Swann was a member of all four Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl championship teams and the MVP of Super Bowl X in 1976. His talents have been utilized on various Wide World of Sports segments, horse racing, halftime of ABC's NFL Monday Night Football and other diverse events. He was the expert commentator on ABC's coverage of the United States Football League in 1983-85. Swann also provided commentary for the bobsled competition on ABCs' coverage of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and for weightlifting during ABC's record-breaking coverage of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Swann was the Steelers' first-round draft choice in 1974 following his graduation from the University of Southern California, where he received a degree in public relations and was a unanimous All-America choice in his senior year.
Swann has been the recipient of several honors and awards, both on and off the field. He was named to both the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame and the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame in 1993. He was named the Best Athlete of All-Time in San Mateo County, California, in 1993. He was named one of ten outstanding black graduates by the University of Southern California Eubonics Society and was honored with the 1984 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the San Antonio Chapter of the Special Olympics.
Swann was the Chairman of the United States President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, appointed to the position by President George W. Bush. He served as Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from June 20, 2002, to July 30, 2005. This started his current career in politics.
In 2010, Swann became a part of the ownership team for Pittsburgh's AFL expansion franchise, which began playing in the spring of 2011. Named the Pittsburgh Power, the team shares the new Consol Energy Center with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Swann has said that, despite his football experience, he doesn′t interfere in the day-to-day coaching, although he will occasionally give some advice.
Swann was named the athletic director at the University of Southern California in 2016.
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