Pittsburgh Steelers: The ‘Rooney Way’ created the most stable franchise in American pro sports history
Great leadership, consistency and a commitment to excellence made the Pittsburgh Steelers a legendary NFL franchise
Buckle up! Another NFL season! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!
Believe it or not, the first preseason game is this Thursday.
So here I am, in a heightened state of euphoria. Washing my Ben Roethlisberger jersey and cleaning my glasses, coasters, etc.
When I stumbled across the news that the Cleveland Browns traded former 1st round pick, wide receiver Corey Coleman, to the Buffalo Bills for a reported 2020 7th round pick. That’s the same Corey Coleman taken instead of Carson Wentz.
Coleman’s departure means the Browns have none of their 11, first-round draft picks between 2009 and 2016 on the roster. Are you kidding me?
Contemplating such ineptness, got me to thinking about the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of the most storied franchises in all of sports. And about how great it is to bleed black and gold.
Thank God we aren’t Buffalo Bills fans. Or worse, Cleveland Browns fans. We don’t dread offseasons. We don’t get dizzy watching the latest version of musical chairs. Who is the general manager? Who is the head coach? Constant change, and constant struggle.
On the bright side, though, since their seasons are over by Week 9, Browns’ fans get more chores done and spend more quality time with in-laws.
Instead, Steelers’ fans know our front office personnel and coaches aren’t going anywhere. Sure, we occasionally lose a coach or miss the playoffs. Most often, that’s not the case. While Browns fans are scratching their heads, we spend our offseasons analyzing players, watching the Combine and checking injury reports.
Why is that? Why are the Pittsburgh Steelers perennial playoff contenders? The answer is simple – The Rooney family.
Any successful organization, starts with good leadership at the top. In 86 years, the Steelers have had three leaders. All named Rooney.
These Rooneys aren’t brash and flashy. No thanks Jerry Jones. They adhere to respected management principles. Going about their business in methodical fashion. That’s the “Rooney Way.”
The Rooney’s management philosophy sounds deceivingly simple. But separates them from most owners. They hire quality people. They demonstrate patience throughout the organization. They build the team through the draft. They promote from within the organization. They seldom acquire players through free agency or trade. They make hard decisions that benefit the entire team. They don’t overpay!
Consistency is their cornerstone of success. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had only three head coaches since 1969. The great Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, that’s the fewest number of head coaching changes among any American professional sports team during the same timeframe. Remarkable. Not to mention, each has won at least one Super Bowl.
Kevin Colbert also exemplifies consistency. He’s been the Director of Football Operations or General Manager since 2000. The Rooney understand that good employees (who are quality people) deserve their loyalty. Just look at what they’re doing for Ryan Shazier.
By contrast, Fox Sports reported that the Browns had: seven GMs and 24 starting quarterbacks between 1999 and 2015; and five head coaching changes between 2008 and 2015.
The Rooney’s created this dynasty (of sorts) by remaining true to their core values. Recognizing talent on and off the field. Demonstrating commitment and loyalty to their employees, fans and city. And by making the tough, smart decisions.
You can’t argue with an approach producing 36 playoff wins and six Lombardi Trophies.
As Steelers Nation prepares for Thursday-night tailgating, take a moment to reflect on your Steelers memories. Memories the Rooney family made possible.
Now, where’s my Terrible Towel?