Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

The Steeler Way: What It Takes to Be a Star in This Town

Steelers owner Dan Rooney
Steelers owner Dan Rooney
Credit Home of Chen / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Steelers are notorious for their intense local and national fans, their endless arsenal of black and gold apparel, and their acclaimed six Super Bowl Championships.

Fans may not know, however, that the players are expected to behave under a standard referred to as “The Steeler Way.”

“If you’re a Steeler and you stay out of trouble, you’re a star in this town. That will stay with you,” says journalist Ben Schmitt, who recently wrote about the concept for Pittsburgh Quarterly.

The standard set by player engagement coordinator Ray Jackson, encourages players to lead their public lives in such a way that they exhibit a positive Steelers image.

Players attend lectures to help them adjust to NFL life, they also get counseling and financial advice. Schmitt says the Steelers famous owners, the Rooney family, have a significant role in keeping the players grounded. They attend practices and interact with the players on a regular basis in what Schmitt describes as an effort to dispel the notion that football is only a business.

Schmitt says the Rooneys make a true effort to ensure that their players feel accepted in the Steel City.

“As any Pittsburgher knows, everyone takes so much pride in their team and that starts in the ownership.”