Art Rooney

Arthur Joseph Rooney Sr. (January 27, 1901 – August 25, 1988), often referred to as "The Chief", was the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, an American football franchise in the National Football League (NFL), from 1933 until his death. Rooney is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was an Olympic qualifying boxer, and was part or whole owner in several track sport venues and Pittsburgh area pro teams. He was the first president of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1933 to 1974, and the first chairman of the team from 1933 to 1988.

Art Rooney
Candid black and white head-shot photograph of Rooney wearing a white shirt and black-rimmed eyeglasses chewing on an unlit cigar
Image of Rooney from "BELIEVE" posters
Personal information
Born:January 27, 1901
Coulterville, Pennsylvania
Died:August 25, 1988 (aged 87)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Career information
High school:Duquesne University Prep
College:Indiana Normal, Georgetown
Career history
As executive:
Career highlights and awards
As owner:

Family history

Rooney's great-grandparents, James and Mary Rooney, were Irish Catholics who emigrated from Newry in County Down, Ireland to Canada during the Irish potato famine in the 1840s. While living in Montreal, the Rooneys had a son, Arthur (who would become Art Rooney's grandfather). James and Mary later moved to Ebbw Vale, Wales, where the iron industry was flourishing, taking their son Arthur, then 21, with them. This Arthur Rooney married Catherine Regan (who was also Irish Catholic), in Wales, and they had a son, Dan. Two years after Dan Rooney was born, the family moved back to Canada and eventually ended up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1884. Along the way the family grew to include nine children of which Dan was the second.[1]

Dan Rooney remained in the Pittsburgh area, and eventually opened a saloon in the Monongahela Valley coal town of Coulter, Pennsylvania (or Coultersville). This is where Dan Rooney met and wed Margaret "Maggie" Murray, who was the daughter of a coal miner, and where the couple's first son, Arthur Joseph Rooney, was born. Dan and Maggie would eventually settle their family in Pittsburgh's North Side in 1913, where they bought a three-story building at the corner of Corey Street and General Robinson Street. Dan operated a cafe and saloon out of the first floor with the family living above. The building was located just a block from Exposition Park, which had been home to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team until 1909.[1]

Education and athletics

Rooney attended St. Peter's Catholic School in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University where he and his brother were football standouts, then several semesters at Indiana Normal School before completing a final year at Temple University on an athletic scholarship.[2] After graduation, he dedicated himself to sports, winning the AAU welterweight belt in 1918 and tried out for the 1920 Olympic Team,[3] he played minor league baseball for both the Flint, Michigan "Vehicles" and the Wheeling, West Virginia "Stogies".[4] In 1925 he served as Wheeling's player-manager and led the Middle Atlantic League in games, hits, runs, stolen bases and finished 2nd in batting average as his brother Dan Rooney (Wheelings catcher that year) finished 3rd in BA. Art also played halfback for the semi-pro Pittsburgh "Hope Harvey" and "Majestic Radio" clubs which he later took over and renamed the J.P. Rooneys before purchasing an NFL franchise for $2,500 in 1933.[2]

Pittsburgh Steelers

Rooney's affiliation with the National Football League (NFL) began in 1933 when he paid a $2,500 franchise fee to found a club based in the city of Pittsburgh. He had named his new team the "Pirates" which was also the name of the city's long-established Major League Baseball club of which Rooney was a fan since a childhood spent in the shadow of the team's stadium.

Since the league's inception in 1920, the NFL had wanted a team in Pittsburgh due to the city's already-long history with football as well as the popularity of the Pittsburgh Panthers football team, an NCAA national championship contender during this period. The league was finally able to take advantage of Pennsylvania relaxing their blue laws that prior to 1933 prohibited sporting events from taking place on Sundays, when most NFL games take place.

