Art Rooney passed away on August 25, 1988 at the age of 87. Arthur Joseph Rooney, Sr. known as "The Chief," was the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise in the National Football League. Rooney's affiliation with the NFL began in 1933 when he purchased a franchise for Pittsburgh and named them the Pirates. In 1938, he signed Byron "Whizzer" White to a record-breaking $15,000 contract. Unfortunately, this move did not bring the Pirates a winning season. The club did not have a season above .500 until 1942, a few years after the team was renamed the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team managed only 24 victories in the first eight years of his ownership. Season after season, it seemed the Steelers would always be destined for second division. However, Rooney's faith and determination in his Steelers was never-ending. Finally, in the 1970s, the Steelers won four Super Bowls (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979), making them the most dominant team of the decade.
Art Rooney received many awards during his career. In 1964, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a beloved figure in the city of Pittsburgh. A stature of his likeness graces the entrance to Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has a street named in his honor on Pittsburgh's north side.