|Position:||Guard & linebacker|
|Born:||January 5, 1932|
|Died:||June 13, 2014 82) (aged|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school:||Benedictine (Cleveland, Ohio)|
|NFL Draft:||1953 / Round: 20 / Pick: 239|
|As a player:|
|As a coach:|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Head coaching record|
|Regular season:||193–148–1 (.566)|
|Player stats at PFR|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
Charles Henry Noll (January 5, 1932 – June 13, 2014) was an American professional football player and head coach. Regarded as one of the greatest head coaches of all time, his sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1969 to 1991. When Noll retired after 23 years, only three other head coaches in NFL history had longer tenures with one team.
After a seven-year playing career that included two NFL Championships as a member of his hometown Cleveland Browns and several years as an assistant coach with various teams, in 1969 Noll took the helm of the then moribund Steelers (which had played in only one post-season game in its previous 36 years, a 21–0 loss), and turned it into a perennial contender. As a head coach, Noll won four Super Bowls, four AFC titles and nine Central Division championships, compiled a 209–156–1 (.572) overall record, a 16–8 playoff record and had winning records in 15 of his final 20 seasons. His four Super Bowl victories rank second behind Bill Belichick for the most of any head coach in NFL history. His four Super Bowl wins are the most ever by a coach without a Super Bowl loss.
Between his playing and head coaching tenures, Noll won a total of six NFL Championships as well as one AFL Championship and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.
Noll built the team through astute drafting and meticulous tutoring. During his career, he was notable for the opportunities he gave African Americans, starting the first black quarterback in franchise history and hiring one of the first black assistant coaches in league history. He was often credited with maintaining the morale of the Western Pennsylvania region despite its steep economic decline by creating a team of champions in the image of its blue-collar fan base.
Noll was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of three siblings (by eight years) of William Noll (a butcher, frequently unable to work owing to Parkinson's disease) and Katherine Steigerwald Noll (who worked for a florist).The family lived in the house Noll's mother grew up in with her 12 siblings, near East 74th Street, in a neighborhood with a large African-American population, a fact that helps account for Noll's early championing of opportunity for African Americans in the NFL (both players from traditionally black colleges and later as coaches). On a local youth football team Noll played with Harold Owens, the nephew of Olympic star Jesse Owens.
Noll attended Benedictine High School. He began working in seventh grade and by the time he entered high school, he had saved enough for two-year's worth of the $150 tuition. Throughout high school he continued to work, making 55-cent an hour at Fisher Brothers meat market after school.Education was always important to him, so despite the schedule, he studied enough to graduate 28th in a class of 252.
He played running back and tackle on the high school football team, winning All-State honors.During his senior year, he was named to the All Catholic Universe Bulletin team by the Diocese of Cleveland newspaper.
Noll planned to attend Notre Dame, but during a practice before his freshman year he suffered an epileptic seizure on the field.Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy refused to take the risk of allowing Noll to play there and so Noll accepted a football scholarship to the University of Dayton. Noll graduated with a degree in secondary education. As a member of the Flyers, he was a lineman, linebacker and a co-captain, and acquired the nickname, the "Pope," for his "'infallible' grasp of the game."
Noll was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 20th round of the 1953 NFL Draft (239th overall). During his first year, the Browns lost to the Detroit Lions in the NFL championship. The next two years the Browns were NFL champions.
Although the undersized Noll was drafted as a linebacker,Coach Paul Brown used him as one of his "messenger guards" to send play calls to the quarterback (beginning with Otto Graham). Brown recalled that Noll soon "could have called the plays himself without any help from the bench. That's how smart he was." According to Art Rooney, Jr. (director of scouting for the Steelers before and during most of Noll's tenure), however, Noll felt demeaned by Brown's use of him in that way and "disliked the term 'messenger boy' so much that as coach of the Steelers he entrusted all the play calling to his quarterbacks."
Noll was paid only $5,000 per season with the Browns and so while there he acted as substitute teacher at Holy Name High Schooland sold insurance on the side. During that period Noll also attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at night. He told Dan Rooney that he decided against becoming a lawyer because "he didn't really like the constant confrontation and arguments that come with being a lawyer."
Instead, when Noll lost the starting guard position to John Wooten, he chose to retire at age 27 expecting to begin his coaching career at his alma mater. He was surprised, however, when he was not offered an open position on the University of Dayton coaching staff.He was offered a position by Sid Gillman on the staff of the Los Angeles Chargers, during its inaugural season.
Noll was an assistant coach for the American Football League's then Los Angeles and later San Diego Chargers from 1960 to 1965. He then became assistant to head coach Don Shula of the NFL Baltimore Colts from 1965 to 1968, when he was selected as the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach.
