A little late to the party. Literally. This day 84 years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were bought by Art Rooney Sr. The price tag? $2500, a not-so-small sum in the middle of the Great Depression. As you may know, they were called the Pittsburgh Pirates until 1940.
They’ve been the Steelers ever since, save for two merger seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals due to World War II. The Steagles were a surprising success; the Cardinals, “Carpets,” utter disaster.
For too long, the team were the lovable losers. Then Chuck Noll came along and built a dynasty in five years. Today, the Steelers stand as one of the most successful and prestigious franchises not just in football but all of sports. Much of that early history has been forgotten. Partially due to the passage of time, partially due to the lack of success. But it’s part of the franchise’s story and one we should never forget to tell.
Sadly, this is the first Steelers’ birthday without Dan Rooney, born in 1932. Rest in peace Papa Rooney.
With that in mind, here are links to the articles I’ve written about the early editions of the team. They’re lengthier reads but if you love football history like I do, worth your time.
Recapping The Steelers 1933 Season
Paul Moss: Pioneer
“But what he should be best known for professionally is being the first offensive player in Steelers’ history to find the end zone. In the team’s second game, trailing the Chicago Cardinals 13-7 with less than three minutes remaining, Moss hauled in a nine yard touchdown from quarterback Jim Tanguay. Following the extra point, and a few more ticks off the clock, the Pirates would achieve their first victory in franchise history, 14-13.”
Nothing Lasts Forever: Angelo Brovelli
“The stars on the Steelers’ today are easy to name: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell. Ask any Steelers’ fan about Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, or Lynn Swann, and you can strike up a conversation over a couple – or many – beers. But arguably the team’s first “star” was Brovelli, part of the original team founded by The Chief in 1933.”
Recapping The 1934 Season
Recapping The 1935 Season