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‘This is a no-brainer:’ Cowher picks Rooney to present him at HOF


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‘This is a no-brainer:’ Cowher picks Rooney to present him at HOF

For some of the men, once newly elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it takes a while for them to decide who will present them for induction for the greatest individual honor their chosen sport can bestow.

For Bill Cowher, it took no time at all. After it all set in, after the shock and excitement of getting the news live during the CBS NFL Today pregame show from Hall of Fame President David Baker in 2020, Cowher knew who he wanted his presenter to be.

Steelers President Art Rooney II. Cowher had planned on making the announcement on March 17, 2020 at the American Irelands Fund Pittsburgh Gala, an event where he was to be honored and one that holds special meaning to the Rooney family. Late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney was a founder of the American Irelands Fund and started the dinner. When the event was forced to be canceled, the announcement was delayed for a year, until he made it during an interview conducted by Merril Hoge along with Art Rooney II on one year later.

“When you think about your presenter for the Hall of Fame, you think about your mentor, not just your presenter,” said Cowher during the interview. “I think about two of my biggest mentors, Marty Schottenheimer, played for him, coached for him, transformed what I did and what I thought about.

“And then Dan Rooney. I came there 34-years old. The stories. The lessons. The history. Just the principles that he stood for. I certainly left there a better coach, but also left there a better person.

“When you think about your presenter, when I got elected into the Hall of Fame that Saturday night, when I was coming back that night, I remember sitting there with (my wife Veronica), and the next day I saw Jimmy (Johnson) go in, and I said, ‘Who will be my presenter?’

“V and I looked at each other, and I said, ‘This is a no-brainer. I am going in there as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 years. That is why I am going in. I am going in there because I was introduced to Pittsburgh as a kid, I came back there as a professional, and I wound up being a professional because of the Rooney family.’ I say it all, from (Dan’s wife) Patricia, to Dan, to John and Pat his brothers, to everybody. To me it was a no-brainer.

“My presenter is going to be Art Rooney. I called Art up that night and I said, ‘Art, you’re the only one because you knew me before and you knew me after. You knew what our family was all about because it’s all about dynamics of family. I was working for one, we vacationed together, we were one big family. Yes, you’re held accountable. Yes, you had to make tough decisions. But no one knew me better, or knows me better, than Art Rooney. And it’s going to be an honor to have you present me.’”

Rooney said he is honored to be Cowher’s presenter, a decision made by the Steelers’ former coach that really touched him.

“It’s going to be a great honor,” said Rooney. “I was sitting at home last year and my phone rang, and it’s Bill and I had no idea what he was calling about. When he told me this, I was really just speechless. It is going to be a great honor. Having worked with Bill that closely for 15 years, and knowing each other, and having our families grow up together, it just so happened our kids were about the same age, so it was a fantastic 15 years and it’s great our relationship has continued until today. “It’s going to be a special time, that’s for sure.”

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