A reader has pointed out to us that the thousands if not millions of items currently for sale on eBay include a letter supposedly from Steelers chairman Dan Rooney to a disgruntled Seahawks fan after Super Bowl XL, who had apparently attempted to undermine the Steelers’ long-awaited “One for the Thumb” by pointing to a handful of actual and perceived officiating errors.
In our view, far more significant than the fact that the letter can be purcahsed is that it even exists.
The letter includes a list of 20 reasons why the Steelers won the game, but only the cover letter can be seen in the image of the item that currently appears on eBay.
The full text of the letter appears below. If it’s a fake, it sure doesn’t look like one.
22 February 2006
Dear Mr. [omitted]
You are something special — you watch a TV broadcast of Super Bowl XL, with all the interruptions, camera locations, replays and now know more than anyone else in America on what was wrong with the officiating. You review the plays from your own prejudice. Did you look at what was happening? I could go over the game and point out things that were just not perfect for the Steelers officiating, but why? The Seahawks held Casey Hampton, a great Pro Bowl player, on every play. But it’s over — let it go.
You say the best team didn’t win. The best team did win. They gave their all to gain the victory. The Steelers defense was outstanding from the kickoff to the final play. The offense made the plays to win. The only thing I will say — the Seahawks are a good football team — they kept it close — but the Steelers were the best.
I am pleased you are from [omitted], PA because I would be disappointed if you were from Washington. They are fine people. The Seahawks are a class team. I have much respect and high regard for Paul Allen and the Seahawk organization.
Attached are a list of 20 reasons the Steelers won.
Thank you for your interest,
/s/ Dan Rooney
cc: Commissioner Tagliabue


  1. I don’t see anything wrong with that. The fact that Mr. Rooney took the time to actually read and respond to the mail says a lot to me.

  2. Man that’s wild. And it’s funny that he CC’d it to Tagliabue. And the Steelers won because of the awful officiating.

  3. Sweet! I hope it was from Rooney. Seahawk fans, all 6 of them, will be whining about that game on their death beds.

  4. Wow… You really are reaching on this one. Most of the info you post is good but reports like this make you nothing more than an US Weekly gossip magazine. What a shame.

  5. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the letter really was from Rooney. During the owners meeting last year the head of officiating made it a point to bring up the holding call that wasn’t called against the Jags. Now of all the lousy calls why bring up that one, especially since they totally blew a call that gave Ward a TD after he was obviously grabbed the defenders face mask and took him to the ground. Ward is notorious for getting away with cheap shots, and that play was no different.
    This letter popping up is just sweet justice, and here is hoping the Cards win the Super Bowl!

  6. Dear Mr. Assface,
    Thank you for supporting the Steelers. We agree that the Seahawks received an unfair advantage from the referees, but fortunately the Steelers were able to pull out the victory.
    Keep up the good work, and we look forward to your continued patronage.
    Dan Rooney

  7. Im sick of seahawks fans bitching because the seacocks lost. Obviously they will blame something like the referees towards why their team lost because they are faithful to their team. They could just get over it and wait another 75 years for that joke of a franchise to reach another superbowl.
    By the way im not a steelers fan.
    Go jets!

  8. I call BS. But that’s just me. I’m guessing the letter is being sold by Mike Holmgren or Jerramy Stephens.

  9. The only interesting thing is that refers to the Steelers. I would have thought he would say “We”, but, I guess that’s why I’m not an executive…
    at least he cc’d Tag on it…

  10. It’s not a secret the NFL wanted the Steelers to win the game….just like they want the Steelers to win this upcoming Superbowl….the first was return for creation of the Rooney Rule…this one will be for implementation of said rule…The entire NFL office is in Dan Rooney’s pocket…..anyone who thinks otherwise is smoking something good….
    The fact that Rooney replied indicates to me there is basis for my argument!…He’s trying to defend something.

