If you’d like to gain further insight into how the Pittsburgh Steelers built a dynasty that won four Super Bowls in six years in the 1970s, tune in to ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown before the Steelers-Giants game to watch ‘The Dynasty Builder,’ which highlights the story of late Steelers scout and personnel man Bill Nunn.
Last month Nunn was selected as a Contributor Finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.
The Bill Nunn Story
‘The Dynasty Builder,’ by ESPN contributor and veteran NFL reporter Kimberly A. Martin, features interviews with Steelers Hall of Famers Joe Greene, Mel Blount, John Stallworth and soon-to-be-inducted Donnie Shell. It also includes interviews with Steelers team president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin.
The segment highlights how Nunn served as a bridge between the Steelers and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As noted by Steelers.com, the team had 24 HBCU players between 1969-74, more than any other team in the league. Those players included Blount and Shell (who hailed from Southern University and South Carolina State, respectively), as well as draft picks like defensive end L.C. Greenwood (Arkansas Pine Bluff, 1969), wide receiver Frank Lewis (Grambling State, 1971), defensive tackle Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern, 1971) and quarterback Joe Gilliam (Tennessee State, 1972), plus many others.
“Maybe four Super Bowls is not a part of my time in the NFL had it not been for Bill Nunn,” says John Stallworth, who was selected by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 1974 NFL Draft out of Alabama A&M. Stallworth now has a minority ownership stake in the team.
According to Steelers.com, Tomlin maintained a close relationship with Dunn until he died in 2016, engaging in long conversations with the longtime personnel man and listening to his draft stories.
“My first day on the job when I met Bill Nunn, he walks up to me and says ‘I know you,’” said Tomlin. “Your dad was on my All-American team in ’67. That shows you the impact of Bill Nunn, not only in terms of scouting, but creating a mechanism of recognition for these players. They knew they were on the radar and they would have an opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
The Bill Nunn Draft Room at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex
It’s fitting then that the Steelers have honored Bill Nunn by putting his name on their draft room at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
“We were trying to think of an appropriate way to honor Bill and keep him before us every day,” said Colbert. “It’s a daily reminder for myself and it’s a daily reminder for our scouts. When you enter in this room remember the people who built this room, who built this organization. Let’s try to emulate what they did. Once he was gone, we were like ‘Wow, we were in the midst of a great man.’”
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