It’s been nearly six years since the passing of the second man in history to run the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, Dan Rooney.
Since 2017, his son Art Rooney II has been the president and owner of the team.
The impact that Dan had on the organization was obviously. Players looked up to him and many considered him a father figure.
Dan and former Steelers Ike Taylor had a special bond with the cornerback calling Rooney “Papa”.
Dan was also closely involved with the team and was hands on in hiring Mike Tomlin as the Steelers Head Coach after Bill Cowher left.
It’s not that Art II isn’t involved in the football operations, but there seems to be something different.
With his father gone it seems at times that Tomlin has more power and influence on what the team does.
Matt Canada is the team’s offensive coordinator. Canada offered Tomlin’s son a scholarship to Maryland back when he was the head coach in College Park.
Tomlin suggested hiring Brian Flores as a defensive assistant and Rooney quickly approved it. (I actually think this was a great move by both Rooney and Tomlin).
With General Manager Omar Khan being an internal hire and he was initially under Kevin Colbert, will Rooney allow Tomlin to assume a bigger role than he had when Colbert was there?
If there are disagreements between Khan and Tomlin, who will Rooney back?
To be clear, Art has been team president since 2003, so he's been in charge of day-to-day since then, but obviously had his father until 2017.
When Dan was in control or at least around, it seemed to be more family.
Dan was more comfortable being around the players and they respected where he came from-what he did for the league.
With Art, they respect he's the team President, but it seems to stop there. No reverence for Art like there was for Dan and Art doesn't seem as likely to engage in those interactions.
That isn’t a knock on Art. He and his dad are different people.
So maybe it speaks to how special Dan really was than a knock against Art.
Dan is in the Hall of Fame. He served as Chair of the NFL Expansion Committee in 1973 (Seattle & TB added in 76), twice the chair of the negotiating committees.
Art doesn't have that type of presence in the league as a whole-not that he hasn't been on committees.
As he said meeting with reporters recently, Art is not even thinking about retiring at this point.
What will be his legacy?
Art Senior founded them, Dan ran them as a model franchise. Is Art II just about keeping the boat afloat? Is Art II about adding investors? Is Art II legacy a physical Hall of Honor? What can Art do to further the family legacy or is that the understated way of the Rooney family?