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SanAntonioSteelerFan
02-02-2011, 11:57 PM
I tend to usually dislike Battista's articles about the Steelers because she often takes the Lazy Journalist approach to writing about Ben, but this one is pretty good!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/sport ... nted=print (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/sports/football/03rooney.html?hpw=&pagewanted=print)



# The New York Times Reprints

February 2, 2011
Rooney Method: Build Methodically and Await Rings
By JUDY BATTISTA

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Art Rooney II was glancing at the enormous video screen and plush seats, taking in Jerry Jones’s monument to revenue with a bemused smile. Pittsburgh will probably never have a home quite like Cowboys Stadium, which will be host to the Super Bowl on Sunday. But this week Rooney, an owner and the president of the Steelers, had something that Jones, the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, wanted desperately: the opportunity to explain how his team keeps returning to the Super Bowl every few years.

Rooney’s remarks in the middle of the lavish dome were in stark contrast to those made by Jones at a news conference, when he explained how badly he misjudged his team this season.

“Panic doesn’t seem to work; let’s put it that way,” Rooney said. “Enough people seem to have gone through that. Our philosophy is you pick good people and try to stick with them.

“There’s no guarantees. There are ups and downs in any sport. But if you have the people in place, you always have a chance to be successful. That goes back to my grandfather and down to my father.”

More than by any player or coach, the Steelers are identified by the way they have done business for 40 years. They build through the draft, take care of their players, maintain financial discipline, eschew flashy hires and treat people well.

In the win-now world of professional sports, the Steelers have managed a twin bill that only a few other organizations, including the Green Bay Packers, can claim: they win now, and they set themselves up for the future, too. Of the 22 players who are expected to start for the Steelers on Sunday, 18 were either drafted by the Steelers or signed as undrafted or rookie free agents. For some of those players, it will be their third Super Bowl appearance in six years.

It is a blueprint that has put six Lombardi Trophies behind glass in Pittsburgh, given the Steelers a chance to win a seventh, generated a devoted, nationwide fan base and left other owners agog, although Rooney laughs a little when asked if the Steelers’ way has been codified. It has not, he said.

“I’m envious,” the Indianapolis Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay, said. “I’ve spent more than $100 million more than those guys in the last 10 years.” He added: “How can you accomplish so much with such a disciplined business model?”

Art Rooney II’s grandfather Art — the beloved Chief — founded the franchise. Art II’s father, Dan, steered it to stunning success in the 1970s and became one of the N.F.L.’s most influential owners. And in recent years Art II has moved into the primary decision-making job. That seamlessness is at the root of the Steelers.

Pittsburgh has hired only three coaches since 1969 — Chuck Noll was the first — and each has won at least one Super Bowl. With Noll, Dan Rooney and his brother Art Jr. formed a threesome that focused on building through the draft. That approach remains. Offensive and defensive systems are not adopted and ripped up every few years, necessitating cyclical remakings of the roster.

When Mike Tomlin, an under-the-radar young coordinator, replaced Bill Cowher in 2007, his most critical decision was to keep the defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and the 3-4 defense that is the cornerstone of the Steelers, even though Tomlin ran a 4-3 as a coordinator.

The continuity means everybody from the owners to an entry-level scout knows what Steelers players should be like. The team is able to draft prospects who will fit its system for years — because the system is not going to change — giving the Steelers time to develop players.

“Some teams change quarterbacks like underwear,” the Steelers’ Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham said. “Then you have this organization. Stability is the key, and they let people do their jobs.”

Ernie Accorsi, the former Giants general manager, tells a story about Kevin Colbert, the Steelers’ director of football operations whom Accorsi calls the best general manager nobody knows about. Since Accorsi retired, he has consulted with other teams looking to rebuild.

One team was looking for a general manager. Accorsi called Colbert, who has been with the Steelers since 2000, a run that has included appearances in five conference championship games and three Super Bowls.

“I didn’t even tell him the money,” Accorsi said. “I said this is a good job. He said: ‘I could never do that to the Rooneys. I don’t care what they would pay.’ Where you going to find that?”

If the approach engenders unusual loyalty, it also requires a patience and an imperviousness to outside pressure that Irsay acknowledged is rare in ownership circles.

