- Heinz field offices, The City of Pittsburgh, Steelers Nation, The Post Gazette, & The Tribune Review
- United States of America
Charles Henry "Chuck" Noll [January 5, 1932 - June 13, 2014] is a former professional American football player and coach, and a member of the Sid Gillman coaching tree. He served most notably as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League from 1969 to 1991.
Noll coaching the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl IX (1975), Super Bowl X (1976), Super Bowl XIII (1979), and Super Bowl XIV (1980), has more Super Bowl wins than any other head coach in NFL history, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Noll was never a coach who sought a lot of media attention, and his 1970s teams were so talented that his contributions as head coach (and architect of the team) often were overlooked.
Noll was well-known to coach players on basic fundamentals in practice, such as the three-point stance, that players were already expected to know. For instance, Andy Russell, already a Pro Bowl linebacker before Noll arrived and one of the few players Noll kept after purging the roster his first year, was told by Noll that he didn't have his feet positioned right. Russell went on to become a key member for the first two Super Bowl teams and started the linebacker tradition that continues today in Pittsburgh as a result of Noll's attention to detail. His coaching style earned him the nickname of The Emperor Chaz by sports announcer Myron Cope.
The key to Noll's coaching success during this unprecedented run was the Steelers' skill in selecting outstanding players in the NFL college player draft. Noll's first round one pick was Joe Greene, During the next few years, the Steelers drafted quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and running back Franco Harris. Noll and the Steelers achieved a level of drafting success never seen before or since, when they selected four future Hall of Fame players with their first five picks: wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, middle linebacker Jack Lambert, and center Mike Webster. To this day, no other draft by any team has included more than two future Hall of Famers, including the Steelers themselves in 1970 with quarterback Terry Bradshaw and cornerback Mel Blount.
The hallmark of the team during the 1970s was a stifling defense known as the Steel Curtain, loaded with All-Pros. The starting eleven linemen L. C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes (later Steve Furness), Dwight White, linebackers Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell (later Loren Toews), defensive backs Mel Blount, J.T. Thomas, and safeties Glen Edwards (later Donnie Shell) and Mike Wagner had a collective level of talent unseen before in the NFL. The teams that won Super Bowls IX and X used a run-oriented offense, primarily featuring Franco Harris and blocking back Rocky Bleier. Over the next few years, Terry Bradshaw matured into an outstanding passer, and the teams that won Super Bowls XIII and XIV fully utilized the receiving tandem of Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.
In 1989, Noll finally achieved some recognition as NFL Coach of the Year, when he guided the Steelers into the second round of the playoffs. The team was not especially talented, and lost its first two regular season games by scores of 51–0 and 41–10. However, Noll did a remarkable job in keeping the team focused and steadily improving its play, as they made the playoffs and played competitively in two playoff games.
Noll's legacy included providing opportunities for African Americans. Under Noll, Joe Gilliam became the league's first African American starting quarterback, (Gilliam started ahead of Terry Bradshaw briefly during the 1974 season). In 1975, Franco Harris became the first African American to win the Super Bowl MVP award. During the 1980s, Tony Dungy (who briefly played under Noll in the late 1970s) got his start as an NFL assistant coach, initially as the Steelers' Defensive Backs Coach and later the first African-American Coordinator in the NFL. Noll strongly promoted Dungy as a well-qualified head coaching candidate, but it did not happen with the Steelers when Noll retired after the 1991 season. However, Dungy did become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later became the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl (XLI) with the Indianapolis Colts.
A Collection of Chuck Noll Quotes:
We, the undersigned, request the City of Pittsburgh to erect a statue of Chuck Noll outside of Heinz Field, and request a special pre-Steeler game ceremony and dedication to the same.
The ERECT A CHUCK NOLL STATUE AT HEINZ FIELD PETITION petition to Heinz field offices, The City of Pittsburgh, Steelers Nation, The Post Gazette, & The Tribune Review was written by Tina Nativio and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.