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Art Rooney II Dismisses Steelers Failing NFLPA Survey Grade, Promises Facility Upgrades



Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II
Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II during the 2024 NFL owners meetings on March 26, 2024 in Orlando, Fla. -- Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

ORLANDO, Fla., — Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II brushed aside concerns about a negative rating in the NFLPA’s annual player facilities survey, but did say the team is committing to improving its facilities.

The Steelers ranked 28th in the NFLPA team and facilities report card, as voted on by the players, the union announced in February.. The team dropped from 22nd in the initial rankings to 28th this past year.

The Steelers got high marks for head coach Mike Tomlin, but received very low grades in for the club’s facilities, family amenities, travel and ownership. The Steelers players rated Tomlin as the fifth-best head coach in the NFL, but he was the only above-average ranking the Steelers received. 

Pittsburgh finished 16th in food/cafeteria, 20th in strength coaches (but have since replaced head strength and conditioning coach Marcel Pastoor). Every other rating came in the bottom 10 of the league, as the Steelers players especially disliked the locker room (30th), the team’s nutritionist and dietician (30th), team travel (28th), training staff (28th), training room (29th) and treatment of families.

The survey revealed that Steelers are one of four teams that does not provide a family room or daycare support for players’ children during game days. 

“They don’t offer what is normal with other teams,” NFLPA president JC Tretter said during the 2024 NFL Combine.

Rooney was dismissive of the survey itself, but said the Steelers do take feedback directly from their players.

“We prefer to get our feedback directly from the players,” he said. “I’m not even sure where that (survey) comes from. It doesn’t get presented to us. It gets presented to the media. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a media opportunity for the players’ association as opposed to a serious effort a constructive criticism. But having said that, we look at improving our facilities every year and will continue to do that.”

The Steelers are working on proposals for the renovation of Acrisure Stadium, Rooney said earlier this offseason. The club’s lease with the stadium expires after the 2030 season, and an extension of that lease will likely come with a request for public money for renovations, some of which could go to more areas for players and their families in the building.

The Steelers also have a long-term lease at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side that they share with the Pitt Panthers. Many of the complaints noted in the NFLPA survey were in regard to the lack of quality of amenities, and the Steelers lack the room to expand on the South Side that would be needed to meet all of the player requests.