Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney passed away today at the age of 84. Rooney's father, Art, founded the franchise and turned it over to Dan in the 1960's. He was influential on both his team and the NFL as a whole.
With Rooney at the helm, the Steelers four titles in six years, Super Bowls IX, X, XII and XIV. And was partially responsible for draft some of the team's best players including Hall of Famers — Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.
One of his most notable accomplishments was the Rooney Rule, established in 2003 to help promote minority hiring for coaches in the NFL. Rooney was a leading figure in the league for diversity. Rooney was president of the Steelers from 1975 to 2003 when his son, Art Rooney II took over. Dan became the teams Chairman. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Commissioner Roger Goodell released this statement:
Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney. 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. Dan's dedication to the game, to the players and coaches, to his beloved Pittsburgh, and to Steelers fans everywhere was unparalleled. He was a role model and trusted colleague to commissioners since Bert Bell, countless NFL owners, and so many others in and out of the NFL.
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. For my part, Dan's friendship and counsel were both inspiring and irreplaceable. My heart goes out to Patricia, Art, and the entire Rooney family on the loss of this extraordinary man.