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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

Dan Rooney turned the Steelers into winners. I’ve paid our respects to Ambassador Rooney on our sister site SteelerNationUK, with the stories about what this special man did to provide SteelerNationUK with help and inspiration over many years.

When Mr. Rooney was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 it was due to his unselfish dedication to the Steelers and for his work in turning the National Football League into the huge sporting empire it is now.

At the time of his induction, the Canton Repository paid their tribute to Mr. Rooney and I’ve based my chronicle on their article.

From a young age, football became a big part of his life. Mr. Rooney spent his summers at the Steelers training camps and later played quarterback for North Catholic High School and Duquesne University.  

He left University with a degree in accounting and joined the Steelers full time. “When I graduated from college, the first thing I got into was player personnel,” Mr. Rooney told the Repository.  “But then in 1957 we hired Buddy Parker as out coach. It was a big break for me as Parker didn’t want anything to do with the front office.

Because I was in the office every day, the league would call for me if they wanted something done. So I got to know the people in the league office and with the other teams. I just grew into doing more and more things because of the contacts I made.”

When Parker resigned, Mr. Rooney eased into the role of day-to-day manager of the Steelers and was in position in 1969 to hire the coach who finally brought football success to Pittsburgh.

Chuck Noll coached in a Super Bowl for the first time as an assistant with the Baltimore Colts January 1968 when Joe Namath and the Jets upset the odds. Mr. Rooney interviewed Noll the day after the loss.

“It was right after the game so there was no way he could have prepared for the interview,” Mr Rooney said. “It struck me right then. Here is an extremely bright person who has his feet on the ground and knows what he is doing.”

Dan Rooney returned to Pittsburgh to tell his father that Noll was a candidate to keep on their short list and after Art Rooney met the coach, he agreed and the deal was made.

Together with a scouting team the Steelers had invested in, Noll began to build a winning team that and the Steelers would be recognised as a solid organisation at the forefront of the NFL’s development.

Noll began his career with a dismal 1-13 season and it was another four years before the Steelers were rewarded with a winning record under the new coach. “I appreciate the fact that he did stick with us,” Coach Noll acknowledged. “We had a lot of things we wanted and we worked very hard together on that. He supported the whole idea. I think he felt we were going in the right direction.

Dan wanted a winner and he made that very clear. I think he got some bad press when things weren’t going well and didn’t get the acclaim he should have when things were going well.”

Dan Rooney was named the Steelers president in 1975 and the Steelers went on to win four Super Bowls in six years, but he would not accept credit for the team’s success. He always chose to remind everyone of his father’s accomplishment.

“From day one until this day, my father set the tone for how the Steelers operate,” Dan Rooney said a year before Art Rooney passed away. “He is a people person. He always said what the people think is important and that we have to think that way. He very much felt that everyone was his equal and that they should be treated that way.

Players, coaches, girls in the office – everybody. You must treat people with respect. Hopefully, some of that has rubbed off on me and I follow that.”

TERRY BRADSHAW

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This site last updated April 21 2017.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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