In 1936, Rooney won a parlay at Saratoga Race Course, which netted him about $160,000. He used the winnings to hire a coach, Joe Bach, give contracts to his players and almost win a championship. The winnings funded the team until 1941 when he sold the franchise to NY playboy Alex Thompson. Thompson wanted to move the franchise to Boston so he could be within a five-hour train ride of his club. At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles ran into financial problems. Rooney used the funds from the sale of franchise to get a 70% interest in the Eagles, the other 30% held by Rooney friend and future NFL commissioner, Bert Bell. Bell and Rooney agreed to trade places with Thompson. Bell took the role of President of the Steelers that he relinquished to Rooney in 1946 when Bell became Commissioner. Rooney got his good friend and his sister's father in law, Barney McGinley, to buy Bell's shares. Barney's son Jack, Art's brother in law, retained the McGinley interest that passed to his heirs when he died in 2006.[6]

Rooney sent shock waves through the NFL by signing Byron "Whizzer" White to a record-breaking $15,000 contract in 1938. This move, however, did not bring the Pirates a winning season, and White left the team for the Detroit Lions the following year. The club did not have a season above .500 until 1942, the year after they were renamed the Pittsburgh Steelers.

During World War II, the Steelers had some financial difficulties and were merged with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1943 and the Chicago Cardinals in 1944.

After the war, Rooney became team president. He longed to bring an NFL title to Pittsburgh but was never able to beat the powerhouse teams, like the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers. The Steelers also struggled with playing in a city and era where baseball was king and were treated as something of a joke compared to the Pirates. The team also made some questionable personnel calls at the time such as cutting a then-unknown Johnny Unitas in training camp (Unitas would go on to a Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Colts) and trading their first round pick in the 1965 draft to the Chicago Bears (who would draft Dick Butkus with the pick), among others.

Nevertheless, Rooney was popular with owners as a mediator, which would carry over to his son Dan Rooney. He was the only owner to vote against moving the rights of the New York Yanks to Dallas, Texas after the 1951 season due to concerns of racism in the South at the time.[8] (Ultimately, the Dallas Texans failed after one year, and the rights were moved to Baltimore, where the team became the Baltimore Colts. The team now plays in Indianapolis.) In 1963, along with Bears owner George Halas, Rooney was one of two owners to vote for the 1925 NFL Championship to be reinstated to the long-defunct Pottsville Maroons.

Pittsburgh Penguins

As a pillar of the community in many aspects, Rooney was asked to lend his considerable influence in the city's bid to reclaim a NHL franchise during the league's expansion in 1967. Although Pittsburgh enjoyed championship hockey with the professional but "minor league" Pittsburgh Hornets since its NHL franchise (the Pirates hockey team) disbanded in 1930 from the effects of the Great Depression, many city leaders were pushing for the region to become more "major league" suggesting that Mr. Rooney use his influence in the sports industry to have the league award Pittsburgh a franchise. Rooney proved his worth and from 1967 until the early 1970s was a part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.[9][10]

Homestead Grays

In a 1981 interview by the Pittsburgh Press Rooney related that "from time to time he had helped financially support the Negro League team, the Homestead Grays, and . . . was a better baseball fan than football fan."[11]

Track sports

Rooney also acquired the Yonkers Raceway in 1972, the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Green Mountain Kennel Club in Vermont, Shamrock Stables in Maryland and owned the Liberty Bell Park Racetrack outside Philadelphia.[12]

Later life

Following the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the Steelers agreed to leave the NFL Eastern Conference and joined the AFC Central Division.

Through expert scouting, the Steelers became a power. In 1972, they began a remarkable 8–year run of playoff appearances, and thirteen straight years of winning seasons, including three additional playoff berths. In Rooney's 41st season as owner, the club won the Super Bowl. During Rooney's lifetime the team also had Super Bowl victories following the 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons. They also won the Super Bowl in the 2005 and 2008 seasons, making the Steelers the first team following the AFL–NFL merger to win six Super Bowls.

Following the Steelers' victory in Super Bowl IX, Rooney stepped down from day-to-day management of the team, but remained the ultimate source of authority until his death. Dan, his son, took over as team president. Rooney died from complications of a stroke on August 25, 1988. An August 1987 Pittsburgh Press story stated that Rooney never missed a Hall of Fame induction ceremony in all 25 years, and that he was asked to present his third inductee, John Henry Johnson that month.[14] In memory of "The Chief", Steelers wore a patch on the left shoulder of their uniforms with Rooney's initials AJR for the entire season. The team ended up finishing 5-11, their worst record since a 1–13 showing in 1969. He is buried at the North Side Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh.[15]


