Oh Sweet Maria. Can things get any worse? The Cleveland Indians are in last place. Houses in Cleveland are selling for less than used Yugos. And GM is teetering on bankruptcy. While A-list (ha,ha) blogger Bob Lutz of FlastLane fame is on summer hiatus.
Well, yes. The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the block. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal online (don’t even try without a subscription):
Steelers Shopped to Potential BuyersBy JOHN R. WILKE
July 7, 2008 7:07 p.m.
The storied Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise has been secretly shopped to potential buyers amid continuing divisions among the five sons of the team’s founder, Art Rooney Sr.
The talks affect not only one of America’s iconic sports franchises, but one of its most fabled sports families. Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, who helped build the National Football League and is the oldest of the five sons, wants to consolidate his control by acquiring most of his brothers’ shares in the Steelers over 10 years, those briefed on the talks said.
Reuters Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaps into the endzone to score against the Cleveland Browns last November.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Dan Rooney confirmed these efforts and said, “I have spent my entire life devoted to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League. I will do everything possible to work out a solution to ensure my father’s legacy of keeping the Steelers in the Rooney family and in Pittsburgh for at least another 75 years.”
The statement said the company is restructuring its ownership to ensure compliance with NFL rules. Dan Rooney “wants to stay in the football business while some of his four brothers plan to get out of the NFL and focus their business efforts on their racetracks and other interests.” The statement said that Dan Rooney and his son, Steelers President Art Rooney II, are arranging a financing plan to buy Dan’s brothers’ shares in the team in order to continue substantial ownership of the franchise by the Rooneys.
But some of the brothers and younger third-generation family members are asking whether a better deal can be put together, if there is to be an ownership change.
However its fate is decided, the Steelers franchise is a rich prize. The team has won five Super Bowl titles and been among the most dominant in the league for 30 years. They play in a new riverfront stadium that routinely sells out its 65,000 seats. And their fan base is famously loyal, reaching far beyond western Pennsylvania.
The Steeler Nation stands on guard tonight. For me, I’m heading to the closet and pulling out the Terrible Towel, the original circa 1972. And all this following the death of Myron Cope.
Conspiracy theories, anyone?
Who gave the “brothers and third-generation family members” a vote? This is important. It’s Pittsburgh Steelers football. It’s not a democracy. WTF.
To my KSU college roommate, still Pittsburgh resident and former co-owner with me of Steelers’ season tickets Tom Kollar: c’mon man. Get off the retirement bench and get back in the game. This is important stuff. Hi diddle diddle. Rogel up the middle. (You had to have been there. Trust me.)