The Pittsburgh Steelers just wrapped up their NFL Draft class of 2022, making seven selections, including two quarterbacks and two wide receivers, and a younger brother on top of it. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert just wrapped up their press conference.
It was the last press conference Colbert will give in that role. He is stepping down from the general manager role shortly; with the draft over, the Steelers will hold a final round of interviews for their next general manager, and will soon be hiring one.
While he continued to leave open the possibility of remaining in the organization as long as he can “help and not hinder”, however, there was a moment in the press conference where he couldn’t avoid the emotion of the moment.
After Tomlin launched into a “needs no endorsement from me” endorsement of Colbert’s 22-year resume for the Steelers, and Colbert responded in kind, the latter was asked about what it meant to be able to add to the Steelers’ Super Bowl trophy room. That’s when it seemed to hit him.
“I don’t want to say [that I left the organization better than where it was when I came in]. I’m proud that we’ve added to that room”, he said, at which point he paused to gather himself. For a moment, Tomlin put an arm on his back and let him know it was okay.
“There were four trophies when we got here, and you knew the task”, he slowly continued. “You think about DMR [Dan Rooney], and being able to add to that room means a ton. But it doesn’t mean it’s over. The next step, I mean, we’ve got to get more than, and we’ll never lose that. But it means a lot”.
When Colbert was first hired in 2000, the Steelers had not won a championship in decades, after becoming the first franchise to win both three and then four Super Bowls. With Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, drafted in 2004, they claimed ‘one for the thumb’ a year later, tying the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for the most titles.
Three years later, they made NFL history once again, becoming the first team to claim six Lombardis. It would be some time before the New England Patriots would finally tie them, and to this day, there remains no franchise with more in their Super Bowl display case.
Of course, the Steelers have not reached the Super Bowl since the 2010 season, and have not made it back to a conference finals since 2016. Indeed, that’s the last time they’ve even won a postseason game. But Colbert, and the organization, are sincerely hoping that they have left this roster with the foundational pieces that will allow his successor to claim Super Bowl number seven…and then some.