Art Rooney Statute at HeinzField
A statue of Art Rooney at Heinz Field

In 1964, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Duquesne University named their football field in his honor in 1993. In 1999 Rooney ranked 81st on the Sporting News' "100 Most Powerful Sports Figures of the 20th Century" list. A statue of his likeness graces the entrance to the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field. The street that runs adjacent to Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side is named "Art Rooney Avenue" in his honor.[16][17] In 2000, he was inducted as a "pioneer" into the American Football Association's Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame.[18]

During Rooney's life, the Steelers would often use a late-round draft pick on a player from a local college like Pitt, West Virginia or Penn State. Though these players rarely made the team, this practice was intended to appeal to local fans and players. The team has occasionally employed this practice after Rooney's death, however, they now focus more on talent than geography throughout the entire draft. Rooney also supposedly liked players from Notre Dame due to his Irish Catholic background, which some say explains why he allegedly had the team keep Notre Dame alumnus and wounded Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier. Bleier would go on to become one of the key members of the team's success in the 1970s.

Art Rooney is the subject of, and the only character in, the one-man play The Chief, written by Gene Collier and Rob Zellers. The play debuted at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2003, and has been revived on three occasions since then. All productions have starred Tom Atkins as Rooney.

At Steelers games, there is a sign that shows a picture of Rooney with his characteristic cigar and under the photo, the word "Believe."

Art J. Rooney was for 51 years, until her 1982 death, married to Kathleen Rooney née McNulty (1904–1982). Kathleen was the mother of Art's five sons, who are Dan Rooney, the chairman of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a former United States Ambassador to Ireland, Art Rooney Jr., Timothy Rooney, Patrick Rooney, and John Rooney (all also directors of the Pittsburgh Steelers). She is also grandmother of the couple's 32 grandchildren, including current Steelers president Art Rooney II and U.S. Representative Thomas J. Rooney (R, FL-16). The couple also has about 75 great grandchildren, including actress sisters Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.[22][23][24][25]



  • Klavon, Jacqueline E. "Rooney, Arthur Joseph (The Chief) bio". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Retrieved May 4, 2011.


  1. ^ a b Rooney, Arthur J. (Jr.); McHugh, Roy (2008). Ruanaidh:The Story of Art Rooney and his clan. pp. 2–5. ISBN 978-0-9814760-3-2.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Vince (September 30, 2007). "From the PG Archives: Rooney Unique in Pro Football Hall of Fame". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Art Rooney Register Statistics & History –".
  5. ^ "Art Rooney".
  6. ^ Tucker, Murray. Screamer: The Forgotten Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. ISBN 978-0595471256.
  7. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search".
  8. ^ 75 Seasons: The Complete Story of the National Football League, pg. 103
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Lawrence Journal-World – Google News Archive Search".
  11. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search".
  12. ^ Tuma, Gary (October 14, 2007). "From the PG Archives: Steelers' Art Rooney in retrospect". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  13. ^ a b "Art Rooney".
  14. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search".
  15. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  16. ^ "Map of Art Rooney Avenue". Google. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  17. ^ Barnes, Tom (August 1, 2001). "There has been development near the new stadiums, but no one is sure what will happen between them". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  18. ^ "2010 Hall of Fame listing" (PDF). American Football Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  19. ^ "Art Rooney Never Changed". The New York Times. 26 August 1988.
  20. ^ "Archives –".
  21. ^ Mendelson, Abby (1996). The Pittsburgh Steelers: The Official Team History. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-87833-957-0.
  22. ^ The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol. 2 (1986–1990), pp. 741-742, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999
  23. ^ "The Rooneys: A fight for future generations".
  24. ^ 1988 NY Times obituary for Art Rooney
  25. ^ "'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' is … Rooney Mara". The Washington Post.

Further reading

  • O'Brien, Jim (2001). The Chief: Art Rooney and his Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh: James P. O'Brien – Publishing. ISBN 1-886348-06-5.

External links

Media related to Art Rooney (1901–1988) at Wikimedia Commons

1933 Pittsburgh Pirates (NFL) season

The 1933 Pittsburgh Pirates was the debut season of the team that would eventually become the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team was founded after Pennsylvania relaxed its blue laws that, prior to 1933, prohibited sporting events from taking place on Sundays, when most NFL games took place. The new squad was composed largely of local semi-pro players, many of whom played for sports promoter Art Rooney. Rooney became the Pirates owner, paying the NFL a $2,500 fee to join the league. Except for a brief period in 1940 and '41, Rooney would remain the franchise's principal owner until his death in 1988. The Rooney family has retained a controlling interest ever since.

