Dan Rooney accepts Lifetime Achievement Award to standing ovation

Dan Rooney said thank you in Irish to begin his acceptance of his Lifetime Achievement Award, a nod to his heritage and to his time as ambassador to Ireland in President Barack Obama’s first term.

The audience gave the legendary owner of the Steelers a rousing standing ovation, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell introduced him by saying, “He is one of the greatest men I know.”

Goodell mentioned several reasons for his admiration, but the first is perhaps the most striking: Rooney has hired only three head coaches in four decades, the commissioner said, and one is a hall of famer (Chuck Noll), and the other two (Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin) may be.

Rooney let his son, John Rooney, read his speech, which extolled the Steelers, the NFL, and the incredible growth football has enjoyed in the last 80 years.

“I can still remember my father telling me he actually paid WWSW to broadcast our football games,” said John Rooney, reading his father’s speech. “He felt it was necessary to have our games broadcast on public radio.”

“[And] earlier this year there were more than 122 million people who watched the telecast of Super Bowl 48 [XLVIII],” Rooney said.

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