Mark Madden On The Possible Sale Of The Steelers....
I have always thought Madden was an idiot, and this article doesn't change my perspective whatsoever....
Losing Rooneys not a bad thing
By Mark Madden
Times Sports Columnist
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The Steelers will never move. It doesn’t matter who owns the team. Look at all the championships. Look at all the sellouts. The NFL would never let it happen. The Steelers will be in Pittsburgh forever.
Just like the (real) Browns in Cleveland and the Colts in Baltimore.
Actually, the Steelers definitely won’t be moving, not with that stadium and that lease. But it seems possible, even likely, that control of the franchise will move from its founding family, the Rooneys, to billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller.
Said prospect has caused panic in the streets of Pittsburgh akin to the fire sale scene in “Live Free or Die Hard,” as if a national shutdown of transportation, communication and all utilities is even remotely comparable to something legitimately significant like a shakeup in Steelers ownership. Never mind the infrastructure of the United States. We’re talking about the infrastructure of Heinz Field tailgating.
Let’s dispel one myth right away: If Druckenmiller gets majority interest in the team, he will not have Dan Rooney continue to run the team. The Steelers patriarch might serve as a figurehead, but billionaire fans don’t buy their favorite team so the old owner can keep managing it. Druckenmiller says Rooney would remain in charge, but I simply refuse to believe it.
So here’s the big question: Is Druckenmiller taking control of the Steelers necessarily a bad thing?
Ron Burkle’s hands-on involvement with the Penguins has been very peripheral, but his fortune ($3.5 billion, same as Druckenmiller’s) has given the club a handy financial safety net. Burkle also wants to win. It’s his first priority with the Penguins.
For Dan Rooney, the Steelers are the family business. His first priority is making money. What if Druckenmiller takes over and, because he can afford to, puts winning first? Wouldn’t that be good?
Rooney ownership/administration of the Steelers has always been a source of comfort for the team’s fans. But Dan Rooney is 75. His grip on the team’s operations is waning.
Maybe it boils down to Druckenmiller vs. Dan’s son, Art Rooney II. Do you have as much faith in Artie as you do in Dan? If so, what’s that faith based on? Do you inherit football knowledge/business acumen genetically? Artie’s only true qualification for running the Steelers is his last name. Is that enough?
It’s amusing to see the Rooney clan’s squabbles become public. (But not too public; the Rooney-coddling Pittsburgh media continues to burnish the family image even through this crisis.)
This is an easy story to boil down, one virtually free of complications: Dan’s four brothers want bought out. Dan, as he is wont to do, gave them a lowball offer. His brothers went into a tizzy and retained investment management firm Goldman, Sachs & Co. to field outside bids. If Druckenmiller buys out Dan’s brothers, he owns 64 percent of the Steelers.
Dan Rooney might lose the Steelers the same way he lost Rod Woodson. There’s some irony there.
This family split is doubtless fueled by some leftover animosity between Dan and Art Jr. Brother fired brother in 1987 when Dan axed Art Jr. as the Steelers’ director of scouting and player personnel. Art Jr. had some incredible drafts — like 1974, when the Steelers got Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster — but got canned after selecting just two Pro Bowlers from 1978-86.
Art Jr. has mostly suppressed his bitterness, but it’s easy to read between the lines when he says things now like, “How about that? I’ve become a big shot after being exiled 20 years ago.”
Steelers fans should want Druckenmiller to get the team. Aside from the dominant ’70s, who’d the Rooney family ever beat? Look at all the opportunities the Steelers had during the Cowher era. They won Super Bowl XL, but does that excuse all the other blown chances?
The Steelers should have won at least one more Super Bowl during Cowher’s 15 seasons, and should have been in at least two more. Cowher mismanaged some AFC finals at home, that’s for certain. But there were other times that signing a big-money free agent might have put the Steelers over the top, and the Steelers didn’t do it because that isn’t “the Rooney way.”
Dan Rooney has done a great job making the Steelers a consistent playoff team.
But if you prefer championships over consistency, perhaps a billionaire who paints his face black and gold on game days will provide some much-needed passion and financing.
The Rooneys run the Steelers to make money. The current situation confirms that. Maybe Stanley Druckenmiller will run the Steelers to win.