New Dan Rooney book offers details into his life, stewardship


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Following the death of his father Dan Rooney in 2017, Jim Rooney decided to begin work on the book that would detail his family's proudest moments from the life the Steelers' chairman emeritus and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

It took two years and more than 50 interviews conducted around the country and abroad, but Jim Rooney's work is complete and ready for the public to see.

His book, "A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney's Story From the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule," will be available to ship in mid-November, with pre-orders available on and now.

"It's part business bio, part memoir, part history," Rooney said. "Joe Greene did the forward on the book. It was great to work with him on that part of it.

"It terms of why do I think the story is important, my father was probably sick of us, particularly me, of continuing to talk about him. I understand my father wasn't perfect, but I do think his story was important to get out there, particularly in this world where there's so much drive for instant gratification and quick fixes. My father, what I saw him do, was take on some big initiatives and stick with them a very long time. If you look at the work with NFL labor, look at his work in Ireland, look at the Rooney Rule, all of those things took years, and in some cases, decades, where he was involved with them. His impact and where he really was effective was playing that long game."

That approach to all things is laid out within the pages of this book, as Jim Rooney explains how the Steelers' long-standing approach to how they handle their business came about. Dan Rooney always thought about the big picture and approached things with that in mind, whether it be with his own franchise or the league as a whole.

"Dan Rooney's leadership at the National Football League was unmatched," said former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a close friend of Dan Rooney. "This book will tell you why."

Several chapters of the book deal with Dan Rooney's early life and things that affected his future in business, having grown up during The Great Depression. That came to shape how Rooney dealt with building the Steelers into a winner in the 1970s, a time when he also began to take a role in helping to shape U.S. involvement in Ireland with the issues that country faced.

Those dealings, which are detailed greatly, run all the way through Rooney being named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland by former President Barack Obama, a position Rooney took very seriously.

The final part of the book is dedicated to Rooney's involvement in shepherding the NFL toward better minority hiring policies, culminating with the league's adoption of the rule that bears his name.

Rooney, who had long been one of the league's most effective negotiators -- something detailed in a number of chapters within the book -- got all 32 NFL owners to agree to interview at least one minority candidate for their coaching and general manager positions. One might think that was an easy sell, but there were some owners who didn't want the NFL telling them who they could or couldn't hire.

"I think what I wanted to get across and what I saw him do was always step into challenges and stay with them for a long period of time," Jim Rooney said. "That was the way he approached leadership."


There are a number of stories in this book of which I was not aware and will give you some insight into how the Steelers were run from their beginnings until today.

I received an advance copy of the book Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, I had read it from cover to cover and found it an interesting journey into Dan Rooney's life.

If you've ever wondered why it is the Steelers do some of the things they do when it comes to the business side of things, this is a must-read.

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