View Full Version : Steelers find success again by following the Rooney Blueprint

01-25-2011, 06:25 AM
Steelers find success again by following the Rooney Blueprint

Monday January 24, 2011 11:45 PM

PITTSBURGH ó Super Bowl XLV will be much more than a matchup of the NFLís best twSteelers find success again by following the Rooney Blueprint
Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 7:00 AM
By JEREMY ELLIOTT, The Patriot-News

There is a sentiment among fans that players win championships. They believe coaches and the men behind the scenes get way too much credit for the success of a franchise.

The Pittsburgh Steelers put that theory to the test.

Rarely have the Steelers been the most talented team on paper, but never has that been truer than this year.

Baltimore was considered to be of higher class and quality. The New York Jets have more star power and hired guns that dot their lineup.

And yet, those teams are sitting at home. The Steelers, meanwhile, are booking a flight and making accommodations in Dallas to face Green Bay in the Super Bowl.

There is no doubting that the players had a significant role. They were the ones fighting and scratching on a frigid night at Heinz Field.

But this is about an organization that specializes in loyalty and commitment. Itís one common goal from the owners, to the players, all the way down to the trainers: winning the right way.

Thatís the real Rooney Rule ó embracing the team concept.

The Rooney family, notably chairman Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II, have never been one to buy a team. Instead of throwing money around to improve on any shortcomings, ownership prefers to scout and build from within through the NFL draft.

Itís a blueprint that works. The Steelers have won a league-high six Super Bowls and have reached the big game eight times, tying Dallas for tops in that category. Rooney-owned teams are averaging a trip to the NFLís premier stage once every 4Ĺ years since the Steelersí first appearance in 1974.

This year is no exception to past champions. The Steelers are one of four teams with 35 or more players on their 53-man roster that came into the fold directly from college. There are a smattering of others, like James Harrison, that were undrafted free agents.

Harrison spent two years on the Steelersí practice squad and was released a number of times. But he stayed the course and like so many others, he was developed over time ó the Steelers way.

Each player understands and gets this blue-collar mentality. They have bought into the Rooneysí master plan and know they have to be ready to play at any time. Itís served this current group well.

When Ben Roethlisberger was suspended, the Steelers found a way to go 3-1. When the offensive line looked more like a triage then a well-oiled machine, the backups stood tall and delivered in big games, like Sunday night.

After the game, Art Rooney II was mulling around the locker room. He was talking to players and accessible to everyone. He was far removed from some mansion on the hill or a personal jet waiting on a tarmac somewhere.

It was just him and his guys. They were hanging out after another win, one they earned the same way they did so many others.

It was achieved not as a bunch of individuals, but as a team and a class organization.

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