The team took the field for the first time on September 20 against the New York Giants at Forbes Field, losing 23–2. The following week, the team got its first win, defeating the Chicago Cardinals at home 14–13.

The team finished 3–6–2 for the season.

Art Rooney Award

The Art Rooney Award is given annually by the National Football League (NFL) in recognition of outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field. Established in 2015, the award is named in honor of Art Rooney, the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The award is determined by a vote of the NFL players. The award is presented each year to an NFL player who demonstrates on the field the qualities of great sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for opponents, and integrity in competition.

Each NFL team nominates one player during the season. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected from the 32 nominees eight finalists (four in the American Football Conference; four in the National Football Conference). The panel of Legends Coordinators in the inaugural year was composed of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler. Along with the award, the winner receives a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

Art Rooney II

Arthur Joseph Rooney II (born September 14, 1952) is the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL).

Art Rooney Pace

The Art Rooney Pace is an American harness racing event for three-year-old standardbred pacers run each year at Yonkers Raceway with the exception of 2006 when it was hosted by Monticello Raceway. First run in 1989, it is named in honor of Art Rooney (1901-1988), owner of several racetracks, including Yonkers, plus the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.

Dan Rooney

Daniel Milton Rooney (July 20, 1932 – April 13, 2017) was an American executive and diplomat best known for his association with the Pittsburgh Steelers, an American football team in the National Football League (NFL), and son of the Steelers' founder, Art Rooney. He held various roles within the organization, most notably as president, owner and chairman.

Rooney implemented a philosophy and management style that emphasized open, practical and efficient management. The Steelers were very successful during his tenure, winning fifteen division championships, eight AFC Championships, and an NFL record six Super Bowl Championships. In 2000, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game. He was also credited with spearheading a requirement that NFL teams with head coach and general manager vacancies interview at least one minority candidate, which has become known as the "Rooney Rule".

Outside of football, Rooney served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland, from July 2009 until his resignation in December 2012. He was also co-founder of the Ireland-related fundraising organization The Ireland Funds.

Homestead Grays

The Homestead Grays (also known as Washington Grays or Washington Homestead Grays) were a professional baseball team that played in the Negro leagues in the United States.

The team was formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, and remained in continuous operation for 38 seasons. The team was originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, adjacent to Pittsburgh. By the 1920s, with increasing popularity in the Pittsburgh region, the team retained the name "Homestead" but crossed the Monongahela River to play all home games in Pittsburgh, at the Pittsburgh Pirates' home Forbes Field and the Pittsburgh Crawfords' home Greenlee Field.

From 1940 until 1942, the Grays played half of their home games in Washington, D.C., while remaining in Pittsburgh for all other home stands. As attendance at their games in the nation's capital grew, by 1943, the Grays were playing more than two-thirds of their home games in Washington.

J.P. Rooneys

The J.P. Rooneys (or formally the James P. Rooneys) were an independent semi-professional American football team, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team was founded by Art Rooney, who is best known for being the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, and this team is considered to be the unofficial beginnings of the modern-day Steelers. The team played at Exposition Park and reportedly had up to 12,000 people in the stands at times.

Kevin Colbert

Kevin Colbert (; born January 1957) is the general manager of the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers since the start of 2000. He is widely credited with putting together the Super Bowl XL and the Super Bowl XLIII teams in Pittsburgh along with owner Dan Rooney, president Art Rooney II, and coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin.

List of National Football League awards

In the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in North America, there are a variety of awards presented to recognize players and teams for outstanding achievements. Each year on the night before the Super Bowl, the NFL Honors ceremony is held to present many of the league's most prestigious awards. In addition to these awards, there are many other organizations that present their own awards after each NFL season, often accompanied by a banquet and other festivities. Because of this, there is a much wider range of awards recognized in football compared to that of other major North American sports.

Mose Kelsch

Christian "Mose" Kelsch (January 31, 1897 – July 13, 1935) was an American football placekicker and running back in the National Football League (NFL). He was a charter member of the Pittsburgh Pirates (which would later be renamed the Steelers).