  11. That game was an absolute debacle for the league that brought into question the league’s a.) competance and/or b.) lack of integrity on the biggest stage.
    Mr. Rooney seems very defensive over the legitimacy of the victory, and perhaps he should, because even if the better team did win, perception is reality, and the perception is that the game was decided by dubious, one-sided officiating.
    But Steelers brass and fans should direct their venom at the league (and Bill Leavy) for allowing the perception to be there in the first place.

  12. There’s a reason Steeler fans don’t like talking about that game. They can go on and on about that season, but don’t have much to say about the SB.

  13. hahahah…nice….that’s freakin classic. much props to rooney, every team would be so lucky to have an owner like him

  14. well, at least seattle settled all of this at heinz field last year. with no controversial calls, they got shut out 21-0. holmgren for coach of the decade.

  15. Actually, the Colts were the BEST team that year. The Steelers were the luckiest team that year. Funny thing is that thanks to a few good bounces and bad officiating, Bill Cowher is seen as the best coach available right now. The Steelers are a great franchise but they should should not have won that game and Cowher should not have a ring.

  16. I have obtained the real letter from Dan Rooney…
    “Dear Mr. Seahawks fan,
    The Stealers defense was outstanding from the kickoff to the final play. Of course, I realize that my great defense gave up almost 400 yards even with all those holding penalties, and would have given up 487 yards without them, but hey, they were great from kickoff to final gun! Those 24 points that the Seahawks would have scored wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game!
    The offense made the plays to win. Especially big Ben’s run to the six inch line that was a called a touchdown. Just because the Seahawks had been stuffing us inside all day doesn’t mean he didn’t score. And Alan Faneca’s block on that play was awesome. We teach that in camp. It’s called the “tackle the linebacker if he beats you upfield” block. If it was really holding I’m sure my good frien… uh, unbiased referee Bill Leavy would have called it! It’s possible the ball was near enough to the goal line to be called a touchdown. I mean, it’s not like they mistook Vinnie Testaverde’s helemt for the ball or something! What are you bitching about?”
    “The only thing I will say — the Seahawks are a good football team — they kept it close (in spite of the 7 penalites that wiped out 123 additional yards and 24 additional points) — but the Stealers were the best.”

  17. This letter was actually sent immediately after the Superbowl in 2005, it’s not the Hawks fans bringing it up again, it’s just one person trying to make a buck in a bad economy. If it is Rooney, it really just shows his lack of finesse in handling a situation. Not much different than the situation in Cleveland (Go root for the Bills). Some things you just have to ignore.

  18. My Dad lives in Vegas and three guys who run seperate sportsbooks all thought the game was FIXED! We all remember Darrell Jackson but remember the phantom hold on Alexanders 50 yard run. This game and the tuck rule go hand and hand. Like Holmgren said “We did’nt know we were going to have to play against two teams”

  19. As an Eagles fan I have no rooting interest in this matter. However, THAT was the most biased officiating, in any game in any sport, I have ever seen in my life. That includes games that Tim Donaghy officiated in the NBA. As far as I’m concerned, the last Bowl the Steelers “won” was when Terry Bradshaw was on the team.

  20. I swear that there are more Steeler fans on these boards than any other team.
    Not saying that is bad.
    I just notice that any anti Steelers article and all of a sudden ESPN or this site is a joke.
    But if there is an anti-any other team article, you don’t see thiose kind of posts.
    Just observing.

  21. I call b.s. I’ve see the executive letterhead out of the Steeler’s front office. The three hypocycloids are yellow, red, and blue.

  22. ROY11 says:
    January 26th, 2009 at 8:47 am
    And the Steelers won because of the awful officiating.
    And the Steelers won IN SPITE of awful officiating in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. Bad calls go both ways and great teams find a way to win.

  23. Jets franchise has sure been a pillar of excellence…oh wait you did win the SB 40 years ago..my bad

  24. the real humor of the letter is that he complained of casey hampton being held on every play. now that is a true pittsburgh sports fan. hypocritical idiots driving on a one way street. they cant stand the fact that another fan base gets to complain about the officiating . and more importantly,against them.

