Friday, June 13, 2014

Chuck Noll

Chuck Noll, who built the “Steel Curtain” Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s into one of the most dominant teams in pro football history, becoming the only N.F.L. coach to win four Super Bowl championships, died Friday night in Pittsburgh. He was 82.

Noll died of natural causes, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner said.

When Noll was named the Steelers’ head coach in 1969, they had never reached a league championship game since their founding in 1933 and they were coming off a 2-11-1 season. Noll had played at guard and linebacker on powerful Cleveland Browns teams of the 1950s, but he had never been a head coach.

The Steelers won only one game in Noll’s first season. But he went on to coach four Super Bowl champions in a span of six seasons with a host of brilliant draft picks that helped create the memorable Steel Curtain defense and a high-powered offense.

Noll selected defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene as his first N.F.L. draft pick. He drafted quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Blount in 1970, linebacker Jack Ham in 1971, running back Franco Harris in 1972 and wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, middle linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster in 1974.

All became Hall of Famers.

Noll’s Steelers won the Super Bowl in 1975, ’76, ’79 and ’80 and captured nine American Football Conference Central championships in his 23 years as coach. They became one of the N.F.L.’s most dominant franchises, echoing George Halas’s Chicago Bears of the 1940s, Paul Brown’s Cleveland Browns of the 1950s and Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers of the 1960s.

Noll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

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