Noll's all time
1993 saw Chuck Noll inducted into Football's Hall of Fame. His success with the Steelers did not happen overnight. It was a slow and, at times, a painful process in which he seldom deviated from his plan to build a championship team, not just a respectable one.
When Chuck Noll was appointed the Steelers head coach in 1969, he had impressed Art Rooney with his honesty. Whereas the other applicants had promised instant success to a franchise that had never seen a winning season, Noll had told Rooney that the team was a wreck and the rebuilding would take at least three, maybe five years.
Noll's philosophy for building a championship team was to use the draft. "You build with draft choices, " he said. "You find people with talents adaptable to your plans and then you teach them to do things the way we do them." His used his first pick on an unknown defensive tackle from North Texas State, Joe Greene. Despite winning the season opener, the Steelers proceeded to lose the rest of their fixtures and finished 1-13. Greene was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
If the foundation for the Steel Curtain had been laid the year before with the selection of Joe Greene, the 1970 draft saw the first glimmer of hope for a championship with Noll using his number pick on quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
The following year's draft saw Jack Ham, Gerry Mullins, Larry Brown, Dwight White, Mike Wagner and Ernie Holmes selected. The team continued to make progress and in 1972 the break through was finally made. Franco Harris, Steve Furness and Joe Gilliam were added to the roster. Terry began to assert himself on offense, Franco rushed for 1,055 yards and the Steelers had their first winning season.
From that humble beginning, Chuck Noll built a team that went to the Super Bowl four times out of the next six years. Beating the so called America's team, the Dallas Cowboys, twice and the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders once, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win four championship rings. Noll had finally delivered to the city that never expected, but thoroughly deserved it.
December 1999, Chuck Noll was voted the head coach
For more on Chuck Noll's career, please use the links on the left.