  25. dick_curl says:
    January 26th, 2009 at 9:05 am
    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the letter really was from Rooney. During the owners meeting last year the head of officiating made it a point to bring up the holding call that wasn’t called against the Jags. Now of all the lousy calls why bring up that one, especially since they totally blew a call that gave Ward a TD after he was obviously grabbed the defenders face mask and took him to the ground. Ward is notorious for getting away with cheap shots, and that play was no different.
    This letter popping up is just sweet justice, and here is hoping the Cards win the Super Bowl!
    Now dick — very appropriate name by the way — dick, I want you to read this closely, and see why you are typical of the ignorant, know-nothing fan referred to in that letter:
    Three Months Later, NFL Apologizes For Screwing the Steelers
    JJ CooperPosted Apr 2nd 2008 10:16PM by JJ Cooper
    Filed under: Jaguars, Steelers, Pittsburgh
    Three months later, the NFL has said it’s sorry.
    On the key fourth down and two late in the Jaguars playoff game, director of officiating Mike Peirera said the Jags should have been flagged for a holding penalty. That holding penalty would have wiped away David Garrard’s 32-yard scramble and would have given the Jaguars a fourth and 12 instead. If Pittsburgh had held on fourth and 12 (which seems pretty likely), they would have advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
    Got that dick? Good — now you know where you can shove your here’s hoping the Cards win.

  26. Drum Roll Please!!!!!!!
    We have a winner of the Pepsi Pack, wait for it:
    ClevelandSucks says:
    January 26th, 2009 at 8:50 am
    Still crying for that beating Seattle fans? Suck a fat one losers.
    Hahaha, just kidding, ClevelandSucks doesnt seem to have the mental capacity to give an intelligent comment, he sticks to the simple stuff, like “suck a fat one”, or, “I hope he breaks his jaw”, you know, something that really gives a good reflection of the Steelers fan base

  27. He also should have asked him why the Seahawks were the only people on the face of the earth who didn’t realize that Randel El was going to throw the ball at some point in the game.
    Also, he should have pointed out the fact that no one on the Seahawks laid a finger on Willie Parker’s record breaking TD run in the 3rd quarter.

  28. Somewhere in Alabama Phil Savage has a Kool-Aid smile right now. He was just a G.M. This guy is one of the 17 owners of the Steelers.

  29. There is no getting around the fact that officiating in that game was terrible and that it helped the Steelers. The fact that Rooney even responded to the letter shows that he is a bit self-conscious about it. I love the “holding on every play” line too. That’s the old NFL stand by. That game went beyond no calls.

  30. Anyone with eyeballs and a fuctional brain that was watching the game could see that the outcome was predetermined by the zebras. I could care less about either team one way or the other but it made me sick to my stomach to see a SB officiated like that.
    Is it true that Mike Holmgren was never fined for this comment following the SB?…
    “we knew it was going to be tough playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, but we didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well.”

  31. I’m a Titans fan. The Rooneys are amongst the best owners in pro sports, period. There are very few owners that foster the kind of consistency of management that has characterized the Steelers. When teams like SD with their AJ Smiths start devolving into pettiness and politics the Steelers remain free of these distractions. They’re just about football. If all other teams in the NFL followed the approach that the Rooney’s do there would be real parity, not the just pretty-good parity we have now. And here’s a guess, maybe the team is successful over the long haul because, if this letter is any evidence, the Rooney’s aren’t about bullshit. Hey I give em props for that. I don’t know too many people in management positions that have the testicular fortitude to speak their mind and I know even less insanely rich people who are neither grossly deluded nor emotionally crippled. Clearly the Rooneys are an exception. Good for them, we need more people like this in the world.

  32. Whoever posted that letter on eBay should be thanking Florio, I’m sure the winning bid will be double what it would have been without this free advertisement.

  33. Deep down Steelers fans know Superbowl XL was a tainted victory. Denial helps them cope with that fact.

  34. Rooney must realize the game was determined by the referees if he took the time to defend a title he was already holding the trophy for. That game defined the horrific officiating that has bloomed of late in the NFL. This season’s officiating was the worse I have seen to date, and it only continued into the playoffs. The NFL needs full-time refs and to cease the policy of using individuals with other full-time jobs. I personally do not count Super Bowl XL as an official game and do not accept the Steelers claim to the title. Super Bowl XL, in the history books, should have a big asterix listed as the winner.

