the Steelers and the NFL. "You motivated me not only to excel on the field but also in life".

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