Chuck Noll, 1932-2014
Of all the encomiums paid to Chuck Noll since his death Friday night, the one that surely would have pleased him most would be the praise for him as a teacher. For the former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest students of the game of football, became one of its greatest teachers.
Mr. Noll, being laid to rest on Tuesday, was 82. He suffered from back and heart problems and Alzheimer's disease.
Noll was the youngest coach in NFL history when he took over the Steelers in 1969. And fans remember his first season well — an opening win followed by 13 straight losses. But three seasons later, Noll led Pittsburgh to its first playoff game in nearly 40 years. By the end of January 1980, the Steelers had won four Super Bowls; Noll is the only coach to accomplish such a feat.
Noll wasn't a flashy fellow, “not a pizazz guy,” as former Steelers scouting head Art Rooney Jr. put it. No, all the flash and pizazz were channeled into getting the job done, stressing the fundamentals of the game as the foundation for success. That and Noll's philosophy of “whatever it takes” transformed “the same old Steelers” into the “Super Steelers.”
But friends and acquaintances remind that Noll did not live by football alone. He was nothing less than a renaissance man — a lover of fine cuisine and wine who studied French and was a pilot and a sailor.
“No man who wanted to be a great man ever was a great man,” some pundit offered years ago. Charles Henry Noll simply was.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.