Former Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert believes that former Steelers scout and team executive Art Rooney Jr. deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The second son of Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr. and younger brother of Dan Rooney, Art Rooney Jr. took over as the team’s personnel director in 1965 and oversaw, along with Dan Rooney and Chuck Noll, the Steelers transitioning into a team that deliberately build and developed players through the draft.
Rooney was the head of the scouting department that drafted nine Hall of Famers and was responsible for the signing of 11 players that ended up winning four Super Bowl titles.
Dan Rooney, who was the team’s general manager, head coach Chuck Noll and scout Bill Nunn are all already in the Hall of Fame for their contributions to those areas, and Colbert believes Art Rooney Jr’s accomplishments in that area are being overlooked.
“Art put together the greatest draft class in NFL history – that’s why he should be in the Hall of Fame like Bill Nunn,” Colbert said in a recent interview with Steelers Takeaways.
Rooney also did it on a shoestring budget, a process that eventually allowed Colbert to get his start in football.
“Art didn’t have a big staff when he put those 70’s teams together,” Colbert said. “He’d hire high school coaches as part-time scouts to fill in scouting duties – to grade film and things like that. The guys that did a good job, he’d recommend to Jack Butler who was with BLESTO at the time. My high school coach was Ron Hughes and he was the one that got me hooked up with BLESTO.”
Rooney is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2024 as a contributor, as is former Steelers head coach Buddy Parker.
Rooney was the Steelers’ personnel director until 1986, and has been listed as a vice president of the team since then, making him one of a handful of individuals connected to the team to own six Super Bowl rings. He was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor in 2018.