Steelers Nation Unite presented members with an exclusive opportunity Wednesday afternoon, as Steelers President Art Rooney II joined members on a live fan forum conference call. This event, like many other Steelers Nation Unite opportunities, was made available through the Weekly Huddle, an email message sent directly to members, delivering them new ways to get connected with the Steelers.
The basis for Steelers Nation Unite is recognizing fans as official members of Steelers Nation and thanking them for turning Steelers Nation into what it is today. Rooney II opened the call by thanking fans for their tremendous support.
"I just want to take this opportunity to say 'Thanks' to all of you for a great season," said Rooney. "Your support was fantastic, whether we were at home or on the road. We had great crowds everywhere we went. Steelers Nation was there for us."
Check out these photos of Steelers Nation Unite events from throughout the 2014 season.
The Team President went on to address a number of different areas, including where the Steelers are looking to improve, Jerome Bettis entering the Hall of Fame and some of the fondest memories he's had with the Steelers organization.
Here are some of the top questions and answers from this exclusive Steelers Nation Unite event with Steelers President Art Rooney II.
Where can the team improve on offense and defense?
Steelers President Art Rooney II:"We can always improve. I think on defense we didn't finish kind of the way we would have liked to, at least statistically. I do think we got better as the season went along on defense. There are still some good, young players that we can build around. I think in today's NFL you have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback. That is something we have to get better at. I think that will be something, under Coach Butler, our new defensive coordinator, and Coach Tomlin, the whole staff, they will be working hard on trying to make sure we get better at that. On offense, I would say we want to be better in the red zone. We really had a few too many times where we got the ball into the red zone and we wound up kicking a field goal instead of getting a touchdown. Again, it was something that I think we improved on as the season went on. Hopefully that is something we can pick up on when we start 2015."
How are the Steelers going to honor a high character player like Jerome Bettis and his Hall of Fame induction?
"Jerome is a special guy and we're really excited about him going into the Hall of Fame this year. As soon as the schedule comes out we'll sit down with Jerome and kind of pick a game that he wants to come in for and receive his Hall of Fame ring and really share that moment with the fans, which I know he'll be looking forward to. I would assume it will be pretty early in the season, but as soon as we get the schedule, we'll pick that game and of course let everybody know."
What would it mean to you to get to Super Bowl 50 and win the team's seventh Super Bowl?
"It would mean an awful lot as you can imagine. We are still the only team with six Lombardi trophies. I think we have to try to make sure we stay ahead of the pack here. The Cowboys and the 49ers both have five. We have to stay ahead of those guys, of course. The Cowboys did make the playoffs this season. It would mean a lot. Certainly Super Bowl 50 is a milestone. It would be fun to win that one. I think we have a core group of players coming back next year. We have a lot to build on. We are excited about the way the offense played last year. We know we have to be a little better on defense. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that are there. We are looking forward to getting started."
Is there one moment that has been the most extraordinary for you as an owner of the Steelers?
"I would say fortunately there have been a lot of great moments. I consider myself to be very fortunate to be part of it and to have grown up in the business here. Obviously spending time with our fans up at training camp every summer is a lot of fun and pretty special. It's hard to pick out one. I guess if you had to nail me down to one it would probably be seeing my grandfather receive that first Super Bowl trophy after the 1974 season. It was something that, as you know being a fan starting in the 1960s, we had some rough times in the early days. It was really great to see him finally win a championship after everything he had been through in his life and through his career as owner of the Steelers. If I had to pick one, that's probably it. But fortunately there have been a lot of good moments and hopefully more to come."
More opportunities for Steelers Nation Unite members to connect with the organization are coming throughout the offseason, including a number of special guests. Be sure to join Steelers Nation Unite today and get access to all of these exclusive events, as well as exciting ways to get recognized and rewarded as an official member of Steelers Nation.
To join Steelers Nation Unite and be officially recognized as a member of Steelers Nation, visit http://steelersnationunite.com/ or the 'Steelers Nation Unite' page on the Steelers mobile app. Joining is free, quick and easy and only requires an email address and a password to sign up.