Scott Campbell, Steelers Quarterback, 1984-1986
First, can you let readers know about your career at Brownstone -how you got started in this post-NFL venture?
I started in the real estate business full time in 1993 after my football career ended. I went to work for my father in law as a sales person for Brownstone Real Estate Company in Hershey, PA and became his partner in the development business. While we developed several residential communities I worked as a sales person for 14 years. In 2007 my brother in law and I took over full control of Brownstone after my father in law’s retirement. We still run Brownstone today where we enjoy a number one position for market share in our area. We also have three large developments in various stages of completion at this time.
What NFL experiences and lessons do you find have helped you in this career and why?
First of all, my severance pay from the NFL helped me in becoming a partner in the development business. I guess that is what it is for. Also, my time playing NFL and college football as a quarterback gave me invaluable experience in terms of leadership, stress management, preparation, work ethic, getting along with teammates, etc. Being a leader of a company is not much different than being a leader of a football team.
You were drafted by the Steelers in the 7th round in ’84. Certainly no guarantee to make the team, what about you and your play caught the coaches’ eyes and helped you secure a roster spot, do you think?
Well the biggest thing that happened that opened up the door for me to make the 1984 team my rookie year was that Terry Bradshaw retired shortly after the draft. This took the Steelers down to three quarterbacks on the roster instead of four. I think that was pretty significant to understate things a bit. Apart from that I had to fight like crazy each of my seven NFL years to make the roster in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. I always had to overcome questions about my size (6 foot).
I carried a bit of a chip on my shoulder because of that and I think that helped me mentally. I think the coaches could see I was confident and I could pick up the offense rather quickly. I credit this to the fact that I was raised by a coach who taught me football since I was very young and because I played in an open, pro-style offense at Purdue.
How competitive was the quarterback position then with Malone, Brister and Woodley there along with you a vying for playing time? Were they helpful in your development as a rookie?
Brister came during my third year in Pittsburgh after an offseason where I had back surgery. I did not play with him very long, but spent two seasons with Malone and Woodley. I like them both, but they were very different from each other. Malone set a good example for preparation as a quarterback and what is necessary to get yourself ready to play. Woodley impressed me with his relaxed and confident manner. I think I could take things from both of them. I think it was more competitive between those two as veterans than it was with me.
What veterans helped mentor you as a rookie – both on and off the field – and how did they do so? Any examples?
Although as a rookie I was scared to death of Jack Lambert, all of the veterans in Pittsburgh were helpful, really good guys. They were always respectful of me, even as a rookie and made me feel at home.
There were several guys from the Super Bowl era of the 70s still on the roster that I really looked up to. Donnie Shell, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster are the players that stick out to me. I learned what is was to be a pro by watching them. In rookie mini-camp at Three Rivers Stadium we were watching this guy running steps on the upper deck of the stadium commenting how hard he was working. One of the coaches came up to us and told us that was Mike Webster. That made an impression on me because of how hard he was working in the off season.
Tony Dungy was our defensive coordinator and while he was not my position coach I admired him immensely. The way he treated players and his calmness stood out to me.
Being a somewhat local guy (born in Hershey), how did that affect you as a player, and how did you as a player “on the bubble” deal with the pressure of making the team?
Being from Pennsylvania didn’t really affect me other than making me really proud of being part of the Steelers organization and part of the city of Pittsburgh. The interesting thing about “being on the bubble” was that my first couple of years in the NFL I was too young, stupid, and naïve to know I was even on the bubble, which of course I was. The older I got the more I realized how hard it is to make an NFL team and the more pressure I felt.
You have to block out the negative and you need a little luck along the way for things to fall in place for you. Sometimes, a decision is made ahead of time and there is nothing you can do about it. My last preseason game for Atlanta I was 7-10 with a touchdown and played well. I also got cut a few days later. In Pittsburgh I just won a fan vote in the paper for the starting quarterback job. I got cut the next week. Such is life n the NFL.
After a strong ’84 season, the team struggled the following two seasons. How did Coach Noll and the players deal with those struggles both on and off the field?
Making the playoffs and getting to the AFC Championship game in 1984 was very exciting for me as a rookie. I didn’t play much at all (five appearances), but did contribute to a touchdown drive against Cleveland late in the season when I had to come in the game because of injury. I played one series, completed some passes and we scored a touchdown. Malone came back in after that, but I was proud to contribute in a tight, divisional game against our rival in the heat of a playoff run.
We fell short in 1985 and did not make the playoffs, which is never a good thing in Pittsburgh. I also hurt my knee in the last regular season game and underwent back surgery in the offseason. Players and coaches were not happy with our results that year.
After three years in Pittsburgh you ended up on Atlanta in 1986. Was the move frustrating or a positive one for you and what were the major diff wended you found between the two franchises?
I was released after the 3rd game of the 1986 season by the Steelers and it was a surprise to me. It really caught me off guard. Fortunately, Atlanta picked me up with five games to go in the season and I played for the Falcons through the 1990 season. I was the starting quarterback for the Falcons for the majority of the 1987 season. While I enjoyed my time in Atlanta and was very thankful for a job in the NFL it did not compare to being a Steeler. The special feeling you get being part of the Steeler football family was hard to beat. There is no football city in the USA like Pittsburgh, either. I really missed it.
What part did humor play on those Noll teams in terms of keeping players loose? What were some of the funnier moments you remember and who were some of the funniest players on the team? Any examples?
One of the funniest things I can remember about my time in Pittsburgh was at my expense. We were playing a preseason game in Minnesota and I threw a swing pass that was tipped and then intercepted by a very tall defensive end at about mid-field. He had a head start, but I caught him at about the five-ten yard line. Instead of going for his legs I dove and tried to jump on his back. He proceeded to stiff arm my chest and I totally whiffed on the tackle to the fans delight. As I was walking of the field they were replaying the play on the Jumbotron and the fans were laughing like crazy. As I got to the sideline I saw Chuck Noll watching the replay and laughing his head off as well.
The other funny moment for me was against the Redskins at home my second year in the league in 1985. Woodley was starting at the time because Malone got hurt the week before and was not dressed for the game. They gave Woodley 100% of the practice plays that week (I got none) to get him ready to play. When we went out for warm-ups I noticed that Woodley wasn’t out there and I was the only quarterback on the field. He was in the locker room sick as a dog. Chuck Noll comes up to me and very matter-of-factly states, “I guess you’re starting”. This was my first NFL start. I hadn’t practiced one offensive play all week. Such is life in the NFL.
Any last thoughts for readers?
Playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers was a dream come true for me and is still something in which I am very proud. I will always remember my time in Pittsburgh fondly.