Chuck Noll - 1971



1971 media guideThe 1971 season should mark the return to winning football for Steeler Coach Chuck Noll. Record-wise the 39-year old Cleveland native's first two teams as a head coach could not be considered successes.

In spite of the lack of a winning record, there are many indications of Steeler progress as Noll's rebuilding program appears to reach fruition. This has earned him a two-year extension of his original three-year contract and will enable him to continue his ambitious undertaking.

Having the courage of his convictions that winning football teams are built primarily with young players, Noll has constructed the foundation of his team via two outstanding college drafts in 1969 and 1970 which not only brought quality players to Pittsburgh but a large number of them.

While it is too early to accurately evaluate the 1971 selections, there is evidence that it, too, is a banner crop.

Through the lean days of a 1-13 first season into the inconsistencies of last year when a 5-9 mark was posted, Noll patiently followed his plan of going mostly with young talented players. Now these first and second year men have acquired the maturity which winning teams need.

Winning is something that has been synonymous with Chuck Noll's football career as a player and an assistant coach. Championships were a reality, not a dream.

In seven years with the Cleveland Browns as a player, Chuck was a member of five of Paul Brown's Eastern Conference winners. Two of these clubs went on to capture NFL crowns.

After retiring prematurely as a player to go into coaching, Noll's first assignment was on Sid Gillman's staff at San Diego in the fledgling American Football League in 1960. His football success continued as the Chargers, with Noll heading the defense, won five division titles in the six seasons he was there and added two AFL championships.

Jumping back to the NFL in 1966, Chuck became a member of Don Shula's staff in Baltimore. With Noll as the defensive backfield coach, the Colts won the NFL crown in 1968 only to lose to the Jets in the Super Bowl.

With Paul Brown, Sid Gillman and Don Shula as his instructors, Chuck was well-prepared when his head coaching opportunity arrived. When he accepted the Steeler post, it was universally agreed in the pro football world that he was a man capable of converting the Steelers into winners.

Going back to his days as a prep star in Cleveland, Chuck has been a man who could handle a difficult task or adjust to any situation. He began his high school career as a running back. When a need developed for a tackle, Chuck made the switch and wound up on the All-State team and a college football scholarship.

At the University of Dayton a similar situation came up. Chuck was playing tackle and there was a need for a linebacker. Once again he made the switch. He became the team captain, an all Ohio choice and was drafted by the Browns in the 21st round of the 1953 pro draft.

Noll began his pro career as an offensive guard and was one of Paul Brown's "messengers." Inevitably, another emergency arose and Chuck completed his playing career as a linebacker.

Now Chuck Noll is in the midst of the greatest challenge of his football career. He is confident that success is near. When it comes, it won't surprise many.


September 19th Steelers 15
Chicago 17
September 26th Steelers 21
Cincinnati 10
October 3rd Steelers 21
San Diego 17
October 10th Steelers 17
Cleveland 27
October 18th Steelers 16
Kansas City 38
October 24th Steelers 23
Houston 16
October 31st Steelers 21
Baltimore 34
November 7th Steelers 26
Cleveland 9
November 14th Steelers 21
Miami 24
November 21st Steelers 17
New York Giants 13
November 28th Steelers 10
Denver 22
December 5th Steelers 3
Houston 29
December 12th Steelers 21
Cincinnati 13
December 19th Steelers 14
Los Angeles Rams 23

Chuck Noll's 3rd draft:

  1.   Frank Lewis (WR), Grambling
  2.   Jack Ham (LB), Penn State
  3.   Steve Davis (RB), Delaware State
  4.   Gerry Mullins (G), South California
  4b. Dwight White (DE), East. Texas St. (choice from Baltimore)
  5.   Larry Brown (TE), Kansas (choice from New Orleans)
  5b. Melvin Holmes (OT), North Carolina A&T
  5c. Ralph Anderson (DB), West Texas State (choice from Miami)
  5d. Fred Brister (LB), Mississippi (choice from Minnesota).
  6.   Craig Hanneman (G), Oregon State
  7.   Worthy McClure (OT-G), Mississippi
  8.   Larry Crowe (RB), Texas Southern (choice from New Orleans)
  8b. Paul Rogers (K), Nebraska
  8c. Ernie Holmes (DT), Texas Southern (choice from Miami)
  9.   Mike Anderson (LB), Louisiana State
10.  JimĀ  O'Shea(LB), Boston College
11.  Mike Wagner (DB), Western Illinois
12.  (Choice to Baltimore)
13.  Alfred Young (WR), South Carolina State
14.  McKinney Evans (DB), New Mexico Highlands
15.  Ray Makin (G), Kentucky
16.  Walter Huntley (DB), Trinity (Texas)
17.  Dan Ehle (RB), Howard Payne

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