Rooney Family Enjoys Another Super Bowl Title With the Pittsburgh Steelers

For a second straight year, the Super Bowl serves up an instant classic with a transcendent catch, with Santonio Holmes' grab netting Pittsburgh an record sixth title, 27-23, at Super Bowl XLIII.
By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 2, 2009

TAMPA, Feb. 1 -- It was his father that Art Rooney II noticed Sunday night as the confetti fluttered down at Raymond James Stadium and the Pittsburgh Steelers were Super Bowl champions once again.

"I think he was pretty happy," the younger Rooney, the team president, said after the Vince Lombardi Trophy had been handed to Dan Rooney, bringing the award to Pittsburgh for a record sixth time. "It wasn't looking too good for a little while there, but to come back and win it like that is special."

The NFL is filled with great family dynasties, some good, some not. But the Rooneys stand as the most successful, with more Super Bowl titles than any other organization. In Pittsburgh they are as much of the story as the players -- if not more.

While most other owners change coaches in what seems like every five years, the Rooneys have only had three since 1969: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and now Mike Tomlin. Each has also won at least one Super Bowl, with Tomlin's first coming Sunday. It is that stability, many have said, that has brought Pittsburgh its titles.

So late Sunday, as the Steelers celebrated their championship, Tomlin stood at a stage beneath the stands and said: "I am blessed to be hired by the Rooney family. They took a chance on a 34-year-old coach with not a long résumé, I understand that. They took a little criticism for that and I took it personally. I wanted to ante up and add to their legacy, and thankfully with the help of a great coaching staff and great players we were able to do that."

Not that Dan Rooney, the team's chairman, would back away from his choice of Tomlin. All Tomlin has done in two seasons is win two division titles and a Super Bowl. It's harder to do much better than that.

Now the Rooneys have a legacy better than anyone else's, an organization that has the most Super Bowl titles in history, but with far less glamour because Dan, Art II and Tomlin don't seem to have flashy personas. The organization is more blue collar, as are the celebrations when the team wins the Super Bowl.

"It feels great, it is really great," Dan Rooney said. "We are very pleased with it. They are all important. Every Super Bowl win is important. The first one was sort of special. The rest of them were all very good. You see these young players and see the talent and see how well they do. That is all important."

He was asked why the family keeps winning -- what it has over the Browns or the Bidwills or any of the other NFL families that have not had similar success.

"Just have good players," he said. "That is the big thing. Players are the ones that do it for you. The players are it. You can't win without the players. Remember that."

Rooney later was asked what it was like to now have more titles than anyone in the league, what it meant to be, statistically at least, the best organization in the game.

"I don't look at it in comparison to the other teams because they are giving their best," he said. "The Cardinals played a marvelous game today and you have to admire them for the way they played. To come down to the last five seconds or 15 seconds, I don't take it in relation to the other teams. It's just a great feeling for us."

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