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Asked and Answered: A tribute to Dan Rooney

Posted Apr 18, 2017

This is dedicated to fans' remembrances, tributes to Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.

Let’s get to it:

LANCE LISTON FROM FORT WAYNE, IN:
As is the often the case during a time of loss, we strive to focus on the blessings the individual brought to our lives. As I was born in 1969, I have never known the Steelers without Dan Rooney. It is clear that the Steelers ascent to greatness coincides with Dan's increased role in the organization. Dan Rooney helped change the Steelers from lovable losers to a model franchise. He and his family have maintained a level of dignity, class, and of course, performance that make me feel extremely fortunate to be a Steelers fan. Dan Rooney was certainly a blessing to Steelers Nation. He will be greatly missed and forever admired.

WILLIAM ABELE FROM SUFFOLK, VA:
I had the privilege to hear Mr. Rooney speak at the Men’s Fantasy Football Camp I attended. He made a special trip to Saint Vincent College for it. The owner of the team doesn't have to make that trip for a bunch of fans. That says so much about how much he cared about Steelers Nation. Thank you Mr. Rooney, you are missed so much.

CHRIS VALLONE FROM CLEARFIELD, PA:
When I saw the picture of Ben Roethlisberger with Mr. Rooney standing next to him, with Dan's hand on Ben's arm … and with the difference in height I saw him as “the littlest giant.” His life was just that, a man who made everyone's life better, a giant of a man. RIP, Mr. Dan Rooney. God bless you and your family.

CINDY COUNCIL FROM SPRINGFIELD, IL:
What a fine example of a human being. Being a long-time Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I feel as if I lost a family member. After watching many memories of Mr. Rooney, I decided I’m going to try and model my life closer to his. I'm sure heaven is already a better place with you there.

BRUCE HAMILTON FROM MANSFIELD, MA:
I've had the honor of meeting two great human beings in my life: Arnold Palmer, who inspired me to play and now teach golf, and Dan Rooney. Growing up in Beaver, Pa., I have lived and bled black and gold. Dan Rooney, like his father before him, understood that sports is about winning, but it’s also possible to seek that while being a good human being and caring about those around you. Dan and Arnie both had that ability to make you feel as if they had known you forever, to bring you into their own lives through what they did as a profession. I will deeply miss them both but for those of us still here, we can honor their memories by trying to be the best people we can be and treating others around us with, respect dignity, compassion, and love. There will never be another Dan Rooney, but he provided us with a blueprint that we should all follow.

SUNNY VENESKY FROM GOLDSBORO, MD:
I find myself weeping for a man I never met. Thank you, Mr. Rooney, for your profound character and your humanity.

ANNETTE FILIPPONE FROM NASHVILLE, TN:
Growing up in Pittsburgh during the 1970s, I was fortunate to have watched the Rooney family exhibit the class, humanitarianism, and the love that makes their team – my team – the heartbeat of Pittsburgh that beats within us wherever we travel in life.

ANNE SEAGER FROM BATH, NY:
I remember seeing Mr. Rooney at training camp. There was always a small crowd surrounding this true gentleman, and the only thing you could see of him was the white hair. He would shake hands with fans and the atmosphere around him was always so respectful. No matter what you were doing before, when Mr. Rooney was around it was dignified. He was a gentleman and giant in the NFL and will be missed by all.

JOHN DABNEY FROM MILAN, MO:
The Chief explained to a young Dan about knowing no strangers.
That you should treat every person you speak with today like its the most important thing you've done today. As a head football coach for 25 years, I had to explain this to my sons as well. Great advice for anyone in a position of leadership.

MIKE YOUNG FROM FLETCHER, NC:
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rooney in Cincinnati a few years ago. I asked if he would sign a helmet I had, and as he was signing it, he said, "I'm not going to see this on eBay, am I?" I said, "No sir, absolutely not!" A kind soul, indeed!

KENNETH MITCHELL FROM BRIDGEVILLE, PA:
This is a short statement regarding the passing of Dan Rooney: If you are from the Pittsburgh area you feel like you've lost a member of your family, but I can honestly say that the world is a better place because of a man like Mr. Rooney.

RALPH C. FROM LANGHORNE, PA:
Thank you, Mr. Rooney, for all the great memories you have given Pittsburgh, for the pride we have in this city that starts first and foremost with and through you. You made Steelers Nation what it is today, and you will forever be in our hearts.

