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Steelers owner calls MNF's steamy opener "disgraceful"

NEW YORK (AP) _ Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney called a steamy segment for the intro to Monday Night Football''disgraceful'' and criticized ABC for ``miserable'' judgment.

The longtime owner, writing in an op-ed piece in Friday's New York Times, is the latest to weigh in on the skit that aired before Monday night's Dallas-Philadelphia game.

The opening was out of place and should not have been part of the broadcast,'' Rooney wrote in the article titledOut of Bounds.'' ``I thought it was disgraceful.''

ABC's intro showed actress Nicolette Sheridan of the hit show ``Desperate Housewives'' wearing only a towel and provocatively asking Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens to skip the game for her as the two stood alone in a locker room. She drops the towel and jumps into Owens' arms.

``Worst was that it used one of our players in uniform in the locker room _ who claimed that `the team's going to have to win without me.' That is not NFL football,'' said Rooney, whose family has owned the Steelers since 1933.

The segment generated complaints to ABC and the Federal Communications Commission, as well as to NFL teams.

At the Steelers offices (and at those of most other NFL teams), we were flooded with phone calls and e-mail messages protesting the video's salacious content,'' Rooney wrote.Many of those fans said they were watching with their children and did not expect to see such material.

``The league headquarters acknowledged that the fans who contacted us were correct. ABC's judgment was miserable.''

ABC, the Eagles and Owens apologized this week, with the team saying it wished the segment hadn't aired. The NFL called the intro ``inappropriate and unsuitable for our `Monday Night Football' audience.''

The Steelers, and the 31 other clubs that make up the league, are a team,'' Rooney said.We play as a team. This promotion simply did not belong in that context, and that's what sparked my reaction.''

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