In the fast-paced world of sports, information is sped up and tossed aside, largely due to the advent of social media and the overabundance of sports coverage online and on TV.
Sometimes, big stories slip through the cracks or don’t get the attention they deserve because something comes along that is more eye-catching.
Such is the most underreported story of last week.
Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney At A Super Bowl XLV Pep Rally
Steelers chairman Dan Rooney passed away on April 14th at 84 years old.
His father, Art Rooney, founded the franchise in 1933 and stepped away from the day-to-day operations in 1975, handing them over to Dan.
The younger Rooney was appointed team president and remained in that role until Art’s passing in 1988 when Dan became the controlling owner of the Steelers.
Commissioner Goodell Presents The Lombardi Trophy After Super Bowl XLIII
Like his father did before him, Dan slowly started handing day-to-day operations over to his son, Art Rooney II, in 2003 as he entered the later years of his life.
But he always remained the face of the franchise.
Dan Rooney did more than just continue the successes his father, Art, built upon during the “Steel Curtain” era of the 1970’s. He changed the NFL.
Dennis Green And Tony Dungy In 2006
In addition to the Steelers, Dan Rooney was also the chairman of the league’s diversity committee and helped to spearhead what is commonly referred to as the “Rooney Rule.” The Rooney Rule is a policy in the NFL that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
The Rooney Rule is a policy in the NFL that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs in any open position search.
In reaction to the 2002 firings of head coaches Tony Dungy by the Buccaneers, who had a winning record four of his six seasons in Tampa Bay (the Bucs went 6-10 in his first season in 1996 and 8-8 two years later) and Dennis Green by the Vikings (who just had his first losing season in ten years), U.S. civil rights attorneys Cyrus Mehri and the famed Johnnie Cochran released a study showing that black head coaches, “despite winning a higher percentage of games, were less likely to be hired and more likely to be fired than their white counterparts.”
As a result of the study, two former players Kellen Winslow and John Wooten put together a group to advocate for the implication of the Rooney Rule.