sitting out the playoffs with an 8-8 season, didn't have the luck of the Irish this season. But perhaps Dan Rooney, the team's patriarch, carried a lucky shamrock back from Ireland after serving three years as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Mr. Rooney, who resigned his post in December, was greeted in Washington, D.C., Wednesday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who praised his service. He was the first U.S. ambassador to visit all 32 counties in Ireland, north and south. It so happens that the National Football League has 32 teams -- which might be taken as a good omen for the return of the chairman and next season's prospects. At this stage, the fans may be desperate enough to seize upon anything.
A reminder of the Steelers' glory days, so recent yet so far away, came Friday with the news that Jerome Bettis, a not-to-be-denied running back, and Kevin Greene, a formidable linebacker/defensive end, were named among 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be picked Feb. 2, a day before the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Big enough to be called "The Bus" with a destination often in the end zone, Jerome Bettis earned a permanent parking spot in the hearts of the fans. He had 10 seasons for the Steelers, retiring in 2006. He ran for more than 1,000 yards in eight seasons on the way to becoming the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history. This is the third straight year the Bus has been a Hall of Fame finalist -- and all of Pittsburgh will be hoping that three's a charm.
Living in Pittsburgh is lucky for a lot of people -- and that includes renters. According to a story by the Post-Gazette's Tim Grant, the city remains a bargain for rental property. The average cost of an apartment in Pittsburgh is $838 a month, compared with $2,985 a month in New York, $1,970 in San Francisco and $1,045 in Chicago. Luckier still, Pittsburghers get a nicer apartment -- bigger and better situated in finer neighborhoods -- for their rental dollars. All this and the presence of professional sports teams -- the Steelers, the Pirates and (hurrah for their return) the Penguins, who surely just need a few breaks to make this the City of Champions again.