A Super Bowl of Faith as Both Steelers and Cardinal Owners Are Deeply Committed Christians



By John-Henry Westen

TAMPA, January 30, 2009 ( - Super Bowl XLIII has a tie in to the pro-life movement as one of the members of the Rooney family, which owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, is heavily involved in pro-life activism through the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor Michigan.  Brian Rooney, the Law Center’s Director of Communications and Development, is also a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers Board of Directors.

Brian Rooney commented on Art Rooney Sr., the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers saying: "My grandfather, Art Rooney, went to church service everyday - no matter where he was or how important any signal game may be.  He was always interacting with the players, coaches, and everyone else in the organization. His faith was infectious and still sets the tone for the team today.  Before every game we have a family Mass.  In fact, when I get to Tampa on Saturday, the first place I will be is the Saturday family Mass before the big game."

Rooney went on to say, "I remember as a young boy, after every game - no matter how big - the team would come into the locker room, take a knee, and recite the Lord’s Prayer.  Only after the prayer would Coach Chuck Noll, another man of great Christian faith, say his post game comments. 

“Tony Dungy was a Steelers player and assistant coach then, and Noll’s quiet faith and leadership style shaped Coach Dungy’s.  It’s no accident that Coach Mike Tomlin, a protégé of Coach Dungy’s, leads the team in line with how Noll and Dungy led.  This has always been the Steelers’ way, the Rooney way, which is really founded upon the rock of our Christian faith.  No matter who wins the game on Sunday, the Bidwells, Rooneys, and many players on both sides will give thanks to God after, and this says more about our country then the game itself."

And while their respective teams will be in a fierce battle on the field at Raymond James Stadium this Sunday, the owners of the Arizona Cardinals have been friends with the Rooney family since the founding of the NFL, and are also deeply committed Christians.

Curt Warner, the quarterback of the Cardinals is known for starting every interview by thanking God.  Troy Polamalu, the long-haired free safety for the Steelers said at Super Bowl media day, "I feel like faith is the foundation of everything I do on the field and off.  It determines how you live your life when you love God."

Steelers Defensive end Aaron Smith said he relies on his faith and prayers to God, along with a men’s ministry book, "The Sampson Syndrome," as his 5-year-old son Elijah battles leukemia.  "My prayers are thanking the Lord for every minute I get to raise him," Smith said.  Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said, "First and foremost, I want people to know who I am and what the most important thing is in my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Football is what we do; faith is who we are all the time."

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