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fordfixer
09-02-2008, 12:49 AM
Rooneys’ ties to Steelers at risk of ending

By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports Sep 1, 2:59 am EDT

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By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports Sep 1, 2:59 am EDT
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=A ... &type=lgns (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AhAwwLLyFdFEXIsVpReF3YKT2bYF?slug=jc-rooneyslosingcontrol090108&prov=yhoo&type=lgns)

The silence at the other end of the phone line was telling. The owner of one NFL team, a wealthy man generally not afraid to speak his mind, took a long, deep breath when asked about an issue that cut truly to the heart of the league.

What would the NFL be like without the Rooney Family running the Pittsburgh Steelers? Specifically, what would happen if Dan Rooney, the affable elder statesman, were no longer a significant part of the league?

“I don’t really want to get into this,” the owner said before demanding anonymity. The request was made with a joking threat of physical harm.

At least it sounded like a joke.

“It’s really hard for me to imagine the NFL without Dan Rooney and his family running the Pittsburgh Steelers,” the owner said. “Obviously, a lot of what I’m saying has to do with tradition, legacy and a lot of that sentimental stuff that all you guys in the media think we don’t give a (darn) about … but it’s really more than that.

“I ran companies before I got to the NFL and really good, well-run companies – and the NFL is a really good, well-run company – have people throughout the company who care deeply about the company … Yes, they are emotionally invested and Dan Rooney is emotionally invested in this league. He wants to make money. We all do. But there’s a way you make money and show your customers that you care. Dan knows how to do that.

“Yes, he’s our moral compass. That’s a fair way to put it.”

Yet, this proud and accomplished franchise could soon be headed in a different direction.

Financial wizard Stanley Druckenmiller has made an effort to buy controlling interest in the team. Druckenmiller, who is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, has offered to buy out the other four Rooney brothers. Each of the five brothers owns 16 percent of the team (the final 20 percent is owned by another set of relatives).

Druckenmiller, a Steelers fan who started his career in Pittsburgh and lived in the city for 30 years, would own 64 percent of the team if he succeeds. According to published reports in Pittsburgh, he has offered $640 million to the four brothers who are willing to sell and who have hired a firm to represent them.

If that were to happen, the Rooneys would no longer be the majority owners after 75 years. The team was founded in 1933 by family patriarch Art Rooney Sr. Art Sr. and son Dan are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as contributors to the league. Dan Rooney is also considered one of the league’s great consensus builders, a peacemaker among ultra-competitive rich men because of his understated and folksy approach.

“Dan Rooney is arguably the most beloved and respected owner in the NFL today with tremendous loyalties built up over many years,” said Marc Ganis, the president of Sportscorp Limited, a sports business consulting firm. “There’s no chance in the world they will throw him overboard if he can find a way to make this work.”

Under its rules, the NFL can continue to have Dan be the controlling owner of the team as long as it wants, according to Ganis, who has done projects with more than a third of the NFL’s 32 teams.

“Think of the NFL as a New York co-op,” Ganis said, comparing the league to the housing cooperatives throughout metropolitan New York. “Someone with incredible wealth can try to come in and buy their way into a co-op and you, as the seller, may want to sell to them. But if the board of that co-op association doesn’t want you in that association, you don’t get it.

“The NFL has that kind of power and more to approve whoever they want to be the controlling owner of a team.”

Realistically, in order for Dan Rooney to hold off Druckenmiller or any other investor, he’ll need an influx of cash. Dan Rooney has reportedly been looking for investors in recent weeks to come up with enough money to become majority owner and pay off his brothers, who want to cash out.

Dan Rooney declined to talk about the issue two weeks ago, but he and his brothers met with commissioner Roger Goodell, Cincinnati owner Mike Brown, New Orleans owner Tom Benson and Carolina owner Jerry Richardson in New York last week to discuss the matter. While no solution was announced, Goodell said that it was emphasized to the brothers that any sale was subject to approval by three-fourths of the owners.

“They’ve run a model franchise, and I think everyone in Pittsburgh recognizes how proud they are of the Steelers, and we in the NFL recognize how fortunate we have been to have Dan Rooney’s leadership and now Art’s leadership,” Goodell said after the 2˝-hour meeting.

Goodell emphasized that the league’s owners would prefer that Dan Rooney, whose net worth hasn’t been revealed, stay in charge of the Steelers. That preference could be enough to sway the brothers to sell their interests to Dan at a less price, hoping to avoid challenges from the league.

Still, as the one owner said, this is not an easy transaction.

“We’re talking about a lot money that has to change hands and that Dan has to come up with at the end of the day to keep his brothers happy,” the one owner said. “You’d like to think it should be able to happen, but this is the fight that the old guard keeps having.”