Kelsch grew up as an orphan in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill neighborhood. He earned the nickname "Mose" while playing sandlot baseball, though no one was able to recall the circumstances that brought the name about. He played semi-professional football for several teams in the area, including the Hope-Harveys, James P. Rooneys and Majestic Radio teams managed by Art Rooney which would form the basis of the NFL's Pirates.At the time he joined the newly formed Pirates in 1933 Kelsch, at 36 years old, was the oldest player in the NFL. Even the Pirates' owner, Rooney, was four years his junior. He was used almost exclusively for his kicking ability, coming into the game to convert field goals and extra points. He may have been the first such "specialist" in the still-nascent NFL. He was also one of the few players in the league at the time who never played college football and listed the "School of Hard Knocks" as his alma mater whenever asked.Kelsch never married. He died in an automobile accident on July 13, 1935. Art Rooney served as a pall-bearer at his funeral.

Pennsylvania Keystoners

The Pennsylvania Keystoners was the idea for an American football team thought up by then-Pittsburgh Pirates owner, Art Rooney, in 1939 to have a single National Football League franchise based in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The team would play half of its home games in each location.

During their early histories, the Pirates and the Eagles were among the weakest in the league. In his first eight years of operating the Pittsburgh franchise, Pirates founder Art Rooney was estimated to have lost $100,000. Meanwhile, the Eagles were owned by a syndicate headed by Bert Bell, however the team lost $80,000 and 21 games in its first three seasons. Soon all of the team's investors left the franchise, and by the end of the 1935 season Bert Bell had the Eagles to himself. He became the coach, general manager, scout and public relations director, and took to selling tickets on downtown Philadelphia street corners. Because the rent was cheap, the team played in the 102,000 seat Municipal Stadium before at least 100,000 empty seats. According to one account, one rainy Sunday, only 50 people showed up for a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers; Bell invited those few fans up to the covered press box, where he provided free coffee and hot dogs. Neither the Eagles nor the Pirates-Steelers had posted a winning record in their first eight years of existence. Losses on the field were compounded by the combined loss of about $190,000 in Depression dollars.

The Steelers were so bad that Rooney sold them at the end of the 1940 season to Alexis Thompson, a 26-year-old steel heir from Boston frequently described in the press as "a well-heeled New York City playboy". Thompson renamed the Steelers the Ironmen, but he planned to move the franchise to Boston and play games in Fenway Park. Eagles owner Bert Bell brokered the deal between Rooney and Thompson for $160,000, and Rooney used $80,000 of the proceeds to buy a partnership in the Eagles, which at the time was owned by Bell. The deal also involved the trade of several players between the two teams.

The two owners planned to field a combined Philadelphia-Pittsburgh team called the Keystoners that would play home games in both cities. The original proposition was that Thompson would buy the franchise and take the Pittsburgh club to Boston and Bell and Rooney would pool their interests in the Eagles to form a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh club, splitting the home games between Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. Thompson, however, was unable to secure a place to play in Boston. After meeting with Rooney, plans changed whereby Thompson's club (ostensibly the former Steelers) would play in Philadelphia as the Eagles, while the Rooney-Bell owned team would play in Pittsburgh as the Steelers, effectively trading the two clubs between their cities.

Before the 1941 season, Rooney returned the name to Steelers back from the Ironmen. Bell began the season as the Steelers' coach, but after two losses, Rooney hired Aldo Donelli. Bell continued as part owner of the Steelers until 1946 when he was elected NFL commissioner. Bell served as commissioner until 1959 when he died of a heart attack at Franklin Field in Philadelphia during a game between two teams he had helped form, the Steelers and the Eagles.

The notion for a single team between the two cities was revived, when for one season in 1943, forced to do so by player shortfalls brought on by World War II, the two clubs temporarily merged as the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh "Steagles". The league only approved the merger for one year; Pittsburgh was willing to merge again for 1944 but not Philadelphia. This forced the Steelers to merge with the Chicago Cardinals (as Card-Pitt) for 1944.

Philadelphia Spartans

The Philadelphia Spartans were a soccer team based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that played in the non-FIFA sanctioned National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). They played their only season of existence at Temple Stadium in North Philadelphia. The team was owned by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. The team colors were maroon and gold.