Noll is considered part of Sid Gillman's coaching tree. He later remembered Gillman as "one of the game's prime researchers and offensive specialists. In six years, I had more exposure to football than I normally would have received in 12 years."During Noll's six-year tenure with the Chargers, where he was defensive line coach, the defensive backfield coach and defensive coordinator, the team appeared in five AFL championship games. Gillman said that Noll "had a great way with players," specifically "If a guy didn't do the job expected, Chuck could climb on his back." Massive defensive tackle Ernie Ladd said that Noll was a "fiery guy" but also "the best teacher I ever played under." "He and I were always fighting, always squabbling, but he had a great way of teaching. I take my hat off to Chuck. He was one of the main reasons for our success." The defensive line under Noll became known as the "Fearsome Foursome," and during 1961 defensive end Earl Faison was named AFL rookie of the year.
During Noll's time at Chargers, Al Davis was also an assistant and scout. Davis would later become coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders, the principal AFC rival of the Steelers' in the 1970s.
With the Colts, Noll was defensive backfield coach and later defensive coordinator. Together with assistant coach Bill Arnsparger the Colts employed shifting alignments of rotating zone and maximum blitz defensive packages.In 1968, Noll's last season as defensive coordinator, the Baltimore Colts compiled a 13–1 record in the regular season and tied the NFL season record for fewest points allowed (144).
Shula was impressed by Noll's approach: "He explained how to do things and wrote up the technique. He was one of the first coaches I was around that wrote up in great detail all of the techniques used by players—for example, the backpedal and the defensive back's position on the receiver. He was like a classroom teacher."
The Colts won the NFL championship by routing the Cleveland Browns 34–0 in Cleveland, but were shocked by the upstart AFL champion New York Jets, 16–7, in Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The next day, Noll interviewed for the head coach position in Pittsburgh.
At age 37, Noll was named the 14th head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 27, 1969,after Penn State coach Joe Paterno turned down an offer for the position. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest head coach in the NFL. Steelers owner Art Rooney would later credit Don Shula as the person who recommended Noll as a head coach. Noll implemented a defensive system in Pittsburgh that became the legendary "Steel Curtain" defense. His coaching style earned him the nickname of The Emperor Chaz by sports announcer Myron Cope. Noll was the first head coach to win four Super Bowls(IX, X, XIII,XIV).
The key to Noll's coaching success during this run was the Steelers' skill in selecting outstanding players in the NFL college player draft. Noll's first round-one pick was Joe Greene, a defensive tackle from North Texas State, who went on to become a perennial All-Pro and anchor the defensive line. During the next few years, the Steelers drafted quarterback Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech) and running back Franco Harris (Penn State) as round one picks. In the 1974 draft, 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.
A meticulous coach, Noll was known during practice to dwell on fundamentals—such as the three-point stance—things that professional players were 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.As a result of Noll's attention to detail, 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.
Noll was a well-read man who valued education and expected likewise from his team, so he sought players who studied useful or practical subjects in college and had interests outside of football. "I didn't want to pick guys who just took wood shop or some other easy course they could breeze through to play football." he explained.
While most of his contemporaries, as well as current NFL head coaches, enforced strict curfew rules on its players, Noll was very lax on off-the-field behavior. This was shown at Super Bowl IX. While Noll's counterpart – Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant – strictly kept his team in their hotel rooms except for practice before the game, Noll told his team upon arriving in New Orleans to go out on Bourbon Street "and get the partying out of your system now."
The hallmark of the team during the 1970s was a stifling defense known as the Steel Curtain. Linemen L. C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, as well as Ernie Holmes and Dwight White, linebackers Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert 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.
Noll was notoriously shy and did not like the media or give many interviews. His 1970s teams were so talented that his contributions as head coach (and architect of the team) often were overlooked.
The first half of the 1980s would see the team continue their excellence (making the playoffs for three straight years from 1982 to 1984), even as they failed to reach the Super Bowl, but as the team, facing a spate of injuries and departures to their Super Bowl-winning teams by the decade's second half, began to skid and would see three losing seasons from the years 1985 to 1989. 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 went a combined 16–16 in his last two seasons at the helm of the Steelers.
Noll retired as Steelers head coach after the 1991 season with a record of 209–156–1, regular season and postseason combined. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
The last team he coached gave him a gift of a stationary bicycle, which he avidly used.
Noll maintained a residence in suburban Pittsburgh, however, he spent some time at his Florida home. His mobility was limited by chronic back problems. Noll held the ceremonial title of Administration Adviser in the Pittsburgh Steelers' front office but had no real role in the team's operations after his retirement. He spent about half the year in Pittsburgh with his wife Marianne. Their son, Chris, is a teacher in a private high school in Connecticut.
