The NFL’s 100th season kicked off tonight with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers on the field, but off the field a history of the league was on display at Heinz Field where A Lifetime of Sundays was shown to a select group.
As a part of the league’s 100th season A Lifetime of Sundays is a look at the history of the game through the eyes of four iconic females, including Patricia Rooney, wife of late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.
Steelers President Art Rooney II introduced the movie, while Jim Rooney and Patricia Rooney lead a conversion about A Lifetime of Sundays, with the crowd involved as well.
Rooney is featured along with the Bears Virginia McCaskey, the Lions Martha Firestone Ford, and the Chiefs Norma Hunt, in the documentary that gives you a look at the NFL from four very private women who shared amazing insight and perspective on the game they love so much and have seen grow into the game it is today.
“It was truly amazing to be a part of this,” said Rooney. “It started out as a panel discussion with the four of us women. It was at a league meeting. It was taken so well by everyone that they wanted to turn it into a show. We are so excited to be honoring women in this, our 100th year of the league.
“In the 1950s we were newcomers to the league meetings and decision making. I have more a newcomer perspective in the group. The others have an even better perspective being around longer than me on how this all started. It’s like a continuation of the history of the league.”
The documentary follows each of the four women to their hometowns, giving a very personal insight into them that rarely has been seen. Rooney provided them a tour of the North Side, where the family has been a staple of the community for decades.
“They interviewed me at the house for about an hour,” said Rooney of the experience. “Then we went to visit our church, St. Peters, which they know we are close to. I showed them where Mr. (Art) Rooney Sr. always sat in church. Then we went to Legends Restaurant, we had our own table there, then we went over to where the new fountain stands in the park.
“The last stop was the most important, where we visited Gus and Yiayia’s, the ice ball maker in the park. Dan and I knew his parents and now we are close to Gus. It was the highlight of the day. After that we stood on the corner and looked down at the stadium and talked about the fans’ experience.”
The documentary, which is narrated by Academy Award winner Regina King, is something that brought back cherished memories for Rooney about their time in the NFL.
“There are so many great memories,” said Rooney. “Some of them are so meaningful. This is something that has always been in my heart.”