When Kevin Colbert took over the general manager role for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2000 (or what was the equivalent title at the time), it had been a couple of decades since they last won a championship. They had only made it to the Super Bowl once since then, and they were looking up at the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl wins column.
He leaves having helped put together rosters that reached the Super Bowl three more times, and won it twice. The New England Patriots have since tied them in total Super Bowl victories, but they were the first to claim six in 2008—as they were the first to claim three, and then four, at the end of the 1970s.
With Colbert stepping down from the general manager role following this draft, he has been asked to reflect upon his legacy, and his answer certainly was not surprising. Speaking with Missi Matthews, he contextualized his job in the form of trophies.
“I think the only thing I would reflect on is, we have as many Super Bowls as any other franchise in the National Football League, and having been part of adding to that room, that’s satisfying, to a certain extent”, he told the team’s website.
The Steelers claimed Super Bowl victories during the 2005 and 2008 seasons, and were able to reach the championship game for a third time in 2010, though they fell short of victory. Since then, their postseason record has been dramatically spottier, unfortunately. They have not won a game in the past five years, and they only reached the AFC Championship Game once. Colbert is certainly not unaware of this, and of the potential his teams failed to reach.
“You certainly would have liked to have more than”, he said, “but for the most part, there is some satisfaction in knowing that our group has added to that room, and I think, moving forward, they’ll continue to add to it”.
His reference to ‘they’, of course, is referring partly to his successor in the general manager chair, which is yet to be determined. The Steelers have already interviewed 16 people for the job, including two in-house candidates, but they won’t conduct a final round of interviews and make a decision until after this weekend’s draft.
How close is this roster to competing for a title? It’s hard for many people to get optimistic, especially with the glaring questions at quarterback. Many would likely even argue that drafting a quarterback in the first round this year would set them farther back from claiming their next title if they believe there isn’t a franchise player in this class. But this final draft will be a cornerstone in Colbert’s legacy in defining how he leaves the team.