Noll died of natural causes in his suburban Pittsburgh condo on June 13, 2014, having suffered for years from Alzheimer's disease, a heart condition and back problems.Noll's funeral was held on June 17, 2014 at St. Paul's Cathedral in Pittsburgh.
Noll's legacy includes providing opportunities for African Americans. Under Noll, Joe Gilliam became the league's first African American starting quarterback just a few seasons after the AFL started Marlin Briscoe, and James Harris (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 he became the first African-American Coordinator in the NFL. Noll strongly promoted Dungy as a well-qualified head coaching candidate, but it did not happen for Dungy 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.
On August 2, 2007, the field at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania was dedicated and renamed Chuck Noll Field in honor of the former coach. For more than 40 years the Steelers have held their summer camp at St. Vincent College, as it was Noll's idea to take the team away from the distractions in the city to prepare for the season each year.
Chuck Noll was honored on October 7, 2007, at Heinz Field during the pre-game ceremonies.
On September 30, 2011, Pittsburgh honored Noll by naming a new street after him. Chuck Noll Way connects North Shore Drive to West General Robinson St. The street runs along Stage AE, on the North Shore of Pittsburgh.
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|PIT||1969||1||13||0||.071||4th in NFL Century||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1970||5||9||0||.357||3rd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1971||6||8||0||.429||2nd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1972||11||3||0||.786||1st in AFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to the Miami Dolphins in AFC Championship Game|
|PIT||1973||10||4||0||.714||2nd in AFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to the Oakland Raiders in AFC Divisional Round|
|PIT||1974||10||3||1||.750||1st in AFC Central||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl IX champions|
|PIT||1975||12||2||0||.857||1st in AFC Central||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl X champions|
|PIT||1976||10||4||0||.714||1st in AFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to the Oakland Raiders in AFC Championship Game|
|PIT||1977||9||5||0||.643||1st in AFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to the Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Round|
|PIT||1978||14||2||0||.875||1st in AFC Central||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XIII champions|
|PIT||1979||12||4||0||.750||1st in AFC Central||3||0||1.000||Super Bowl XIV champions|
|PIT||1980||9||7||0||.563||3rd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1981||8||8||0||.500||2nd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1982||6||3||0||.667||2nd in AFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to the San Diego Chargers in AFC Wild Card Round|
|PIT||1983||10||6||0||.625||1st in AFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in AFC Divisional Round|
|PIT||1984||9||7||0||.563||1st in AFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to the Miami Dolphins in AFC Championship Game|
|PIT||1985||7||9||0||.438||2nd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1986||6||10||0||.375||3rd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1987||8||7||0||.533||3rd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1988||5||11||0||.313||4th in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1989||9||7||0||.563||2nd in AFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to the Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Round|
|PIT||1990||9||7||0||.563||3rd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
|PIT||1991||7||9||0||.438||2nd in AFC Central||–||–||–||—|
Assistants under Chuck Noll who became college or professional head coaches:
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh. They compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the seventh-oldest franchise in the NFL, and they are the oldest franchise in the AFC.
Roderick Kevin Woodson is an American former professional football player in the National Football League (NFL) for 17 seasons. He had a 10-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a key member of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV championship team that beat the New York Giants. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, wearing the jersey number 26 throughout his career. Widely considered one of the game's all-time greatest defensive players, Woodson holds the NFL record for fumble recoveries (32) by a defensive player, and interceptions returned for touchdown (12), and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. His 71 career interceptions is the third-most in NFL history. He was an inductee of the Class of 2009 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 8, 2009. Woodson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Rod played most of his career as a cornerback then switched to safety during the later part of his career.
Anthony Kevin Dungy is a former professional American football safety, coach, and sports analyst who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. Dungy's teams became perennial postseason contenders under his leadership, missing playoffs only twice in Tampa Bay. He led the Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI, making him the first black head coach to win the Super Bowl.
William Laird Cowher is a former American football linebacker, coach, and sports analyst who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He began his coaching career as an assistant under Marty Schottenheimer for the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, serving as the latter's defensive coordinator from 1989 to 1991. Cowher was named head coach of the Steelers in 1992, whom he led until retirement following the 2006 season. After retiring, he joined The NFL Today as a studio analyst.
Charles Edward Greene, better known as "Mean" Joe Greene, is an American former professional football player who was a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1969 to 1981. A recipient of two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, five first-team All-Pro selections, and ten Pro Bowl appearances, Greene is widely considered to be one of the greatest defensive linemen to play in the NFL. He was noted for his leadership, fierce competitiveness, and intimidating style of play for which he earned his nickname.
