The Steelers currently have 22 former players, coaches or contributors in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and that number will increase to 23 later this summer when Jerome Bettis is inducted as a member of the Class of 2015. In advance of his induction Steelers.com will share the stories of the 22 Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dan Rooney Sr.
President and Chairman (1955-Present)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2000
Check out photos of Steelers' Hall of Famer Dan Rooney
There aren't many Pro Football Hall of Famers that are inducted one day, and then back to work for what they were inducted for the next day. But there also aren't many Hall of Famers like Dan Rooney Sr.
Rooney is one of the NFL's most influential owners and a pivotal figure in the growth and development of the league.
Throughout the years Rooney has been a member of the board of directors for the NFL Trust Fund, NFL Films, and the Scheduling Committee. He was appointed Chairman of the League's Expansion Committee in 1973, eventually adding Seattle and Tampa Bay to the NFL in 1976.
Rooney was named Chairman of the Negotiating Committee in 1976, and in 1982 he contributed to the negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement for NFL owners and the Players Association. He brought a calm, reasonable approach to labor relations, and was a driving force in the labor agreement again in 1993. Rooney has also been a member of the Management Council Executive Committee, the Hall of Fame Committee, the NFL Properties Executive Committee, and the Player/Club Operations Committee. He served as the President of the Steelers from 1975 until 2003, when he turned it over to his son, Art Rooney II, and became the Chairman.
Rooney chose one of his Hall of Fame players, Joe Greene, to be his presenter for the Hall of Fame, a man he was close to as a player and still is today.
"When I was a young player, Dan often had to steer me in the right direction," said Greene. "In my youthful exuberance to win, I was in everybody's business. I was always attempting to tell the coaches what plays to call, and telling the players how to play the game. I even had the nerve to tell Dan he needed to get a player signed.
"Whenever I've had a special occasion in my life, the times you want your friends to share, Dan or a member of his family has been there. That means an awful lot. Dan has not only exhibited kindness towards me, but has followed in his father's footsteps. All the Steelers players are a part of his family. I am most honored and proud to represent the Rooney family, the Steelers organization, all the former players and coaches, the City of Pittsburgh, and the fans presenting our boss and our friend to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dan Rooney."
Rooney then did what he always does when he deflected credit away from himself and put it on to others.
"The players and coaches made the Steelers, and I attribute my presence here today to all of them and to my father," said Rooney in his speech. "My father (Art Rooney Sr.), one of the early men who did everything to make the NFL succeed, it is special to join him here. He gave me the understanding of what the league meant. He gave me the commitment to do everything possible to keep it strong and viable."
And then he encouraged everyone who loves the game of football to do their part to continue its growth and protect it.
"I ask you to be watchful, see that the game remains the best, strong, viable, and flexible for the present day," said Rooney. "No one can be more interested than youth. You have much to guide you. Your own commitment and how you played the game. The people in the league, players, coaches, owners, staff, and fans; the television networks, our family, our players, you have my commitment to do whatever it takes. The National Football League, the game is your legacy. Protect it. Don't let anyone tarnish it."
Since his induction into the Hall of Fame Rooney has done what he asked others to do, protect the NFL. He created the Rooney Rule in 2003, which required NFL teams to interview a minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
Rooney, who is still involved in the day-to-day operation of the Steelers, also served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland.