|Pittsburgh Sports Talk|
Pittsburgh Sports Talk Pittsburgh Sports Talk
|Pittsburgh Sports Talk|
“Surround yourself with good people.”, is what Mr. Rooney told me as we strolled through the streets of Mexico City back in 2000.
The Steelers were in Mexico City playing the Colts in a preseason game. I had been in Mexico working on a golf project. Timing is everything in life.
Since I was “Still-R-Man”, as heard on KDKA Radio Pittsburgh at that time, the fates had aligned in my favor.
I caught a small prop plane from Guadalajara over o Mexico City. Checked into my hotel. And then “Boom, Zing and Shazamm!”; I was reborn as “Still-R-Man”.
I took off for the worlds largest soccer stadium, “Azteca Stadium”, in the heart of the massive city.
The Steelers and Colts were at the stadium on Friday afternoon doing a Mexican version of Super Bowl Media Day with the teams.
As I entered the stadium the outside was guarded by at least one hundred Mexican soldiers with automatic weapons. I gave them my patented “Still-R-Man” wave and “Hello Citizen.”
Nada! No one stopped me. No one said a world. I was only greeted with smiles.
As I walked the concourse and entered the giant arena I saw both teams on the field with the Mexican and international media interviewing players.
The field itself was surrounded by a huge chain link fence and another one hundred Mexican “Policia” again holding automatic riffles.
I can only assume to this day that they thought that since I was saying very loudly for all to hear, “Hola, me nombre es Still-R-Man!”. And I was wearing a black and gold cape, black nylons, had on my ex ray gold glasses and my Super Bowl 30 Helmet. The well armed police assumed I was with the team.
I walked right down on the field and soon found myself surrounded by cameras and microphones.
Now my Spanish is just a little North of better than average. And considering that none of the Steelers players spoke Spanish; well the local media now had a semi-fluent “Still-R-Man” rambling at them.
A few of the Steelers and I were friends and their reaction was priceless. Mostly, “What the hell are you doing here Still-R-Man?”
Once the teams were done with the Media Day they headed back to their hotel in the heart of the city.
Both teams were secured in the same hotel. The NFL gave the players specific orders not to leave the hotel.
I had worked in Mexico long enough to know it can be a dangerous place. Kidnapping is a popular form of employment. And grabbing a superstar QB would bring a nice pay day for the kidnappers.
But the gathered Pittsburgh media had wondered across the street and found a cantina. There we sat for hours enjoying the ambiance of Mexico City.
Myron Cope and “Still-R-Man” in Mexico! Now that's one for the books boys.
After many beers and a round of complimentary tequilas from the owner of the beer garden; the media went to take their siestas in the warm Mexican afternoon.
Since I had been in country for the last month the heat didn't bother me that much.
As I was walking back to the hotel I ran right into Mr, Rooney. He was all alone. No body guard. He was walking the side streets near the hotel and browsing the outdoor market.
I told him it wasn't safe to be by himself and could I join him.
He said, “Sure Still-R-Man!”. We had met before back in Pittsburgh a few times. Years later Rob Pratte at KDKA, who did the Still-R-Man routines with me, had asked Mr. Rooney if he'd make “Still-R-Man” the official mascot of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I have Mr. Rooney's nice letter in my office saying, “Thanks, but no thanks”, in a polite Dan Rooney fashion.
As Mr. Rooney and “Still-R-Man” walked through the streets of Mexico City through a market district I asked him why the Steelers continued to be so successful throughout the years. And if there was a secret of business and life that he could share with me.
“Surround yourself with good people.”, he said.
Years later during the Steelers Super Bowl season that lead to Tampa and Big Ben's game winning drive to San Antonio Holmes; I asked various coach's why the Steelers were so successful over so many years.
To a person at different times including Kevin Colbert on the field after the game they said, “Surround yourself with good people.”
Money does not make a man; it unmasks a man. Meaning if you give a guy a few bucks and some power; you will find out the nature of his soul.
Mr. Rooney was down to Earth, humble and a man of Christ. He was the best of people.
In a world gone mad. In a world self obsessed. In a world where words like, “Honor and Integrity” seem to have no value. Thank God there was a Dan Rooney.
Today, as we lay him to rest, he is surrounded by a few good people; “Steelers Nation”.