“They’ve been successful doing it this way, and they know there is going to be a year we’re 6-10,” Colbert said. “They don’t want that year after year. They understand there will be a dip somewhere along the way.”

Two weeks ago, when Dan Rooney, now the United States ambassador to Ireland, returned to Pittsburgh for the A.F.C. championship game, he spoke to a handful of reporters about the N.F.L.’s labor strife. During that conversation he offered a bombshell of a quote that summed up the Steelers’ ability to take the long view of success.

“I’d rather not have the money,” Rooney said about the proposed 18-game regular season.

That comment snapped a few heads around the league, particularly among owners who would rather have the money. But Rooney wonders why it is necessary to change something — 16 games for 32 teams — that has worked successfully for years. It is a mind-set the Steelers have leaned on in the past: do not make sea-change decisions in haste.

The remark also resonated in the Steelers’ locker room, where stories about the Rooneys’ unusual affinity for the people who work for them are limitless. They shake the hands of each player after games, win or lose. They offer advice to new players on where to send their children to school. They take the men and women who work in the cafeteria at the team’s training facility to the Super Bowl.

“He’s talking about he’d rather not have the money,” Steelers linebacker James Harrison said. “He’s truly concerned about the players. Other owners that are willing to go ahead and say give us 18 games don’t really care about the safety of players. They care about making money.”

Despite the victories that took the Steelers to Dallas, this was an unusually trying season for them. Last spring, after missing the playoffs, they grappled with what to do about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as the investigation into an alleged sexual assault in a Georgia bar deepened. The Steelers were deeply troubled by the allegations of Roethlisberger’s behavior that emerged in police documents.

“The more we thought through it, it was easy to come to the conclusion this player deserved the opportunity to make right,” Colbert said. “We’re happy we did and sure happy he did, because without him we’re not here today.”

Probably not. But the Steelers will most likely be back to the Super Bowl even after Roethlisberger is gone into retirement and perhaps even before the Steelers have to fire a head coach. They have not done that since 1968, and Art Rooney II pondered whether he would live long enough to be the one to do it.

“I hope not,” he said.

papillon
02-03-2011, 12:31 AM
Panic doesn’t seem to work; let’s put it that way. Enough people seem to have gone through that. Our philosophy is you pick good people and try to stick with them.

And there you have it folks, three simple enough sentences that have garnered 6 Lombardi trophies and a potential 7th. This is why I laugh when Steeler fans in the midst of a winning season are calling for Tomlin's head, Arians' head, Lebeau's head, etc.

"You pick good people and you stick with them", read it folks, it's there in black and white, knee jerk reaction and panic isn't the Steeler way and hopefully never will be.

That's the main reason the lean years are far and few between.

Pappy

fordfixer
02-03-2011, 12:40 AM
Panic doesn’t seem to work; let’s put it that way. Enough people seem to have gone through that. Our philosophy is you pick good people and try to stick with them.

And there you have it folks, three simple enough sentences that have garnered 6 Lombardi trophies and a potential 7th. This is why I laugh when Steeler fans in the midst of a winning season are calling for Tomlin's head, Arians' head, Lebeau's head, etc.

"You pick good people and you stick with them", read it folks, it's there in black and white, knee jerk reaction and panic isn't the Steeler way and hopefully never will be.

That's the main reason the lean years are far and few between.

Pappy


Nice

aggiebones
02-03-2011, 06:30 PM
This is a good article to send to all your non-Steeler's friends. They'll love you for it.

This paragraph speaks alot:
"But the Steelers will most likely be back to the Super Bowl even after Roethlisberger is gone into retirement and perhaps even before the Steelers have to fire a head coach. They have not done that since 1968, and Art Rooney II pondered whether he would live long enough to be the one to do it."

Now go and find ANY other team that FIRED less than 5 guys. (outside of the new teams like Caro.)

Might be more than I think, but I found none in a quick look. Browns fired 15 head coaches since Noll was here :)

johnstownsteel
02-03-2011, 08:59 PM
i'm seriously considering leaving my job and applying to wash dishes at the steelers training facility.

wonder if the old lady will go for it... :tt1