In the NFL today, tenure barely exists. A player’s contract? Not worth the paper they’re printed on. Head coach hire? There’s no longer a three year grace period. It makes what Kevin Colbert done, of course, a reflection of organizational philosophy that begins with ownership, all the more impressive.
Maybe this is common knowledge and I’m the last to get the memo but what Peter King included in his Monday Morning article stuck out to me. He made a list of the four longest tenured GMs in the NFL, referencing the Atlanta Falcons’ Thomas Dimitroff. DImitroff came in 4th on the list. At the top? Colbert, hired more than 18 years ago.
Per King, the top four.
Kevin Colbert: 18 years, 6 months
Mickey Loomis: 16 years, 3 months
Ozzie Newsome: 15 years, 9 months
Thomas Dimitroff: 10 years, 7 months
Newsome is stepping down after this season, by the way, meaning only Colbert and Loomis will have run their teams for at least 15 years.
That’s created continuity between GM and Mike Tomlin, the latter who has been here for now more than a decade. They work in-sync, know what the other wants to do, and has created stability that’s rare in a league constantly churning through a new front office.
Matthew Marczi touched on that yesterday, referring to Colbert pointing out the Steelers traditions as a guide in decision-making. But he’s set some of those marks himself and 20 years from now, fans will look back at him as one of the key influences on the franchise.
Colbert may have his fair share of missteps, and it’s more than acceptable to point those out, but as is true for most aspects of the Steelers organizations, there’s probably 25 other franchises that would kill to have what the Steelers got.