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Daniel M. Rooney | Pittsburgh Steelers -

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Daniel M. Rooney

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Born PIttsburgh, PA
High School North Catholic High School
College Duquesne University
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1955 - 2003 Steelers President
2003 - 2017 Steelers Chairman
July 2009 - Dec. 2012 United States Ambassador to Ireland
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Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL, XLIII
Hall of Fame 2000
Hall of Honor 2017

The legacy of Dan Rooney will forever be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers and of the National Football League. 

Rooney's role with the Steelers took shape in the mid-1960s, as he worked alongside his father, Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr., during a time when the team started to build what eventually would become a franchise sports teams around the globe would want to imitate. 

The Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s under Coach Chuck Noll, and two more in the 2000s, under Coach Bill Cowher and Coach Mike Tomlin. The six Lombardi trophies is tied for the most ever won by an NFL team.

But Rooney wasn't just about helping to build a winner in Pittsburgh. He was also about helping to strengthen the NFL into what it is today. For those efforts, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2000. 

While football was his first love, he always had another passion. 


The Rooney family emigrated from the town of Newry in Northern Ireland to the United States in the 19thcentury. The family ultimately settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - and the rest is history. While the Steelers grew into a model sports franchise, the Rooneys never forgot its roots.

It was that love of the family's homeland that inspired Dan Rooney to join forces with Pittsburgh businessman Anthony J.F. O'Reilly to create The Ireland Fund in 1976, which later merged with the American Irish Foundation to create the American Ireland Funds, a leading charitable organization benefiting Ireland, which has now become known as The Ireland Funds.

Rooney was a driving force in the success the organization had seen over the years, helping with The Ireland Funds' mission of promoting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout Ireland. 

Rooney helped to spearhead an annual Pittsburgh dinner for The Ireland Funds, held at Acrisure Stadium, that honors those making an impact on the Irish and Pittsburgh community.

A photo gallery of images spanning the life and career of Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.

Rooney's love of Ireland also fueled a passion to bring an NFL game to Ireland, a that dream became a reality when the Steelers took on the Chicago Bears in a preseason game in 1997 at Croke Park. 

"My father wanted to play a game in Dublin for a long time," said Steelers President Art Rooney II in an interview in 2021. "He finally convinced another owner, the McCaskey family in Chicago, that this might be a good idea.

"It was great. It was a great game. A lot of fun."

It was a celebration of family and football.

It was also about giving back. There were football clinics and activities for kids during the week the Steelers were in Ireland, and when the team left, Rooney donated 80 sets of football equipment to local sports clubs in Ireland.

It was his love for Ireland and his desire to bring peace to the island that brought him back a short time after the Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl.

Rooney was asked to serve as United States Ambassador to Ireland by President Barack Obama, a role he cherished from 2009-2012. 

While in Ireland serving as Ambassador, Rooney visited all 32 counties on the island, meeting with politicians, media, business leaders and citizens.

"The idea of the visits to the 32 counties was to let the people know that America cared," said Rooney. "We wanted to do the right thing. I would have a town hall meeting where everyone was invited and we would have good discussions and not everyone agreed with each other, but we worked through a lot of issues."

Rooney was honored as one of the 2013 Presidential Distinguished Service Award recipients for Irish Abroad, presented to him by Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins for his contribution to Peace, Reconciliation and Development.

The award, which was established following the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum, is presented to Irish citizens or those of Irish descent who live outside of the island of Ireland. Rooney helped to foster peace in the country during his reign as Ambassador, and prior to that through his work with The Ireland Funds.

"I am very humbled to receive this because so many people were involved with bringing peace to Ireland," said Rooney. "It's not just what I did. It's what so many people did to bring the peace over there."

Rooney helped to lead both sides to work on establishing "The Good Friday Agreement," a major political development in the peace process in 1998. 

"It's just great. It's a real plus," said Rooney at the time. "It's not finished. The Good Friday Agreement, the people accepted this agreement and changed in that they let it be known they did not like the violence, that it was wrong, and you had to approach things through a peaceful manner. On a whole, it has worked. They have really done well."

His time in Ireland wouldn't have been complete without football being a part of it. 

One of the highlights during his time as Ambassador was an annual Irish American Flag Football Classic at his residence in Phoenix Park on the Fourth of July, which included Rooney family members, Embassy diplomats and Marines, local Gaelic football, rugby and soccer players.