Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Game day will never be the same

Steelers fans line up at Heinz Field to pay final respects to Dan Rooney

- By Gene Collier

So Pittsburgh’s week began without Dan Rooney, a surreal vortex in its storied history where the inevitable and the unthinkabl­e somehow become the same, and a lot of people turned up at Heinz Field doing their absolute best to pretend it was just another static Monday.

Of course, it wasn’t, as the loss was still palpable, but the city responded exactly as you’d expect, bulling its neck to do the things we do, say the things we say, feel the things we feel while pondering a pretty dreary question: With whom or with what do you replace the irreplacea­ble?

“I don’t know, the only thing, I guess, is you take what he gave us and you try to give it to someone else,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, standing about a manageable third down from the roses-draped casket of his boss, mentor, friend, the icon down the hall he never took for granted. “That’s what he’d want.”

What most seemed to want in and around the stadium Monday, four days after the Steelers president died at age 84, was that unachievab­le normalcy, which I guess is why the nice lady staffing one of the metal detectors at Gate B kept saying, “Thanks, enjoy yourself.”

Uh, probably not, but I know what you mean.

The line to view Mr. Rooney’s closed casket began forming about 1 p.m. and by the time the public viewing ended around 7,

 ?? Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette ?? Janet, 53, and James Beitler, 52, of North Versailles, mourn the passing of Dan Rooney as they leave his public viewing Monday at Heinz Field on the North Shore. Mrs. Beitler describes herself as a Steelers fan, “Born and raised, carried the tradition...
Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette Janet, 53, and James Beitler, 52, of North Versailles, mourn the passing of Dan Rooney as they leave his public viewing Monday at Heinz Field on the North Shore. Mrs. Beitler describes herself as a Steelers fan, “Born and raised, carried the tradition...

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