(Interviewed by Phil Mustick for the December 19th, 1982 edition of Game Day sold at the Cleveland game)

Age: 81.

Birthplace: Coulter, Pennsylvania ( a mining town near Pittsburgh).

Height: 3 feet, 9 inches.

Weight: 170 pounds.

Education: Indiana Normal (Pennsylvania), Georgetown University.

Daily routine: Up at 3:43 A.M., mile walk to the Steelers' offices in Three Rivers Stadium before 9 A.M., seven days a week. "I could be the watchman here... I might as well loaf in the stadium as at home." Goes to bed at 11:30 P.M. "after the news."

Family information: Rooney's wife Kathleen had borne him five sons.
Eldest, Dan, is the president of the Steelers; Art, Jr., runs the scouting department; twins Pat and John, and Tim, each run one of the family's three race tracks.

Rooney has 34 grandchildren, one great-grandchild (who also is the grandson of New York Giants owner Wellington Mara).

Favourite food: "There isn't any bad food, although I'm a meat-and-potatoes guy."

Favourite writers: Damon Runyon, Grantland Rice, Red Smith. "Sportswriters. They were all my friends. They were racetrack guys and so was I."

Favourite book: The History of Ireland. "They all used to be heathens."

Favorite television show: "Gunsmoke."

Favorite TV personality: Merlin 0lsen of "Father Murphy."

Favorite quote: Dozens spawned by the 1920s and 1930s "that nobody around here seems to understand."

Earliest sports memory: The play- ground next to his father's neighbor- hood saloon in Pittsburgh. "I was an athlete from the time I can remember."

Favourite athlete: "All of them. I've been close to so many, and they were all heroes to me."

Favourite epithet: Rarely swears, but when angry says "Phoo!"

Favourite sport other than football: Baseball. "I hardly ever miss a Pirate game."

Favourite Pittsburgh athlete: ex-light heavyweight champion Billy Conn. "He was as much a part of Pittsburgh as the steel mills."

Favourite season: 1974. "I enjoyed them all, even the years when I had to walk in the alleys instead of on the main drag, but we finally won in 1974 and I knew we weren't waiting around to get beat any more."

Greatest surprise: Steelers' 1972 playoff game against Oakland, won on the final play of the game on deflected pass later called the Immaculate Reception. "When it happened, I was in the elevator on the way down to console the players."

Superstitions: None, "except I never stepped on a baseline."


Personal all-star team of Steelers who were Super but never made the Bowl:


Ends: Buddy Dial, Jimmy Orr, Ray Mathews.
Tight end: Elbie Nickel. Tackles: Bob Gaona, Frank Varrichione, Charley Bradshaw.
Guards: Red Moore, Jack Wiley.
Bill Walsh.
Quarterback: Jim Finks.
Halfbacks: Lynn Chandnois, Dick Hoak, Tom Tracy.
Fullback: John Henry Johnson.


Ends: Bill McPeak, John Baker.
Ernie Stautner, Gene (Big Daddy) Lipscomb.
Nose guard: Chuck Mehelich.
DaleDodrill, Jerry Shipkey, Myron Pot- tios.
Defensive backs: Bill Dudley, Jack Butler, Gary Click.
Punter: Pat Brady. Placekicker: Lou Michaels. Honorable mention: Dozens of others.

Greatest thrill in football: "Making the payroll on Mondays in the old days."

Most memorable character: Johnny Blood (McNally), who coached the Steelers from 1937 through 1939.

"Nobody would even believe some of the things he did. One of our veterans said once, "This is the only team l've been on where the players worry about the coach, instead of the other way around." Once he even missed a game. I was going to fire him, but the players loved him. So I told him, 'John, you have to make the games.' "

Funniest incident: Near-fight with George Halas over a disputed $300 following a Steelers game against the Chicago Bears. "It's one of those you-had-to-be-there ones. We argued and George said, 'You want to fight me for the $500?' I said I didn't and after a while he gave in and paid me. When I was leaving, I told him, 'You know, George, you weren't any sure thing to win that $300.'"

Jobs outside football: Minor-league baseball player and, briefly, steelworker. "Once I had a steel job for half of a day. I never went back to collect my pay."

Favourite cigar: Any kind. "Halas sends me some good ones, although they don't have a wrapper."

Favorite racetracks: "The ones where I won the most money. I favoured Jamaica, a track in New York that closed. I always had a feel for horses, particularly there."

Favourite racehorses: Little Harp. "A nice horse; I made some good touches with him."

Favourite political office: County Register of Wills. "James J. Coyne [former U.S. senator from Pittsburgh] insisted I run once. So I made a big speech and said not only didn't I know what the office entailed, I didn't even know where it was located. I did say that if I won, I'd hire a guy to run it and he'd do a good job."



What they were writing about Art Rooney in 1983

Ed Kiely on Art Rooney

Art Rooney Index

Decades Index