By BOB LABRIOLA
To use a cooking analogy, the cake is still baking, and while it looks like everything will turn out fine, it's not quite ready to come out of the oven.
The ongoing process of restructuring the ownership of the Steelers remains exactly that – an ongoing process – even as four of the five Rooney brothers met at Heinz Field today to go over details of their plan. Dan, Art Jr., Tim and John were at the meeting. Pat could not attend and sent his son, Brian, as his representative.
Even as the process continues, Dan Rooney said on Monday that he believes the deal still has a chance to be presented to the NFL for a vote at the owners meeting on Dec. 17. The first step in the process is to get the approval of the league finance committee, which is scheduled to meet next on Monday, Dec. 15.
If the finance committee recommends it, it would go to a vote of owners, who must approve it by 24 of the 32 votes for it to pass.
"We did have a meeting today, and everyone was very congenial," said Dan Rooney. "Our thoughts now are to move everything forward and try to get this agreement worked out. I think this was a step in the right direction. By no means is this finished, and we're still doing that. So there's still not a whole lot to say."
According to NFL rules, no one with ownership in a team is permitted to be involved in casino gambling, and the league also requires that one family member own at least 30 percent of a franchise.
According to reports, brothers Pat and Tim will each sell his entire 16 percent share of the team while brothers John and Art Jr. each will sell a little more than half of their 16 percent share. Pat and Tim are selling all of their shares because they operate the race tracks in Palm Beach, Florida, and Yonkers, N.Y., that now both have forms of casino gambling.
"There's a lot of things we have to do," Dan Rooney said when asked about his investors. "We have to do that. We also have the league to deal with. We have to present the investors, they have to do research on people and things like that. That's why it's hard to say. Things come up, the league has their own ideas and things like that.
"We did talk about all of the subjects (at the meeting at Heinz Field)," added Dan Rooney. "They all talked. Jack McGinley was there and talked. I think we really have enough information. We should be OK."