Art Rooney

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Pittsburgh's Hero Art Rooney What I learned doing this report, is that no owner was as beloved as Art Rooney was.

He was born on July 27, 1901 a Pittsburgh native. He was the oldest of nine children. Rooney was quite the exceptional athlete. He held middleweight and welterweight titles from the AAU Boxing Championship and was named to the US Olympic team in 1920 but did not participate in the games. He played minor league baseball in 1920 "“ 1925 but his career was cut short because of an arm injury. He played football for many teams in the Pittsburgh area.

He married Kathlee McNulty in 1931 and then had 5 sons. In 1964, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his contribution to the growth of the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the mid 60's, Rooney slowly started to hand the team over to his oldest son, Dan.

Dan, a big football fan, played quarterback for his varsity High School Football team in Pittsburgh. Dan, now owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Although, Art Rooney handed the team over to his son, Dan, he was always willing to sit down with a good cigar and talk about life with any visitor and be entirely sincere. He was very proud but never conceded. When the Steelers won their first Super Bowl he didn't make a long speech; he just said thank you to the people who helped build the Steelers.

In the early 80's, NFL films realized that the Steelers were the most successful team of the 70's, so they wanted to call the Steelers "America's Team". Rooney kindly refused the offer. When asked why, he replied "They're not America's Team, they are Pittsburgh's Team and the People who live there." On August 25, 1988, Pittsburgh lost it's hero to natural causes. It was once said that Art was the model of humility.