Following the 1967 season, the NPSL merged with the United Soccer Association to form the North American Soccer League. After requests to the new merged league for a year's hiatus was rejected, the Spartans folded before the 1968 NASL season, incurring losses of $500,000. Many Spartans players—including 1967 NPSL Most Valuable Player, Ruben Navarro, John Best, and Peter Short—were signed by the Cleveland Stokers for the 1968 NASL season.

Pittsburgh Lyceum (American football)

The Pittsburgh Lyceum were a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1906 until 1910. The team played against many of the top "Ohio League", the most notables being the Canton Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers. They were regarded as one of the top professional football teams in Pittsburgh from 1907 until the mid-1920s. The Lyceum was also the last pro football championship team Pittsburgh would produce until the 1970s. Many of their victories came against many of the strongest teams in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Hence, they were given the mythical moniker the "Tri-State Champions" in 1909. The team was finally defeated in 1909, via an upset by the Dayton Oakwoods in their final game of 1909. The Lyceums broke up after a disappointing 1910 season. An unrelated incarnation of the team existed in 1924. Art Rooney, who would go on establish the Pittsburgh Steelers and become enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played for the Lyceum.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC.

In contrast with their status as perennial also-rans in the pre-merger NFL, where they were the oldest team never to win a league championship, the Steelers of the post-merger (modern) era are one of the most successful NFL franchises. Pittsburgh is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles (6), and has both played in (16) and hosted more conference championship games (11) than any other NFL team. The Steelers have won 8 AFC championships, tied with the Denver Broncos, but behind the Patriots' record 11 AFC championships. The Steelers share the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, and Dallas Cowboys (8). The Steelers lost their most recent championship appearance, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011.

The Steelers, whose history traces to a regional pro team that was established in the early 1920s, joined the NFL as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, owned by Art Rooney and taking its original name from the baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams at the time. To distinguish them from the baseball team, local media took to calling the football team the Rooneymen, an unofficial nickname which persisted for decades after the team adopted its current nickname. The ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. Art's son, Dan Rooney owned the team from 1988 until his death in 2017. Much control of the franchise has been given to Dan's son Art Rooney II. The Steelers enjoy a large, widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation. The Steelers currently play their home games at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side in the North Shore neighborhood, which also hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium which hosted the Steelers for 31 seasons. Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field.

Red Edwards

Eugene Hoffman "Red" Edwards (March 15, 1904 – December 22, 1981) was an American football player and coach.

After graduating from Weston High School in Weston, West Virginia, Edwards would play quarterback for Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame. As a two-year starter, he would lead the team to a record of 7-2-1 in 1925, and 9-1 as a captain in 1926.

Later in his career, while coaching at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Edwards was offered the head coaching position for the Pittsburgh Steelers by owner Art Rooney, but he would decline. In 1956, he and his wife Sarah (née Brewster) returned to his home town of Weston to accept a position with Citizens Bank, where he would eventually become Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1968.

Edwards was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.

Rooney Rule

The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. It is sometimes cited as an example of affirmative action, as there is no quota or preference given to minorities in the hiring of candidates. It was established in 2003, and variations of the rule are now in place in other industries.

Rooney family

The Rooney family is an Irish-American family which, after emigrating from Ireland in the 1840s, established its American roots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1880s, and is known for its connections to the sports, acting, and political fields.

They are primarily known for having been the majority owners and operators of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) since the formation of the franchise in 1933.

Art Rooney was the founder and owner of the team until his death in 1988. Following his death, ownership of the franchise transferred to his oldest son, Dan Rooney, a former United States Ambassador to Ireland. In recent years, front office operations have passed from Dan Rooney to his son and current team president, Art Rooney II.

The family members who have had the most influence in the Steelers organization are:

Art Rooney: team founder

Dan Rooney: former team chairman

Art Rooney II: current team president

The Chief (play)

The Chief is a 2003 biographical one-man play about the Pittsburgh Steelers' founder and owner Art Rooney (1901–1988). The Pittsburgh Public Theater show has had several revivals since its inauguration, with each production performed by Pittsburgh native Tom Atkins.

Division championships (23)
Conference championships (8)
League championships (6)
Retired numbers
Hall of Fame members
Current league affiliations
Seasons (87)
Culture and lore
Running backs
Wide receivers /
Tight ends
Pre-modern era
two-way players
Defensive backs
and punters

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