Martin Edward Schottenheimer was an American football linebacker and coach who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1984 to 2006. He was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs for ten seasons, the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers for five each, and the Washington Redskins for one. Eighth in career wins at 205 and seventh in regular season wins at 200, Schottenheimer has the most wins of an NFL head coach to not win a championship. After coaching in the NFL, he won a 2011 championship in his one season with the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League (UFL). He was inducted to the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2010.
The 1992 NFL season was the 73rd regular season of the National Football League. Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, the New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins game that was scheduled for September 6 at Joe Robbie Stadium was rescheduled to October 18. Both teams originally had that weekend off. This marked the first time since the 1966 NFL season and the AFL seasons of 1966 and 1967 that there were byes in week 1; in those years, byes were necessary every week since there were an odd number of teams, which would happen again between 1999 and 2001. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dolphins also had their 2017 season opener postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
Leon H. "Bud" Carson was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1967 to 1971, compiling a record of 27–27. Carson then coached in the National Football League (NFL), mostly as a defensive coordinator. He was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers and one losing team with the LA Rams in the 1970s. Carson served as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1989 until he was fired midway through the 1990 season. He is credited with developing the Steel Curtain.
The Tampa 2 is an American football defensive scheme popularized by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers National Football League (NFL) team in the mid-1990s–early 2000s. The Tampa 2 is typically employed out of a 4–3 defensive alignment, which consists of four linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks, and two safeties. The defense is similar to a Cover 2 defense, except the middle linebacker drops into a deep middle coverage for a Cover 3 when he reads a pass play.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are an American football franchise representing Pittsburgh. They are the seventh-oldest club in the National Football League (NFL), which they joined in 1933. The only surviving NFL teams with a longer history are the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Boston (Washington) Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles joined the league concurrently with the Steelers in 1933.
Tom Moore is an American football coach and former college player who is an offensive consultant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). A four-time Super Bowl champion, he spent a majority of his coaching career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
Carnell Augustino Lake is an American former professional football player who was a safety in the National Football League (NFL). He is a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was the cornerbacks coach for the UCLA Bruins under head coach Rick Neuheisel in 2009 before leaving after one season for family reasons. He was the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach until February 2018.
Michael Pettaway Tomlin is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He began his coaching career as a defensive assistant before becoming the Steelers' head coach in 2007. Never compiling a losing record during his 14 seasons with the Steelers, Tomlin has led the team to nine playoff runs, seven division titles, three American Football Conference (AFC) championship games, two Super Bowl appearances, and one title in Super Bowl XLIII over the Arizona Cardinals. At age 36, he became the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl.
Ted Monachino is an American football coach who is the outside linebackers coach for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served as a senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears from 2019 to 2020. Monachino also coached for Missouri in 2018 and served as the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts from 2016 to 2017. He was also formerly the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2010 to 2015. He was part of the Ravens' coaching staff that won Super Bowl XLVII.
The Browns–Steelers rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 138 meetings it is the oldest rivalry and the most storied in the American Football Conference. The two divisional foes have a natural rivalry due to the commonalities between the cities, proximity, etc. It is sometimes called the Turnpike Rivalry or Turnpike War because the majority of the driving route between the two cities are via the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes.
The 1969 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 37th in the National Football League. It would mark a turning point of the Steelers franchise. 1969 was the first season for Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Noll, the first season for defensive lineman "Mean Joe" Greene and L. C. Greenwood, the first season for longtime Steelers public relations director Joe Gordon, and the team's last season in Pitt Stadium before moving into then-state-of-the-art Three Rivers Stadium the following season.
The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning Super Bowl XIII to become the first franchise in the NFL to win three Super Bowl titles. The championship run was led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the team's vaunted Steel Curtain defense. This team is regarded as one of the greatest defensive teams of all time and one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Bradshaw put together the best year of his career to that point, becoming only the second Steeler to win the NFL MVP award. Ten Steelers players were named to the Pro Bowl team, and four were judged as first-team All-Pros by the AP. Head coach Chuck Noll returned for his tenth season—moving him ahead of Walt Kiesling as the longest tenured head coach in the team's history to that point.
The 1988 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 56th in the National Football League. Hall of Fame team founder and owner Art Rooney died at age 87 less than two weeks before the start of the season on August 25. The team wore AJR patches on the left shoulder the entire season in memory of "The Chief".
Mark Thomas Stoops is an American college football coach and former player. He is the head football coach of the University of Kentucky football team. Stoops previously served as defensive coordinator at the University of Arizona from 2004 to 2009 and Florida State University from 2010 to 2012.
The Cowboys–Steelers rivalry is a rivalry in the NFL. The Cowboys currently lead the all-time series 17–16. The two teams met in the Super Bowl three times. They play in different conferences, they only meet once every four regular seasons and occasionally in the preseason.