Ronald Reagan once said that you can accomplish anything as long as you don't care who gets the credit. Never has that quote been more apt than when referring to the value of the titular Mr. Colbert in the Pittsburgh Steelers last minute push to become the team of the decade...again.
Now some of you are thinking, "Why does he think that that snarky comedian, that isn't Jon Stewart, is responsible for the Steelers success?" Well to those people all I can say is please stop reading this article because you are a moron. Go back to watching that ugly Scottish lady sing on Youtube. That guy doesn't even pronounce his name properly. What is he, French? Col-Baire. Give me a break.
I am, of course referring to the underappreciated Director of Football Operations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mr. Kevin Colbert. This is the Gepetto of the current World Champs. He, along with his scout staff, are responsible for stringing together the best series of first round draft choices in recent memory. Take a look at his track record since he took the job:
2000, Plexico Burress, WR; 2001,Casey Hampton, NT; 2002, Kendall Simmons, G; 2003, Troy Polamalu, SS; 2004, Ben Roethlisberger, QB; 2005, Heath Miller, TE; 2006, Santonio Holmes, WR; 2007, Lawrence Timmons, LB; 2008, Rashard Mendenhall, RB
The jury is still out on Mendenhall, but look at the rest. Every single year, a winner, even Simmons was on his way prior to his injury and Diabetes.
There is something in common with each of these picks, besides the obvious success rate that is. They were all rated as the first or second best prospect at their position going into the draft. This means that for almost a decade, the Steelers have reloaded regardless of their draft position.
Colbert does whatever is necessary to draft for value rather than need. Whether it is standing pat for certain players early (Burress), grabbing a falling talent late (Miller and Mendenhall), or targeting a specific player and trading up (Polamalu and Holmes), the head of football operations for the Steelers has consistently succeeded where others fail.
It doesn't end with the draft, Colbert has consistently been able to find major talent in undrafted free agents (Dan Kreider, Willie Parker and James Harrison) and shows an innate ability to get contributing veteran cast-offs (Cedric Wilson, Justin Hartsig or Mewelde Moore). And he does all of it for a "small market" team.
The other aspect that is consistent is the media's desire to credit the Rooneys for all of the Steelers good fortune. Don't get me wrong, the Rooney's deserve a healthy portion of the accolades that they receive.
So until further notice, he and Scott Pioli are the executives of the decade. What if the Steelers should happen to repeat as Super Bowl champions? Well, that honor will be Kevin Colbert's alone. And that's pronounced Coal-Burt, thank you very much.