Legendary Steelers head coach Chuck Noll died Friday night at the age of 82.
For most of their first 40 years, the Steelers were hot garbage. Pittsburgh was where Bobby Layne was traded causing him to inflict his infamous curse. That changed in 1969. The Steelers hired Chuck Noll as their new head coach, and his first draft pick was a small-school defensive tackle named Joe Greene. The Steelers, and the city of Pittsburgh, never looked back.
While many players share credit for the team’s dominance in the 1970s, to man they will defer to the architect that built them. Noll instilled discipline, brought winning habits, and gave the team an identity the city could be proud of. The ferocious 70s Steelers won four Super Bowls in six years, a feat that has never been repeated and likely never will again.
His winning ways brought the Steelers into relevance and made Pittsburgh a football town. There is no one, short of Art Rooney himself, who had a greater impact on professional football here.
Noll may not be remembered league-wide for the coach that he was, but that’s okay. He’s Pittsburgh’s treasure; our legend. The man who put our greatest franchise on the map will be remembered as such. He was the best organizer and motivator the city of Pittsburgh has ever had. He was the ultimate coach at the time and place where he was needed. Art Rooney gave us football, and Chuck Noll made it our favorite sport.
So rest in peace, Chuck. You were the best we’ll ever have.