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 doesnít 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 wonít 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 ďLive Free or Die Hard,Ē 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. Weíre talking about the infrastructure of Heinz Field tailgating.
Letís 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 donít 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 hereís the big question: Is Druckenmiller taking control of the Steelers necessarily a bad thing?
Ron Burkleís hands-on involvement with the Penguins has been very peripheral, but his fortune ($3.5 billion, same as Druckenmillerís) has given the club a handy financial safety net. Burkle also wants to win. Itís 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? Wouldnít that be good?
Rooney ownership/administration of the Steelers has always been a source of comfort for the teamís fans. But Dan Rooney is 75. His grip on the teamís operations is waning.
Maybe it boils down to Druckenmiller vs. Danís son, Art Rooney II. Do you have as much faith in Artie as you do in Dan? If so, whatís that faith based on? Do you inherit football knowledge/business acumen genetically? Artieís only true qualification for running the Steelers is his last name. Is that enough?
Itís amusing to see the Rooney clanís 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: Danís 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 Danís brothers, he owns 64 percent of the Steelers.
Dan Rooney might lose the Steelers the same way he lost Rod Woodson. Thereís 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 Steelersí director of scouting and player personnel. Art Jr. had some incredible drafts ó like 1974, when the Steelers got Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster ó but got canned after selecting just two Pro Bowlers from 1978-86.
Art Jr. has mostly suppressed his bitterness, but itís easy to read between the lines when he says things now like, ďHow about that? Iíve become a big shot after being exiled 20 years ago.Ē
Steelers fans should want Druckenmiller to get the team. Aside from the dominant í70s, whoíd 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 Cowherís 15 seasons, and should have been in at least two more. Cowher mismanaged some AFC finals at home, thatís 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 didnít do it because that isnít ďthe Rooney way.Ē
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.