Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, a Hall of Famer who relinquished his day-to-day operation of the team once he became the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, really misses seeing his team play. So he flew to New York over the weekend to take in a preseason game against the Giants.
As Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains it, Rooney routinely spends some time before each game in the press box, a typically eclectic mix of writers and scouts and spotters and team P.R. officials and others who have the appropriate rectangular piece of cardboard around their necks or tied to their belt loops.
On Saturday night, Mr. Rooney was doing just that — until a press box attendant asked him to leave.
As it turns out, Rooney wasn’t misbehaving in the press box (cheering, for example, is prohibited, although some ignore the rule); instead, his ticket/credential applied only to the owner’s box.
Per Bouchette, the person who asked Dan Rooney to go didn’t know it was Dan Rooney. True to form, the humble and modest Dan Rooney didn’t become unglued or play the “do you know who I am?” card. Instead, he quietly left.
Here’s hoping that Dan Rooney makes plenty of trips back to the States once the labor negotiations get rolling (if they ever get rolling). If we’re going to have football in 2011, we all need Mr. Rooney to stand up and clunk some heads together, in the most humble and modest way possible.