There are some that will argue that the old NFL, pre-free agency, was a much better product on the field than today’s game where players jump from team to team in the name of money. Not all, some, and I am not knocking it. I would do the same if given the chance. We all would. If there is one thing that we can say about today’s NFL is that there is a greater pressure put on owners to win championships. That is why the head coaching turnstile revolves so easily.
Today there are names like Bill Belichick. To an extent Jeff Fisher. The two Harbaugh brothers are trying to etch their names into the sandstone NFL history books. Years ago there were different names. Shula. Landry. Gibbs. Walsh. Halas. Grant. Lombardi. Coaches like those don’t exist anymore. Not at that level. Then there is Chuck Noll. The first NFL head coach to deliver four Super Bowl wins.
Today, at the age of 82 Chuck Noll passed away.
Noll was the instrumental figure of the 1970 Pittsburgh Steeler, “Steel Curtain” defense that featured Jack Ham, Mel Blount, and Jack Lambert to name a few. All three are in the Hall of Fame. On offense he boasted Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Terry Bradshaw, and John Stallworth to name a few. All in the Hall of Fame. The Steelers of the mid-70’s were so strong that their four Super Bowl wins all came in a span of six seasons.
Noll played for the Cleveland Browns during the mid-60’s and became the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Colts. He was hired by Don Shula. Art Rooney hired him to be his head coach and later would say that the “Noll was the best thing that ever happened to the Rooney’s since they got on the boat in Ireland.”
Noll had battled health issues over the last several years but it was reported that he passed due to natural causes. He remains ranked as the 7th most winningest coach in history and still the only HC to win four Super Bowl titles. He retired in 1991 and was elected into the Hall of Fame two years later.
Rest in peace Mr. Noll!