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Art Rooney’s Racetrack Triumph. The story of how Art Rooney, the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, acquired the funds to purchase the franchise has long been the subject of speculation. It was widely believed that he made his fortune by betting on horses at the racetrack, given his well-known passion for the sport of kings. This tale has since come under scrutiny with the NFLs stringent stance on gambling, but the evidence suggests that it holds some truth.
Rooney was born in Pittsburgh in 1901 and grew up in a family that had a strong love for horses and horse racing. He would often accompany his father to the racetrack, and it was there that he developed a keen eye for picking winners. By the time he was in his twenties, he had become an expert handicapper and was known for his astute betting skills.
It’s said that he honed his horse racing knowledge by reading racing forms and talking to other experienced bettors. He was known for being fearless when it came to making bets, even putting up large sums of money on a single race. This combination of knowledge, confidence, and daring earned him a reputation as one of the top horseplayers in the city.
Rooney’s success at the racetrack eventually allowed him to amass the funds needed to purchase the Pittsburgh Steelers, a struggling NFL franchise, in 1933. The team went on to become one of the most successful in NFL history, winning four Super Bowls and becoming a beloved institution in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Although Art Rooney never confirmed or denied the racetrack story himself, its’ widely accepted that his love of horses and his betting prowess played a significant role in his acquisition of the Steelers. Whether it’s fact or legend, one thing is for sure: the NFL wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions of Art Rooney and his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.