Art Rooney II Super Bowl XLV Media Day Interview Transcript


QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS MEDIA DAY

PRESIDENT ART ROONEY II

(on what he expects to be different about the NFL in five years) “It’s hard to predict, but certainly I’m sure that the television world will be different as things change and how people view the games. Whether it will be having games broadcast over the Internet and on your cell phones, all that kind of thing, that’s the change that’s coming. So that will be the interesting part to see. I think the game itself, hopefully, is not going to be too much different. We’re always tweaking the rules here and there, and safety is certainly an ongoing issue, but I think for the most part we have a great game and I hope it’s not going to be drastically different than it is today.”

(on whether he expects there to be a team in Los Angeles by 2016) “Yeah, I do. I think Los Angeles is in the picture by then. It’s a great football town. They’ve supported a few franchises over the years, and hopefully we’ll get another one back there by at least 2016.”

(on whether he thinks there will be an international franchise within the next five years) “I don’t see one in the next five years, let’s say. I would think if there’s going to be an international franchise, it’s either going to be Mexico or Canada. That’s the next step, I would guess.”

(on whether an international franchise is possible by 2016) “Yeah, I think it’s possible. I mean, the Bills are already playing some games up in Toronto, so it could be possible.”

(on whether a game in Ireland could be a realistic possibility next year) “I don’t know. I’ve heard that there’s talk about that, but I don’t know. I think it’s probably a long shot.”

(on whether the Steelers would be interested in playing a game in Ireland) “Sure. We’d love to. Absolutely. You know, we played a preseason game there back in ’95, I think it was, so it would be fun.”

(on Saturday’s scheduled negotiating meeting between the NFL and the NFL Players Association) “You have to have meetings to get something done. We have a way to go, but at least I think if you get on some kind of a meeting schedule, that’s the first step.”

(on whether he sees the tone of the negotiations heading in a positive direction) “It’s hard to say. I think we’ve just got to get everybody at the table and get serious about it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s hard for me to say the tone means anything one way or the other at this point. It’s just the fact of getting to the table and getting serious about getting something done.”

(on the key to creating sustainable success in a franchise) “I think the key, really, is surrounding yourself with the right people. You have to have the right people to get the job done, and we’ve been fortunate over the years to have a lot of great players and great coaches and people like Kevin Colbert handling the draft. It’s a lot of pieces that make it work, but certainly having the right people in the right spots is the key.”

(on Pittsburgh’s pro sports teams winning 11 championships in 40 years) “It is amazing. We’re lucky.”

(on if he has any concerns of economic imbalance amongst the League when he sees Cowboys Stadium) “I think there is that concern in the League. I think we’ve always had a strong revenue sharing system in the League and I think we need to keep that. It’s great that somebody can get a building like this done but still, you’re right, we have to make sure we keep the economics the right way and in a way that we can have a league that has been as successful as it has been.”

(on why they have been able to resist the urge to make big moves) “Panic doesn’t seem to work. Let’s put it that way. There are enough people that seem to have gone through that mode and our feeling is that you pick good people and you try to stick with them if you have good people. There are ups and downs in any sport, but if you have the right people in place, you’ll always have a chance to be successful and that’s what we do. Every year, we have a single goal, and that’s to try and put a championship team on the field and everybody in the organization understands that is the goal. We don’t try and make it too complicated.”

(on if their culture is articulated through the organization or simply understood through the years) “I think the idea of having the right people in place and finding and keeping good people, that’s something that goes back to my grandfather and my father. As they said, keeping it simple and keeping the right people in play, that’s the key.”

(on where the financial discipline of building through the draft come from) “I think it goes back to the late ‘60s. My dad and my uncle, Art, started to become the guys running the franchise. When we hired Chuck Noll, I think they all believed that building through the draft was the right way to do it. That was kind of the point where the formula of having the draft be the foundation – everybody agreed that was the way to make it work.”

(on why there is only one decal on the helmet) “There are a lot of stories. The first story is that our equipment manager at the time didn’t feel like putting it on both sides, a guy named Jack Clark. Really, I think it came down to my dad wanting to do something different. He decided that just one on one side was something that was going to be a little different from what all the other teams were doing at the time.”

(on if there is a story to why they picked the side of the helmet that they did) “No, I never heard any rationale to which side was picked.”

(on whether it bothers him to be the underdog despite having a better record than Green Bay) “We’ve always done pretty well as the underdog. That doesn’t bother me in the least.”

(on why more teams haven’t emulated the Steelers’ culture) “Well, I can’t speak for other teams. We’ve always had good relationships with our players and wanted to have an atmosphere where everybody felt like they were a part of the organization and don’t try to build too many walls or divisions between different groups in your organization.”

(on how he defines ‘the Steeler Way’) “I think it’s just a matter of trying to get the right people in place. They key to it is we’ve always believed in having good people, and first of all, having the right coach leading the way. I don’t think there’s anything complicated to it. It’s just a matter of trying to find the right people and we’ve been lucky to be able to find them.”

(on the Steelers not having to fire a head coach since 1969) “We’ve been fortunate. There’s no question about it. We’ve been able to find three guys to lead the franchise that have all been great guys. They’ve all had a little different strengths, but they’ve been the kind of people you want to have leading your franchise. So we’ve been very fortunate that it’s worked out that way.”

(on the Steelers still being a family-owned franchise) “Well, every franchise is a little bit different. We’ve gone through some changes in the last few years, so we now have, certainly nothing like the Packers, but we have a great ownership group. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to attract the kind of people to be our partners that wanted to be part of it. But the Packers are unique; it’s hard to compare with them the way they’ve done it. It’s an interesting organization.”

(on Dan Rooney walking to Steelers home games from his house) “Well, it worked out that way. Obviously, some of it was a little bit fortunate that the stadium wound up being put on the north side back when Three Rivers (Stadium) was built. Now, Heinz Field is even closer to the house than Three Rivers was, so it worked out great.”

(on what this season was like for Dan Rooney) “Well, I’m sure it was a little tiring, because he flew back and forth from Ireland to America a number of times this year, so I’m glad the season is coming to an end for that reason. He can maybe quit traveling so much and get some rest.”

(on how many games Dan Rooney attended this season) “He was at all the playoff games and I think he was back for seven or eight of the regular season games.”

(on whether Dan Rooney missed football this season) “There’s no doubt that he misses it, but he also loves the job that he has over there. He loves Ireland; he loves the job he’s doing over there, so he’s living the life. He has no complaints.”

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