From the Carbolic Smoke Ball Archives: April 24, 1936


“He's a play maker.” – Art Rooney, Sr., Team Owner

NEW YORK -- Bill Shakespeare, a running back from Notre Dame, was made the first No. 1 draft pick in Steelers’ history today. He accepted a black-and-gold striped football jersey from NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, and posed for photographers with Mr. Rooney at Madison Square Garden.

Shakespeare was the third player picked overall. “He has an unusual running style,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph sports reporter Giacomo Prisuta said. “He’s light on his left foot, and then he accents the right foot. It’s sort of a da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM. I’ve never seen an iambic runner before."

Shakespeare was not as highly ranked by BLESTO scouting services as Francis Bacon, a running back out of Texas A&M. But the Steelers liked what they saw. “We compared them side by side, and we thought Shakespeare was the true original. Our hopes are high for the upcoming season.”

Editor’s note: Mr. Shakespeare never made the team, and the Steelers continued their losing ways until the 1970’s. Shakespeare went on to a successful career as a poet. He lived in England until his death in Strathmore-on-Avon in 1965.