Chuck Noll, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dynasty of the 1970′s and winner of four Super Bowl titles, passed away last night at the age of 82. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Noll died of natural causes in the family home, and had been in bad health and suffering from Alzheimer’s.
It will be a sad day in Pittsburgh Steeler nation. Noll is beloved for his role in turning the franchise around, and rightly so. Before Chuck Noll was hired in 1969, Pittsburgh was arguably the worst franchise in the NFL in on-the-field results. Before Noll, Pittsburgh won 39.9% of games, and made only one playoff appearance (a division tiebreaker loss in 1947). Since Noll became coach, Pittsburgh has won 59.7% of games, made 26 playoff appearances, reached 8 Super Bowls, and won 6 of them.
For many of the Steelers fans around the country, they (or their parents) came of age as Steelers fans when Noll was the head coach. If you want to read a definitive profile on Noll, by another legend, check out Dr. Z from 1980, after Noll had won the fourth title.
. . .
The same question was put to Noll recently. He smiled. Again, the interpretation of history.
“A teacher,” he said. “A person who could adapt to a world of constant change. A person who could adapt to the situation. But most of all a teacher. Put down that I was a teacher.”
The teacher has moved on, but the lessons have remained for 45 years and counting.