The NFL is big business, and sometimes the owners of these billion dollar franchises can be anything but modest and involved on a daily basis. But that is exactly what Dan Rooney was for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He showed up to work every day, and was actively involved in the every day lives of his players. After ever game he made it a point to shake every man’s hand on the 53-man roster, thank him, and either congratulate or console him for the job done on that particular day.
It is people like Rooney who make the Steelers special. What sets them apart from other NFL franchises across the country.
While the team prepares for the 2017 NFL Draft, the team, mainly Ryan Shazier, is planning on dedicating the upcoming season to their late owner.
“We're going to have a big season this year. A lot of people are expecting us to. We're going to defeat a lot of giants and make sure we have to do what we have to do for Mr. Rooney.” Shazier told NFL Network.
After the Steelers were one step away from advancing to the Super Bowl in 2016, the team will be feeling the pressure to not just make the playoffs, but the make the big game for the first time since 2010, when they lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 45.
Nonetheless, it would be extremely fitting for the team to rally around the passing of their owner, and win their 7th Lombardi trophy. As for Shazier, even if that were to happen, it won’t be the same in Pittsburgh without Dan Rooney around.
“I just enjoyed being able to talk to [Dan Rooney], whether at lunch or brunch, just him giving me knowledge about little things in life. He was always telling me how to focus or giving me books to read or helping me keep a clear mind.”
Everyone has heard the saying, “Win one for the Gipper.”
Well, the 2017 Steelers might as well coin the phrase, “Win one for Mr. Rooney.” this season, and see if they can’t ride a wave of momentum up that stairway to seven.