In other words, for all the riches that men such as Rooney, the late Lamar Hunt and others were able to get from their association with the NFL, staying in the game has become costly.

BigBen2112
09-02-2008, 08:05 AM
If the Rooney's lose controlling interest in this franchise watch out, because it wont be pretty.

proudpittsburgher
09-02-2008, 10:34 AM
To me, things won't start happening for the first couple of years if this happens, but moreso over the long-term.

Djfan
09-02-2008, 10:49 AM
This whole thing still makes me sick to my stomach.

proudpittsburgher
09-02-2008, 12:05 PM
This whole thing still makes me sick to my stomach.

:Agree

RuthlessBurgher
09-02-2008, 12:15 PM
I hear you about the sick to the stomach thing, but at least the news regarding the Rooneys meeting at the league office served as Maalox to that upset stomach to a certain extent. Having Goodell and the other NFL owners essentially come out and say to the other Rooney brothers that if they decide to sell to someone else, there is no guarantee that 3/4 of the owners will approve the sale, since Dan has so much respect built up in those circles. For once, the old boys' network may be a helpful thing.

Oviedo
09-02-2008, 12:41 PM
While I love the Rooney's more than anything, the family incurring a huge debt load to buy out his brothers will only hurt the team in the long run. That debt will have to be serviced every year just like we all pay our mortgages and that money comes from somewhere. That somewhere would be to divert money that could be applied to the operating budget to service the debt. That will hurt the team in the long run because that means that you have to cut back in other areas within the organization. Anyone want to cut back on scouting, coaching staff, facilities, etc?

While change is sometimes hard, Druckenmiller buying this team could be the best possible thing for this team in the long run. Service hundreds of millions in debt would not benefit this franchise in the near or long term. It would become an albatross around the franchises neck.

The sad thing is this is all a result of a stupid rule on gambling even if non sports related. Just ridiculous.

RuthlessBurgher
09-02-2008, 01:15 PM
Dan can still find billionaires who would like to invest in his ownership group without needing to become principle owners themselves. Mario Lemieux has his friend and business partner billionaire Ron Burkle bankrolling the Penguins while others are making the day-to-day hockey decisions.

proudpittsburgher
09-02-2008, 02:09 PM
Dan can still find billionaires who would like to invest in his ownership group without needing to become principle owners themselves. Mario Lemieux has his friend and business partner billionaire Ron Burkle bankrolling the Penguins while others are making the day-to-day hockey decisions.

Yes, yes yes! FWIW, there are SOME in the Rooney family who I would be glad to see gone, those who could give a rats arse about this team. That being said, I'm sure Dan could find some investors who are not interested in owning a controlling interest in the team.

Oviedo
09-02-2008, 03:13 PM
Dan can still find billionaires who would like to invest in his ownership group without needing to become principle owners themselves. Mario Lemieux has his friend and business partner billionaire Ron Burkle bankrolling the Penguins while others are making the day-to-day hockey decisions.

Dan Rooney still needs to finance an increase from 16% to at least 30% to meet the NNFL guidelines as principal owner. I doubt he has that many millions laying around. That means financing and therefore that means debt.

Debt is never good fror any business. Take a look at successful businesses that have taken a debt load to acquire other companies. Their performance after the acquisition is usually not as good as before before of the drain on resources servicing the debt places on the balance sheet.

With Druckenmiller you have no debt issue. From a business perspective he is the best option whether emotionally it is comfortable for the fans or not.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-02-2008, 04:44 PM
very well said, oviedo.

SD could be very good for this franchise.

don't understand why some people cannot see this.

ikestops85
09-02-2008, 05:50 PM
very well said, oviedo.

SD could be very good for this franchise.

don't understand why some people cannot see this.

I live in the Washington area. This whole scenario reminds me what happened to the redskins. Jack Kent Cooke died and left the team in a trust. His son could not come up with the best offer to buy the team so they sold it to a lifelong foreskin fan with plenty of capital. Enter Daniel Snyder. I have nightmares thinking that this could happen to my beloved steelers. :( :cry:

Les 74
09-02-2008, 05:53 PM
very well said, oviedo.

SD could be very good for this franchise.

don't understand why some people cannot see this.

I live in the Washington area. This whole scenario reminds me what happened to the redskins. Jack Kent Cooke died and left the team in a trust. His son could not come up with the best offer to buy the team so they sold it to a lifelong foreskin fan with plenty of capital. Enter Daniel Snyder. I have nightmares thinking that this could happen to my beloved steelers. :( :cry:


No one and I mean NO ONE is as incompetent as Daniel Snyder.

Steel Life
09-02-2008, 08:12 PM
While unfortunate...change is inevitable - even for the Steelers. It would suck if Dan weren't the face of the franchise, but in all honesty he wouldn't be for long anyway considering his age.

