When Fox Sports’ Pam Oliver interviewed Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings immediately following the team’s big win in Super Bowl XLV, one of the first comments he made was “to God be the glory!”
Now, contrast Jennings’ comment to that of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney during the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy right after his team had won the 2009 Super Bowl. The first thing Rooney uttered when he was handed the Lombardi Trophy was “I would like to thank President Barack Obama.”
Although it is not uncommon for a professional football player to thank or glorify God after winning a game, it is most unprecedented for an owner of a professional football team to spit his personal politics in the face of fans to thank the President of the United States for pretending to be a fan of his team.
Unfortunately Rooney was not alone in injecting personal politics into Steelers football. After their 2009 AFC Championship Game win over the Baltimore Ravens, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers coaching staff asked Rooney to give the game ball to Obama.
So why would the coaching staff and owner of one of the NFL’s most popular and successful football franchises risk alienating fans and Republicans to heap thanks and attention upon a Democrat politician who had absolutely nothing to do with their team’s victories?
Obviously, they have nothing but contempt for the political leanings of their conservative and Republican fan base and don’t care whether or not they offend them. As a fan who has loved the Steelers since Bobby Layne, John Henry Johnson, and Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, the coaching staff’s gift to their Ruler was a knife in my back, and Rooney’s congratulatory comment cut me to the quick.
Like the pain felt by jilted lover who sees his girlfriend on the arm of another, the sting of humiliation and rejection from 2009 resurfaced during last night’s Super Bowl, and it didn’t go away until Jennings exclaimed, “To God be the glory!”
Even though my enthusiasm for the Pittsburg Steelers has now waned, I hope for their sake that Rooney and the coaching staff will publicly apologize for disrespecting Steeler fans and debasing the sport.
In all honesty, the right team won last night’s Super Bowl, for only the NFL’s greatest franchise could right the ship and put the attention back where it belongs.
To God be the glory, and to Greg Jennings, amen.
I am not a Packers’ fan … I am not a football fan …
For more on the story, see Steelers Owner Thanks Obama for Super Bowl Victory and Video of Super Bowl 43 Vince Lombardi Trophy Presentation, Rooney thanks the Ruler at the 2:20 mark.