Art Rooney - Loved and Admired by All From the Official National Football League Encyclopedia, By Don R. Smith - 1989 Edition - Gallery Books Born in Coulterville, Pennsylvania USA on Jan. 17, 1901 Elected to the America's Football Hall of Fame in 1964 In 1933, Art Rooney paid $2,500 for the Pittsburgh Pirates NFL franchise. His first Pirates teams - the club name was changed to Steelers in 1941 - were not much better than the semi-pro teams he once sponsored before he became involved with the NFL. The closest the Steelers came to a championship in their first 40 years was a tie for the Eastern Division title in 1947 (they lost a playoff game), and a close second-place finish in 1963. In 1938, Rooney signed Byron (Whizzer) White, the Colorado All-American, to a then-record $15,000 contract. Such devotion to pro football was demonstrated time and again by Rooney, who proved to be one of NFL's guiding lights during the depression years of the 1930s.