Pittsburgh Steelers Sports has forged a championship tradition in Steel Town. The company owns and operates the Pittsburgh Steelers professional football franchise, which has won a record six Super Bowl titles. The team joined the National Football League in 1933 as the Pirates (renamed in 1940) but claimed only eight winning seasons during its first 40 years. However, the Steelers dominated the 1970s when the team won four championships under head coach Chuck Noll with the help of such stars as Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann. Pittsburgh won its latest Super Bowl following the 2008 season. Dan Rooney, son of late team founder Art Rooney, and his son Art Rooney II lead a group that owns the Steelers.
The Rooney family is noted for its steady and stable management of the football franchise, illustrated in part by the fact that the team has had just three head coaches since the mid-1960s. Before he resigned following the 2006 season, Bill Cowher boasted the longest tenure of any active head coach in the NFL. Mike Tomlin, a former assistant with the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led Steelers Nation to a sixth NFL championship title just two years after replacing Cowher. Two seasons after that success, Tomlin calmly guided the Steelers to an AFC championship and Super Bowl appearance in the 2010-2011 postseason.
The family brought in outside investors in 2009, however, prompted by league rules about ownership of gaming enterprises. (Some in the Rooney family have an interest in racing tracks in New York and Florida.) Those new investors included James Haslam, head of Pilot Travel Centers; Pittsburgh's Paul family, which controls manufacturer Ampco-Pittsburgh; and film producer Thomas Tull. Others with a minority stake in the team include Bruce Rauner, chairman of private equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner; the family of video game executive Paul Sams (Blizzard Entertainment); and former Steelers player John Stallworth.
The Pittsburgh Steelers play host at Heinz Field, a $244 million stadium that replaced aging Three Rivers Stadium when it opened in 2001. Local condiment maker H. J. Heinz poured out $57 million for the naming rights.
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