While O is right about the potential debt-load, my hope is that if SD does come into possession of the team, that he maintains his promise of keeping Dan involved (including owning a significant portion of the team) & hopefully learns from him rather than Jerry Jones as to how things should be done.

SteelTorch
09-02-2008, 08:51 PM
While this does suck major ass, we should have seen this coming. I mean, Dan Rooney is really up there in age and I don't see any other of his brothers wanting or being able to manage the Steelers the way he has. :(

Let's hope whoever ends up owning the team next continues the legacy. :tt2

SteelerNation1
09-02-2008, 11:37 PM
Dan can still find billionaires who would like to invest in his ownership group without needing to become principle owners themselves. Mario Lemieux has his friend and business partner billionaire Ron Burkle bankrolling the Penguins while others are making the day-to-day hockey decisions.

Dan Rooney still needs to finance an increase from 16% to at least 30% to meet the NNFL guidelines as principal owner. I doubt he has that many millions laying around. That means financing and therefore that means debt.

Debt is never good fror any business. Take a look at successful businesses that have taken a debt load to acquire other companies. Their performance after the acquisition is usually not as good as before before of the drain on resources servicing the debt places on the balance sheet.

With Druckenmiller you have no debt issue. From a business perspective he is the best option whether emotionally it is comfortable for the fans or not.
Couldn't have said it better Ov. My biggest fear is that Dan assumes so much debt that we cannot sign players, etc.

proudpittsburgher
09-03-2008, 06:59 AM
very well said, oviedo.

SD could be very good for this franchise.

don't understand why some people cannot see this.

You said it yourself, eddie.

He COULD BE very good for this franchise. We KNOW what Dan brings to the table. I'll take what I KNOW over what COULD BE.

BigBen2112
09-03-2008, 07:21 AM
Here's a great idea NFL:

If you want the Rooney's to keep control of the franchise and not be in so much debt that they cant even run the franchise...SCREW THE RULE!

Dan/Art are running the franchise. Simply b/c the other brothers have equal control and also are in gambling shouldn't matter. If you want to keep them in control of the franchise then forget the stupid rule.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-03-2008, 08:18 AM
Dan is 76 years old.

do you have as much faith in Jr. to run a tight ship and make sound decisions?

thats the nut as i see it.

i'll take my chances with a billionaire.

BigBen2112
09-03-2008, 08:50 AM
Dan is 76 years old.

do you have as much faith in Jr. to run a tight ship and make sound decisions?

thats the nut as i see it.

i'll take my chances with a billionaire.


There is a salary cap genius. It doesn't matter HOW much money the owner has, he is only allowed to spend so much of it on the players on the field.

Furthermore, SD better not be like Dan Snyder is.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-03-2008, 11:16 AM
a salary cap?

no fooling benny? gee thanks for the inside info.

i'll just leave it at what oviedo said.

Slapstick
09-04-2008, 02:11 PM
Debt may be an issue, but the Steelers already have one of the lowest debt percentages in the NFL...

According to a Forbes report in 2007, the Steelers have a debt percentage of only 8%, which places them as the 4th lowest debt percentage in the league...they also have the lowest debt percentage of the top 16 valued teams...

Hopefully, any required debt would not render the Steelers uncompetitive...it would, however, require further changes to the business model...

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 03:03 PM
Debt may be an issue, but the Steelers already have one of the lowest debt percentages in the NFL...

According to a Forbes report in 2007, the Steelers have a debt percentage of only 8%, which places them as the 4th lowest debt percentage in the league...they also have the lowest debt percentage of the top 16 valued teams...

Hopefully, any required debt would not render the Steelers uncompetitive...it would, however, require further changes to the business model...


it would, however, require further changes to the business model... Changing the business model is a bigger cause for concern than who owns the team. It is all about the business model because they are a business and they have to have the financial resources to compete in an NFL that potentially has either no salary cap or an altered cap structure that could be unfavorable to "mom and pop" owners.

Slapstick
09-05-2008, 09:11 AM
Changing the business model is a bigger cause for concern than who owns the team. It is all about the business model because they are a business and they have to have the financial resources to compete in an NFL that potentially has either no salary cap or an altered cap structure that could be unfavorable to "mom and pop" owners.

By changing the business model, I was referring to finding new revenue streams...

Jooser
09-05-2008, 09:35 AM
I guess this whole thing is still sinking in for me. I just can't fathom the Steelers without the Rooneys. The name has always been there since I was a kid and started my love affair with the franchise. Who knows what SD could bring to the table. Maybe he'd add more seats to the stadium and make more tickets available? Then maybe he'd have my vote. :Cheers But on the other hand...maybe there's nothing he'll bring to the table. I am more than a little befuddled at this point. Let me drink a few and I'll get back to yinz later.

http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/4321/funny****29rv8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

-the Jooser