  35. Mikey,
    Have you ever read anything that Dan Rooney has written? (Hint the man has been published more than once.)
    Have you ever heard Dan Rooney speak? (Hint: That red “Power” button on your remote control device will turn that box on and a picures and sound will come out of it.)
    The “letter”: The tone, presentation, content, on-and-freaking-on in that “letter” are so far from Dan’s style that I swear I now know know why I both love you and more often hate you.
    If you are going to publish crap like this, PLEASE give it the proper slant, which in this case was easy, the thing is a fraud.
    I loved the early years of PFT. Please, bring back the old Mikey, the one that existed before this one became so freaking rich, famous and careless.
    (I think not.)

  36. Seattle needs to get over it. THEY LOST BY ELEVEN POINTS. For the guy complaining about the penalty drawn by Ward in last year’s JAX game, explain to me the ridiculous holding call on Sean Mahan on the successful 2 point conversion that led to it being invalidated and a subsequent 2 point conversion failure after a10 yard penalty? That was even worse call than the non call on the pivotal Gerrard run on 4th down.
    Steelers have had their share of bad calls through the years. Yet Steelers haters point to ONE freaking game where they got the benefit of one bad call that did not affect the game and a few ticky tacky ones that cost Seattle 4 points on the first reversed TD. Even if one gave Seattle the first down on the later call in the second half, all they are guaranteed of getting is 3 points and maybe 7. You do not know. Just as Hasselback threw an INT onthe same drive or Ben threw an INT from the 2 yard line near the endzone, no guarantee Seattle scores a TD. So we got 7 points taken away from Seattle. Then there is the case of Ben’s TD. Please,the tip of the ball is supposed to cross any part of the white line. GEt a freaking decent sized HDTV and freeze frame the sequence and advance it frame by frame. You cannot tell me that you can tell for sure the ball never touched the part of the white line adjacent to the field of play. And even if I grant you that, that is 4 extra points assuming Steelers do not go for it on 4th and inches. And the 2005 Steelers team was hell of a lot better at getting 4th and an inch compared to the 2008 version.But for charity’s sake, let’s give Seattle 4 points on that. THAT IS ELEVEN POINTS if you factor in every single ticky tacky call. Steelers won by 11 in a second half where the only thing that stopped them on offense was Ben’s INT near the goalline. The 2005 Steelers came up with gadget plays or whatever needed to win a game. If the game was still close after the Randle El TD, I am pretty sure Steelers would have figured a way out to score at least a FG on the next drive instead of trying to kill time.
    Seattle, when you lose games by a TD or less, and have had worse calls go against you, then whine. The Steelers have had that happen to them in close games in the playoffs many more times. They even won a game against Indy just 3 weeks prior to the SB despite worse calls that were determined to be clearly wrong and did affect the game(the lack of clear pass interference on Indy against Randle El in the first half and the reversal of the Polamalu INT made a blowout to be much closer than it should have been).

  37. The seller named “seahawksrooneyletter2006” was clearly created specifically to sell this and has zero feedback. Not only that, but they are selling something that can so easily be faked. Anyone who bids on this is a moron. You don’t have to be an “ebay nerd” to realize that something stinks about this whole auction.

  38. Now, then dick curl, you are typical of the blind Steeler hater who ignores everything but what you want to focus on. Ward also WAS INTERFERED WITH in that game, and it wasn’t called. But of course, you only cherry pick one thing from an entire game. Not only that, but no other call COMPARES to what the Jags’ o-line got away with, which decided the game. Decided the game. Decided the game.
    Got that? Good.