MATTHEW TAYLOR FROM GREENBACKVILLE, VA:
Mr. Rooney will be sorely missed. I was fortunate enough to get a signed card of him a while back and just the fact that he provided it meant the world to me. What a great man. I’m sure the Steelers will play hard for him this coming year.

POMERANZ GILAH FROM DAYTON, OHIO:
I'm the daughter of immigrants who knew nothing about football, but one Sunday I watched a “60 Minutes” profile of Rocky Bleier, and the way the Rooneys treated him made me regard them right then and there as heroes. The next day after school (ninth grade) I went to the library and took out every book they had on football and started following the Steelers as best I could from Browns/Bengals country. I have been a Steelers gal now for more than 40 years, all based on the humanity and compassion of the Rooney family. May Dan Rooney rest in well-earned peace.

ERIC SMITH FROM ORANGE, CT:
I saved the Dan Rooney photo with the black background from the home page on Steelers.com. It's now the wallpaper for my computer at work. It gives me the chance to tell everyone who he is and what he lived for.

RANDY DUVALL FROM HAMPTON, VA:
I'm originally from the Washington, Pa., area and a lifelong Steelers supporter and fan. I believe it was November 2003 at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore on a Saturday afternoon before the Sunday Steelers-Ravens game. Mr. Rooney was there waiting, and he was soon surrounded by Steelers fans who wanted to say hello and shake his hand. Mr. Rooney talked to us for at least 45 minutes and pictures were taken that I have framed in my home. I've never met a man who instantly made you feel like a friend you've know for years. I can count on one hand the number of people I've met in my 66 years of life who made me feel that way. Mr. Rooney, you are at the top of my list.

SAM BILLANTE FROM BABSON PARK, FL:
Many do not realize the role Mr. Rooney played in the success of the NFL. Second only to Pete Rozelle in forward thinking, second to none in consensus building, the labor peace that has blessed the NFL and allowed small market franchises to compete is an overlooked piece of his legacy.

MIKE GEISSLER FROM ALBUQUERQUE, NM:
Several years ago the Steelers were playing a regular season game in Phoenix against the Cardinals. We traveled with many family members to support our Steelers. My Dad was born and raised on Pittsburgh's North Side, same as Mr. Rooney. We happened to stay at the team hotel and encountered Dan Rooney at the swimming pool. He was sitting in a lounge chair getting some desert sun. We talked to him about many subjects and eventually told him we were looking for a church to attend Mass. He invited all of us to the team Mass, and after my Dad mentioned that my Mom does the readings at our home parish, he asked her to read for the team Mass. Mr. Rooney was friendly and very approachable. We still talk about the day we had Mass with the Steelers. Perhaps my Mom has already thanked him again in Heaven.

JOHN DUCKWORTH FROM FLAT ROCK, MI:
I thank God for the Rooney family and their commitment to equality and fairness. The contributions to not only the sports world but to society will always be the Rooney legacy. RIP Dan Rooney.

TOMAS HERNANDEZ FROM BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO:
Dan Rooney was a true gentlemen, a man of profound love for the real thing - the people. While some look to be feared, he gained the respect of others through openness and kindness.

NIKKI JONES FROM EASTVALE, CA:
I met Mr. Rooney in 2012, and I will never forget the kindnesses, compassion, generosity, and love he gave my family. He will always be my hero and will be missed dearly.

KIM MYERS FROM IRWIN, PA:
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the Rooney family at the Heinz Field Easter Brunch the last few years. Mr. Rooney was so generous with his time, and even though he was there with his family he was gracious and welcoming to everyone there. I looked forward to my yearly picture with Mr. Rooney.

ALFREDO SARRELANGUE FROM LERMA, MÉXICO:
In 2000 the Steelers visited México City for a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, it was a great experience for me for many reasons, one on them because I saw Mr. Dan Rooney in Azteca Stadium spending time greeting fans.

CLARENCE TUNSTALL FROM REISTERSTOWN, MD:
While I've never met Mr. Rooney personally, I am among those fans whose had that distant encounter, and it’s because of his personal involvement with us all that made it possible. At several games or training camp I have been close enough to yell out a "Hi, Mr. Rooney" or "You da man, Mr. Rooney" and every time, he looked right at me and waved or said hi. I know that's not the personal encounter of some, but for me, that acknowledgment was very special. I could not hold back tears at the passing of this man I've never personally met. I will miss him very much. May God bless the wife and family of one of the great men our society has ever, ever known.




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