View Full Version : It's no surprise, but Art II fills bill perfectly as Steelers new chief

08-06-2009, 09:25 PM
It's no surprise, but Art II fills bill perfectly as Steelers new chief
Thursday, August 06, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

So there it was again yesterday, a short, informal, not necessarily planned meeting of the Steelers' power structure, convened in the muted late afternoon sunlight in the middle of a just-abandoned practice field.

Perhaps nothing has signaled autumn's distant approach so reliably over the generations as these quiet confabs. On that patch of grass, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II were by themselves for a few moments, unwittingly staging a picture that represented the next era in Steelers history, even if that was mostly because of who wasn't in it.

"It's not like he's passed from this earth," Art said later about his father, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Daniel M. Rooney. "It's different not having him here and it's different not seeing him in his office when I go to work in the morning and it's different not seeing him on the field. We'll miss him, but he'll be back from time to time.

"It's not going to be as dramatic a change as some might think."

Well I'm shocked.

You figure the guy's parents are out of the country, this would be the time to shake things up a bit.


"No," he said, "still no cheerleaders.":thumbsup::tt::tt:

The oldest son of the oldest son of Steelers founder Arthur J. Rooney, Art II has been Steelers president since 2002, when Dan bestowed upon him the same title The Chief passed to him 27 years earlier. Dan then became chairman, but with Dan's appointment to the Ireland post, he's now chairman emeritus, which means Art II now finds himself at the top of the executive depth chart after barely half a century in and around the organization.

The most important job of a Rooney at the top of the depth chart hasn't changed since 1933, and it's right there in the unwritten family constitution handed down by The Chief himself.

"Don't act like a big shot." :tt::tt::tt::tt::tt:

At that, as with most everything, Art II is off to an impressive start.

Tucked just a little less than conspicuously at the bottom of page 348 of the Steelers' media guide is his biography. It is one paragraph, or four fewer than the assistant equipment manager's. In fact, for official club-generated exposure in the 2009 edition (the cover of which makes no mention of a Super Bowl championship), Dan Rooney nipped the assistant equipment manager, 6-paragraphs-to-5, and thanks only to that ninth-inning walk-off ambassadorship.

But just as Dan's executive qualifications for the always volatile climate of pro football eclipsed his father's (whose qualifications were pretty much the $2,500 it took to buy the team), Art II's years as a successful attorney have likely left him better prepared for the top job than his father.

"Probably the reason I went to law school was that he told me once, 'I spend all my time talking to lawyers, so why don't you go get a law degree?' " Art said. "I didn't originally have my sights on winding up here. I knew I might eventually, but I was focused on law being my profession and I'm proud of the work I did there, and the firms I was with and what we accomplished."

The former Chairman of the Board of Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling (now Buchanon Ingersol), Art II never got disconnected from his love of the game. He enjoys sessions like the post-practice chat yesterday with the head coach and the director of football operations.

He is a former prep school quarterback, the son of a North Catholic quarterback, and the father of a Dartmouth quarterback.

If Daniel M. Rooney is a dramatically understated version of The Chief, Art II is more understated still.

When he assumed without a ripple the club's presidency in 2002 after years of serving as the Steelers' vice president and general counsel, there were, as I remember it, at least two things he made plain. One, the club had been without a Lombardi Trophy for too long, and two, again, no cheerleaders.

He's delivered on both counts, obviously, adding twin Lombardis to expand Pittsburgh's collection to an even half dozen, while not adding cheerleaders.

Much like his father, Art II will have a lot to say about the immediate future of the league at large, where thunderheads continue to form along the labor front. He will run the Steelers much like he's expected to by the Ambassador to Ireland.

"There is a certain way of doing things that's always been there, the way he expects them done," he said.

"I talk to him all the time, not every day but every other day, and he just expects us to do our jobs the way we've always done them, to hold up our end of the bargain. We have differences and we have similarities, but we have the same understanding of the way we do things."

The fact is Art II is not going to be intimidated by history, no matter how many football icons have stood in conversation in the Latrobe sun.

"I remember, not exactly when, but I was a young adult, and someone said to me, in front of my father and my grandfather, 'Boy do you have big shoes to fill,' " he said. "And my grandfather, after this person had left, turned to me and said, "Don't worry about filling anybody else's shoes except your own.'

"That's always stayed with me. You've gotta be yourself, be the person you are."

Gene Collier can be reached at gcollier@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author
First published on August 6, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09218/988985-150.stm#ixzz0NSZwBUF6

08-06-2009, 09:38 PM
I know some people are worried, but I have a feeling the Steelers are in good hands with Art II at the helm.

08-06-2009, 09:40 PM
I know some people are worried, but I have a feeling the Steelers are in good hands with Art II at the helm.

I couldn't agree more.

08-06-2009, 10:36 PM
I know some people are worried, but I have a feeling the Steelers are in good hands with Art II at the helm.

Yeah. Not to take anything away from Dan, but Art II has been the one doing most of the organizational decision making since 03. One franchise QB, one EXCELLENT Head Coach hiring, and 2 Super Bowls later, I think it's safe to say that he's well on his way to being the best Rooney yet.

08-06-2009, 10:57 PM
He's a Rooney ....he owns the STEELERS w/ his Daddy. it's why I can sleep at night.

08-07-2009, 05:49 AM
As long as there is a Rooney in the front office things will be fine. Its in his blood.

08-07-2009, 07:52 AM
I'm not worried at all with Art II at the helm. I know him to be a shrewd (but very good) attorney and I have no doubt that he will carry on in true Steelers tradition. :tt02:

08-07-2009, 08:38 AM
I had reservations about Art II for a while, but I have the utmost faith in Dan and know that he wouldn't have let Art II anywhere near his baby if he couldn't handle it. :thumbsup:

08-07-2009, 11:23 AM
When you're going from father to son, people do have the right sense to be worried and reserved in their opinions. It's a generational thing.

Art II has been the man for a while now and the Steelers are doing pretty sweet as a franchise. He's done a great job as the Steelers president. Not to take anything away from Dan, he rocks too.