  39. This is so obviously a fake that I can’t believe anyone with an IQ over 70 would fall for it….
    It also just further ruins the reputation of both Seahawks fans out there as they are whiny little girls and full of sour grapes.
    The rest of the NFL knows you all are new to football, but at least learn the rules before complaining about them…
    push off in the endzone is PI
    grabbing a pass rushers jersey and tackle him is holding
    ball that breaks the plane of the EZ is a TD
    Move along now, the Seahawks are back to being irrelevant!

  40. It’s always amazed me how Whinehawk fans actually believe the refs had anything to do with the outcome of Super Bowl 40. The only bad call was the forth quarter personal foul against Hasselback after his interception.
    The other “controversial” plays were calls you see every week in the NFL. The Big Ben TD late in the first half was very close, but what everyone forgets that was THIRD down, and the Steelers would have gone for it the next play. Seattle had as much chance of stopping the TD as Cleveland does of reaching the Super Bowl next year!

  41. Oregon2000 wrote:
    “The other “controversial” plays were calls you see every week in the NFL.”
    Funny thing, how come most of the time, those calls involve the Steelers?

  42. I’ve sold on ebay since 1997. I’ve learned to look at things that are easily reproduced very skeptically and this has a lot of red flags.
    Regarding the seller
    The seller created the account specifically to sell this item.
    He has no feedback history, has never bought or sold anything but DOES have a paypal account.
    He’s specified “No Returns”
    Regarding the letterhead:
    The word “Steelers” is in color, the hypocycloids are not. One the envelope the entire logo is black. Would an NFL team not have consistant letterhead?
    Regarding the letter:
    Would Rooney actually criticize NFL officiating (Casey Hampton being held the entire game) in a letter to an irate fan? Doubtful in my mind.
    The most glaring statement to me is “I’m glad to see that you are from PA. I would be disappointed if you are from Washington. They are fine people.”
    The obvious inference here is that people from Pa aren’t fine people. Is Rooney actually stupid enough to insult his own family and fan base, or is this an attempt to justify in the item itself that the item being sold from Pittsburgh?

  43. I know this about that Super Bowl:
    1. The officiating was horrendous.
    2. The Steelers might have still won — even if the officiating had been fair. But we’ll never know.
    3. If the Seahawks had benefited from poor officiating, we (Seahawks fans) would have been just like the Steelers fans: too excited to care.

  44. Isn’t this a non-story? Until the letter is authenticated any comment on it is pointless and invalid. The game was played YEARS ago. It’s in the books. Move on. I do have to ask a few questions about the letter, though. Why would Dan Rooney respond to a random fan about the game? Why would he circulated a copy to the commissioner? What good does it do? The fan said nothing that dozens of talking heads in the sports world hadn’t already said after the game. Why not just issue the letter as a press release if defending their win was this important to him? What purpose does a single letter to a single disgruntled fan serve?
    If I had to guess I’d say this letter was a fake if only for the following reason: It makes Dan Rooney look petty and foolish. Why would he want to do that to himself? He’s not stupid. He holds a place of respect within the NFL community. Why tarnish that image?

  45. I am a Titans fan who lives near seattle washington, I frequently am forced to get my gameday fix by going to Qwest Field a few times a year…don’t get me wrong, I like the hawks, and I am honored to be part of the loudest stadium in the league, (ask the players) but every game, there is bitching about super bowl XL. I try to explain to them that yes, they got bum calls, but you can not put yourselves in the position to have the refs beat you. You have to catch the football, hang on to the football, block people, and tackle people. Seattle missed assignments, dropped wide open passes, and missed tackles. Pittsburgh made the plays, Seattle didn’t. Well said Mr. Rooney, and you can thank Lendale White and Alge Crumpler for your oppurtunity this season, if those guys would have hung on to the ball, your Steelers would have gotten dominated in Nashville….again.

  46. there you go stealer fans another hollow superbowl !!!!! a-holes. Dod you notice the bullshit penalties every time it seemed things might not go the stealers way. sell those jerseys and t shirts dicks. I suppose there isnt much money selling cards or Seahawk merchandise. your refs are turning the nfl into pro wrestling (something near and dear to most ignorant stealer fans) good luck stealin it next year

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