It’s often one of the more heated of debates among Steelers’ fans. Is it OK to criticize the Rooney Family?
The long and the short of it is this; yes you can criticize the Rooney’s and to think otherwise just isn’t correct.
Chairman Dan and son Art II are not without short-comings. They make mistakes just like you and I do but they know the microscope is obviously much more intense on them which is why they speak publicly so infrequently.
They do not seek the type of attention that a Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones do but they are still the faces of one of 32 NFL franchises.
They also wield a great deal of power in the National Football League offices as well. For those of you who are in the ‘anti-Goodell’ camp which grows on a daily basis, you have the Rooney Family to thank for putting him in charge.
It was with their full support that he was put forth and then confirmed by the rest of the owners as the commissioner to replace Paul Tagliabue. Feel sick to your stomach at all?
Between the years of 1933 and 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers played in one playoff game (although some will also count the ‘Playoff Bowl’ loss in 1962). In 1947 the Steelers lost 21-0 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Based upon the reaction on social media today as this year’s version of the Steelers fell to 2-6, can you imagine what Twitter would have been like throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s?
The patience that the Rooney Family has preached and practiced for so many years would have no doubt been tested to the ultimate degree. Was it unfair to question them during such a long run of futility though?
No it would not have been! If we are openly questioning President Art Rooney II just a few years removed from a Super Bowl appearance then why wouldn’t we have questioned The Chief during those brutal years? Legendary status does not guarantee immunity from criticism any more now than it did then.
I am on the record now as saying Art II was behind the hiring of Todd Haley and not Mike Tomlin and I’ll always believe that. That move in and of itself allows for criticism of the current team president based on the results. You can blame injuries and whatever else you want but the numbers are what they are.
Ultimately there are few other owners in professional sports that I’d rather have than the Rooney’s but this doesn’t mean I can’t disagree with them at times. Chances are you have no problem criticizing a family member or close friend so why should this be any different?
While there are many out there who hold the Rooney Family in the highest regard and will never say a bad word about them, I can’t be in that group. When I make mistakes and poor decisions I expect to be criticized.
The Rooney’s can be held to no different of a standard. If we are to praise them during the good times then we should be able to criticize them during the lean times.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.