Fifty-one years after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and 27 years after his death, Art Rooney is being honored again. The Steelers founder is the namesake of a new league-wide award recognizing outstanding on-field sportsmanship.
The inaugural Art Rooney Award, for which Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is a finalist, will be presented during the "NFL Honors" show on Jan. 31, the night before Super Bowl XLIX. The winner, which is determined by a vote of players, will receive $25,000 to be donated to a charity of his choice.
“The Art Rooney Award is a special tribute to my father, who always believed in sportsmanship and fairness to everyone,” Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement. “This award is one our entire family will be proud to see, and we are grateful the NFL made this choice.”
In addition to Polamalu, the other finalists are Carolina LB Thomas David, Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota LB Chad Greenway, Detroit WR Calvin Johnson, New England WR Matthew Slater, Kansas City QB Alex Smith and Denver DE DeMarcus Ware.
Since 1988, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association has presented "The Chief Award" to a Steelers player who best exemplifies a spirit of cooperation with the media.
“I think my grandfather would be a little uncomfortable with the idea of an award being named for him,” said Steelers president Art Rooney II. “But I think he would appreciate that it is an award recognizing sportsmanship in the game of football, and that it honors a player who displays respect for the game and respect for the other players of the game."
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