Kevin Colbert: We Hold An ‘Obligation To Carry On’ Virtues Passed Along By Dan Rooney

Everybody who becomes a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization becomes a member of the extended Rooney family. General manager and vice president Kevin Colbert has now been a part of that family for about 17 years, and head coach Mike Tomlin has also held that honor for over a decade.

That is, in fact, what makes the family such a rare breed in the highly competitive, and highly corporate, world of professional football. The Rooneys, particularly Dan Rooney, has always understood the human aspect of the game and the variables involved in any win or loss, or winning and losing season, and doesn’t overreact. That is why they have had such great stability for very nearly 50 years now.

Needless to say, the passing of the Chairman struck a mighty blow to all in the organization, especially those who spent so much time with him and for so long, for over a decade, as Tomlin and especially Colbert have.

To have had the opportunity to work so closely with Dan Rooney over the years, it would have been inevitable for his nature to rub off on those that he worked with, passing on the traits that have come to define the way that the Steelers run business, and Colbert and Tomlin understand that it will now be up to them to keep the proverbial standard.

Mr. Rooney touched everybody he ever met”, Colbert said in a statment. “Words cannot express the impact he had on me, my family and our organization on a daily basis. The virtues he taught us about faith, family and our great game of football will never be forgotten and always cherished”.

He continued, saying that “as we move forward, it is not only our obligation to carry on these wonderful virtues in our lives, but to share these same virtues with others the way he shared them with us”. And that includes in dealing with players, coaches, owners, and league executives.

In his own statement, Tomlin also paid his respects to his boss and friend. “After every game, win or lose, Mr. Rooney would enter our locker room, look me in my eye and shake my hand along with every player who stepped foot on the field”, he said. “He embodied professionalism and was a man who created a family-like atmosphere that will continue on”.

A family-like atmosphere that will continue on, he said. An integral part of Dan Rooney’s legacy, and one that he helped assure during the interviewing process when he hired Tomlin in 2007. The Rooneys measured up the type of man that he was and found him to be in line with their principles.

“Football examples only scratch the surface of how he impacted mine and the countless other lives he touched”, Tomlin concluded. It will now be up to those whose lives he touched to continue to run this franchise as he did for so many years and to lean upon the wisdom and knowledge that he passed down.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Conserv_58

    As I’ve said already, I pray that Art Rooney II continues to display the very same humble and personable attributes that his grandfather, The Chief, imparted on his son, Daniel. It would be the hight of disrespect for him to do otherwise.

  • Simon Cutts

    Matthew. As Mr Rooney took over from his father, and Art took the reins from him, is it known who will be the next generation of the Rooney family designated to learn from Art and eventually take over the team when it is his time to move to Chairman?

  • Conserv_58

    Off topic, but… When is that fascist, Goodell going to FINALLY make his decison on Martavis?! This is getting ridiculous!

  • Rocksolid20

    My quess is near the end of pre season ?

  • harding36

    Like I said, not taking Williams, Mixon etc.

  • Craig M

    “Virtuous” The perfect word to describe Rooney- Colbert hit it right on the button!

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t think it’s set in stone, but it seems likely, and he’s already on the staff: Daniel Martin Rooney, Art Rooney II’s son and the grandson of Daniel Milton Rooney. He’s currently 27 I believe.

  • Simon Cutts

    Thanks for that.

  • Darth Blount 47

    The only real interesting thought I had when I read this was: “Will Dan’s death have anything to do with how the ultimate axes tend to fall?”

    I mean, I know that the day-to-day operations have been out of Dan’s hands for some time now. But I don’t think any of us truly know what level of impact he still wielded when it came to either granting a pardon, or calling for the guillotine.

    Much like in a Godfather situation, is it too far fetched to assume that if Dan wanted something done, then it was done, regardless how some of the others may have felt. And although I’m sure Dan was a delegator, is it impossible to think that he still occasionally used that supreme executive power, or at the very least, was consulted before a major decision was made, and then that rendered opinion was then listened to? I don’t think so.

    So I guess what I’m thinking about is the ultimate fate now, going forward, of some of the higher-ups in the FO, and also perhaps what happens with players who severely transgress. Without the steady, calm, fair, and guiding hands of Dan, would a decision now get made, that if Dan were still with us, might ultimately have NOT gotten made? Of course it’s just pure speculation, and built-in fodder for blog sites, but it is simply a question I felt was ponderous.

  • AndyR34

    I think you are asking a very, very good question…one we won’t know the answer to for some time. AR2 is now the ‘Big Boss’ and only has his father’s memory to guide him. He is a lawyer and a businessman first and a football guy last. Dan was a football guy first, second, and third. I think this will make a difference…not next year, but gradually. It may be 10 years before we notice the difference, but a business first attitude will gradually take over, inspite of the platitudes being thrown out now. What that will look like is only conjecture. Everyone talks about Dan coming into the locker room after a game and shaking hands with a kind word…even for the Ratbirds. You hear nothing like that from AR2…who has been a great supporter of GODell. I think that all speaks volumes.

  • mokhkw

    I think it’s unfair to mention that AR2 hasn’t been know to visit the opposing teams locker room post game yet, for all we know he left that to Dan and will now do exactly the same thing from now on.

    Dan Rooney effectively was President Emeritus for 4 years while Ambassador to Ireland. Even when he returned to the Steelers his health obviously wasn’t the best so how much he was really involved from 2009 is debatable.

    I have no way of knowing obviously but it seems logical that AR2 has been at the reins for quite some time now.

  • mokhkw

    I’m sure people were asking the same questions when Dan took over from Art in 1988.