By Ivan Cole
Which of these key Dan Rooney decisions do you think was most consequential to the Steelers present day AND future legacy?
- a) Listening to Bill Nunn’s complaints about how the franchise dealt with African American reporters and then convincing him to join the Steelers scouting department.
- b) Hiring Chuck Noll.
- c) Firing his brother Art Rooney Jr.
- d) Choosing Bill Cowher over Tom Donahoe and replacing the latter with Kevin Colbert.
- e) Hiring Mike Tomlin (or acquiescing to Art II decision to hire Tomlin)
- f) Accepting the ambassadorship to Ireland and giving up control of the team.
I cheated and chose both a) and b) as most important, making the argument that to do justice to either demanded that their linkage be acknowledged. I feel that the Rooney (Dan and Art Sr.)/Noll/Nunn collaboration was in the same neighborhood of significance as Branch Rickey/Jackie Robinson, Paul Brown/Bill Willis, Marion Motley, and a handful of other collaborators whose actions resulted in significant transformation, not only in the supposedly trivial domain of sport, but also with significant spillover into the larger society. Read more