Despite owning the Steelers, Dan Rooney cared about the NFL nearly as much, if not as much, as he cared about his team. Because of that, Dan Rooney became a key figure in the growth of the league into the dominant sport on the American landscape.
“Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement issued Thursday, following the passing of Mr. 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.”
An extraordinary man from an extraordinary family that has owned the Steelers from the moment the franchise was founded, and that by all appearances will continue to own the team for many more years and decades into the future.