Steelers News

Back With Steelers Organization, Daniel Martin Rooney Still Viewed As Successor When Time Comes

Few families are as intimately tied to the National Football League as the Rooneys, who have held majority control of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the organization’s founding (as the Pirates) in 1933. Art Rooney Sr. started it all, and his son, Dan Rooney, took them to another level—the highest level. Dan’s son, Art Rooney II, has been in control of the franchise for about a decade and a half, give or take.

But who is next? Art II will be turning 70 later this year. He’s not getting any younger. Who is in line to succeed him? Well, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala, it’s still the same name that we have been hearing for some time now: Daniel Martin Rooney, his son.

I think that that was written years and years and years ago”, she recently said last week during an appearance on The Fan Morning Show on 93.7, and she relayed an anecdote with former Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster from a number of years ago.

“Ramon Foster was telling me, ‘You keep an eye on Dan. He’s got all the charisma. He’s got the same demeanor as Ambassador Dan’, the late Dan Rooney”, she said. “And Dan, before he went off to get his MBA at Penn [at the Wharton School], was doing a little bit of everything. He worked as an assistant coach. He worked as a scout. He kind of was getting involved in every single piece of the organization to learn how each piece works”.

If you’ve been following Steelers Depot for some time, you should be familiar with the basics. Dan Rooney III played quarterback at Dartmouth college, albeit as a backup. Soon after, he began his path toward his future and was ultimately hired by the team as a coaching assistant on the Steelers’ staff, having also dabbled in the scouting department.

The younger Rooney left the team a few years ago to pursue his further education and gain more real-world experience, working in the field of sports technology, but as of a few months ago, is back inside the organization with the title of Director of Business Development & Strategy—now one of four Rooneys in the organization, two Arts and two Dans.

Kinkhabwala covered a lot of his time with the organization when he was just starting out, a mid-20s young man learning the business. She likened him in many ways to his father and grandfather, talking about how he displayed such an interest in everybody in the building, especially in the locker room, whether he was speaking to a veteran or an undrafted rookie—the kind of guy who knows everybody’s name.

Rooney first interned at the league level in 2012, and joined his father’s organization in 2014 as a scouting assistant, moving up to coaching assistant in 2016, all the while performing other tasks on the side for the team in the field of sports innovation. He left the team in June 2018 to attend Wharton and receive his master’s degree in business administration.

And now he’s back, and once again we are hearing that he is indeed the next in line—even if we have had no reason in the interim to assume otherwise, despite his time away from the team. Still in his early 30s, he will hopefully keep the organization in good hands for many years to come when it is his time to succeed his father.

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