Watch Tower: Stallworth Ownership, Rooney Ambassadorship, and the NFL Owners Meeting Wrap Up

You wouldn’t think that the John Stallworth’s joining the Rooneys as a partner, Dan Rooney’s Ambassadorship, or the NFL Owners meetings would provide much fodder for the Watch Tower, but they did.

2009 NFL Owners Meetings

The NFL spring owners meetings are usually accompanied by a rush of news, if for no other reason than it is a time when coaches, GMs, and owners are altogether in one place and available for interviews.

The Post-Gazette and Tribune Review got face time with Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and the Rooneys, but the Tribune Review got the better of the Post-Gazette in terms of coverage.

The Tribune-Review’s Scott Brown went beyond reporting what these men had to say and delivered on the prime topic of concern to Steelers Nation fans, namely free agency, and John Stallworth’s ascension to the Steelers ownership suite.

Brown talked with Kevin Colbert about the Max Starks situation, and in the process the Steelers Director of football operations issued a ringing endorsement of the Steelers recently franchised left tackle:

He maintained his focus and he was able to contribute to us this season in a big way. To me, that says a lot about who that player is, to be able to deal with a situation where he lost his job, he stayed positive and he came back and produced in a big way for us. I think that just says a ton about more so what his makeup is rather than his abilities.

Brown also took the extra step of sharing Colbert’s thoughts about Limas Sweed’s development. Bouchette did report on Colbert’s take on the Steelers situation at wide receiver, but he failed to report any new news on Limas Sweed, a player whose growth is obviously of great import both to the Steelers and Steelers Nation.

Ditto the John Stallworth Ownership Coverage

Much the same can be said of the coverage of John Stallworth. Ed Bouchette’s articles on the subject certainly were not deficient in anyway, but Scott Brown went the extra mile.

The Post-Gazette published two (on line) articles on the Stallworth story where Bouchette delivered the essential facts, but delivered little else to readers.

The Scott Brown also published two articles on the Stallworth story, but his were much richer. In his first article, Brown shared insights from Art Rooney Jr., the man who scouted Stallworth, a current owner and one of Stallworth’s future partners. He also shared comments from Stallworth’s former teammate, current fellow Hall of Famer, and future employee Joe Greene, and well as Steelers safety Mike Wagner, who no doubt spent lots of time chasing after Stallworth during practice in the 70’s.

For his second article Brown teamed up with Mike Pruista, and the two men told the story of how Stallworth got involved in the ownership process through the words of both Rooneys, along with additional comments from Andy Russell.

Kudos to Scott Brown for hustling for the story.

Opps I

Both Dan Rooney’s nomination as ambassador to Ireland and the latest developments in the Steelers ownership restructuring resulted in minor slip ups on the part of both Pittsburgh dailies.

  • The main culprit? The timing of Dan Rooney’s decision to hand over the Steelers Presidency to Art II.

When Rooney was first named ambassador to Ireland, Ed Bouchette reported that Art II had assumed the title of Steelers President in 2002. This contradicted what Steel Curtain Rising had written and we assumed that we were in error.

  • A quick check of the Steelers Media Guide confirmed that the Art Rooney II had become Steelers President in 2003, not 2002.

The error resurfaced when the news about John Stallworth was announced, this time in both the Tribune Review and the Post Gazette. Once again we doubled checked, and it says right there on page 262-263 of Dan Rooney’s self-titled autobiography that the change of title occurred in 2003.

Oops II

The Steelers ownership restructuring was the subject of a more significant error in the Post-Gazette as you can see below.

This is factually correct as far as the new ownership group is concerned.

The only problem with this is that Tim Rooney is not Pat Rooney’s twin – John Rooney is. Tim Rooney by all accounts the consummate middle child. In his book Ruanaidh, Art Jr. talks about how Tim was the most likely to stand up to Art Sr. and during the past year, Tim was the one Rooney brother who pushed hardest to accept Stanley Druckenmiller’s buyout offer.

The Nitty Gritty…

If you’ve read this far you’re not adverse to minutia.

A factoid of interest to very, very few can be found in the coverage of Marvel Smith’s tenure as a free agent. ESPN’s John Clayton was the first to err in his analysis of free agency’s second, when he mentioned that Smith had been waived by the Steelers. The ESPN article that announced Marvel Smith’s signing with the San Francisco 49ers also said that Smith had been waived.

Accept that he wasn’t. Smith’s contract was up meaning he was no longer the Steelers to waive. The team simply opted not to try to resign him.

Thanks for reading. Watch Tower is Steel Curtain Rising’s column dedicated to casting a critical eye on those who cover the Steelers. Click here to read the entire series.

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