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Jim Trotter on the significance of Bill Nunn's induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Legendary Steelers "super scout" Bill Nunn was nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 on Feb. 6. It's an honor that's way overdue. Jim Trotter of the NFL Network has lobbied for Nunn to make the Hall of Fame for a long time and really was one of the main figures in leading the charge for Nunn to get in. Others have pushed for Nunn to be enshrined in Canton too, but Trotter has been at the forefront of it all.

Trotter has been a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee since 2007 and currently is president of the Pro Football Writers of America. Trotter wrote a great article on July 24 of last year on why Nunn deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. About a month later on Aug. 25, Nunn was selected as the Contributor Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. Trotter got the story out on Nunn to people who didn't know of him and the significance he had in opening the doors for players at Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the NFL, along with architecting the Steelers' dynasty in the 1970s.

Recently, Trotter on the NFL Network spoke on the importance of Nunn's induction to the Hall of Fame.

"There would be no Steelers' dynasty of the 1970s without Bill Nunn," Trotter said. "He was a sports columnist with the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the more influential Black newspapers, and while there every year he would put together a Black College All-American team, and if you recall teams were not scouting Black colleges thoroughly at that time, so many teams would use Bill Nunn's All-American team as sort of their blueprint for signing players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

"Well, Bill challenged the Steelers after they did not sign many players and didn't show up at his All-American banquet in Pittsburgh. So, Dan Rooney offered him a job with the Steelers and Bill Nunn became the conduit to talent from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Among the players who came in during that time -- John Stallworth (Alabama A&M), Mel Blount (Southern), Donnie Shell (South Carolina State), as well as three-fourths of that defensive line which is considered one of the best in football. So, he deserves this place. Also, Bill Nunn now becomes the first Black to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor, and I can't think of anyone who is more deserving."

Nunn retired from his full-time scouting position in 1987 but he still helped the Steelers as a part-time scout up until his passing in 2014 at the age of 89. In total, Nunn played a role in all six of the Steelers' Super Bowl titles.

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