View Full Version : On the Steelers: This week ... A reminder how lucky you are

09-27-2009, 12:01 AM
On the Steelers: This week ... A reminder how lucky you are
A Weekly Look Inside The Team, The Issues & The Questions
Sunday, September 27, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Art Rooney II -- Still 'The Man'

Finally, the sale of the Steelers is complete, it remains in Rooney hands and there are 10 new owners.

Unlike the Miami Dolphins, there's not a celebrity in sight among the new Steelers "shareholders,'' unless you want to count Hall of Famer John Stallworth and Hollywood producer Thomas Tull as celebrities. Neither would lump themselves in that category.

You also will not see any of the new owners on the sideline at Steelers games this season. Some may wear a Steelers jersey to games but they will be in the owner's box if they do.

What these new owners bring, besides the needed capital to keep the team in the hands of the Rooneys, will be fresh ideas that could breathe some new life into other areas of the franchise, such as marketing a team that has become so popular worldwide the past 15 years.

It probably does not mean much to many Steelers fans that the team will still be run by Rooneys, but it should. The franchise has been in Rooney hands since Art Rooney Sr. founded it in 1933 and he and his sons kept it in Pittsburgh during some tough times right into the 1960s when moving it would have been more financially sound.

Yes, these teams are worth around $1 billion these days, and the Rooneys have had a good life from owning the Steelers. But it has not been a one-way street with them, as it is for some owners in sports. Art Rooney did not have a winner for many years, although he came close. But it was not because he made money off the team; he did better in other endeavors. He founded the franchise in the middle of the depression -- talk about what should have been bad timing.

Few people paid attention to pro football until the 1960s anyway. The Chief, as so many called Art Rooney Sr., had other interests as well and perhaps did not pay as close attention to his football team as he should have. He often let his coaches call all the shots, and, when he had some good ones, they did OK.

Once Dan Rooney took over, the Steelers took an upswing. Dan worked at the job full time, hired Chuck Noll and the rest is history. It's always been a mom-and-pop operation, although it's hard to call them that now. Still, Dan's eldest son Art Rooney II is club president and another son, Dan Jr., remains a Steelers scout.

They do things differently than other teams. All you need to know is to check out the Chicago Bears' relatively new stadium, Soldier Field, which cost about twice what Heinz Field did and cannot compare. The Bears had an opportunity, as did many teams, to construct a model stadium. They blew it in many ways. They also only have about 61,000 capacity for the only team in the third-largest city in the U.S.

The Steelers were long a second cousin to Papa Bear Halas in Chicago in the NFL; it's been the other way around for years.

Art Rooney II gets credit for patiently taking this franchise through a difficult period. It could have been sold to someone willing to pay the full price, but Art and Dan and, indeed, other Rooneys, did not want to see that happen. Yes, they leveraged part of their ownership and they have 10 new owners, but that might prove beneficial in the long run.

Gazillionaire owners in the NFL who love to throw money at their coaches and players are not always successful. Look at Daniel Snyder. That is what he's done in Washington and it has yielded nothing.

The Rooneys have followed a script that produced two Super Bowl winners in the past four years. Any fan should take that over having the latest free-agent bauble. You want fantasy football or Lombardi Trophies?
Gary Anderson won't make it

There was a time when it appeared Gary Anderson might become only the second pure kicker to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That time has come and gone.

Anderson was the NFL's leading scorer for a number of years and that fact alone might have attracted some votes. No more. Anderson, with 2,434 points, was surpassed by Morten Andersen, who has 2,544, in the scoring race. Gary Anderson also missed the kick of his life, one that would have put his Vikings in a Super Bowl, a game he never played.

Either way, I would not vote for either kicker.

Scoring points should not necessarily produce a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Too many people believe kickers should get into the Hall of Fame because they score points. Excuse me, but that's all they do and they do it rarely. Offensive tackles cannot score points but I will take a good one of those over a kicker any day.

You want scoring to decide who gets into the Hall of Fame? OK, let's install the top 24 scorers in NFL history. They are all kickers, 22 of them pure kickers. The only two who played other positions were George Blanda, ranked third in scoring, and Lou Groza, ranked 12th. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

The others are all pure kickers, including the No. 4 scorer, John Carney. You want to put him in the Hall? Or No. 8, Norm Johnson?

They were good kickers, but hardly Hall of Fame material. Yet, they outscored the one pure kicker in the Hall, Jan Stenerud. That was a mistake voters made years ago that does not have to be repeated, and he never got the late Myrone Cope's vote when he was a selector. Stenerud ranks 10th on the NFL scoring list with 1,699 points, many field goals away from Morten Andersen.

Kickers and punters are necessary in the NFL (although I believe the league should have a rule that both must play a position other than kicker, the way Groza did). That does not mean we have to put them into the Hall.

Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson were very capable at what they did, but they do not belong in the same group as the NFL's No. 25 all-time scoring leader, one Jerry Rice.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09270/1001099-66.stm#ixzz0SHQdFSGM

09-27-2009, 07:10 AM
Good read - Thanks!