Chuck Noll - 1972



Chuck Noll's 1972 media guide photoWhen Chuck Noll came to Pittsburgh in 1969 he faced a tremendous challenge. Four seasons later it is still a big job but the serious-minded Steeler coach has made and is making great strides in his efforts to bring Pittsburgh its first pro football championship.

Progress best describes Noll's tenure in Pittsburgh. Each year his record has improved over that of the previous one. That is the tangible part of the progress.

But possibly of more significance are the areas which are not obvious.  The talented football players he has assembled. The strong organization, including a fine staff, he has helped build. And a positive attitude which is shared by the fans, players and management. The nucleus for a championship team now exists in Pittsburgh and this is what Noll expects beginning with the 1972 season.

Noll believes in building a team with young people. As a result, the Steelers are a very young football team. Less than ten players remain from the pre-Noll era. Only a handful have reached the age of thirty. All positions are stocked with good, young athletes.

The 40-year old Noll is a low-keyed, well-organized man with the intelligence to patiently teach and the ability to communicate with his players. He combines these assets with a compassion to understand the complexities of being a professional athlete today.

The Steeler job has been the toughest undertaking of his football life. It has not been an easy assignment or a smooth one. Beginning with a 1-13 record in 1969, he has followed with 5-9 and 6-8 marks the past two campaigns.

The disappointment of not winning the Central Division title last year was great but it has not dampened Chuck's optimism or the belief that it will not be accomplished this season.

The winning habit was developed early in Noll and has been a part of his football life throughout his career. There have been many stops for Chuck in his climb to a head coaching position in the National Football League and his success at each one stands out. Part of this success can be traced to his ability to adapt to a variety of situations.

He displayed this early in his football career. In high school and college he was always the one who was ready to step in in an emergency. This carried over to his professional career with the Cleveland Browns and is an outstanding characteristic of his coaching makeup.

At Benedictine High in Cleveland, he started as a running back but a need developed for a tackle and Chuck filled the post. While doing this he made All State and earned a scholarship to Dayton. Another emergency arose there. There was a linebacker short­age. Noll moved in and became the team captain, an All Ohio selection and the 21st draft choice of the Browns.

When Noll joined the Browns in 1953, who at that time were coached by Paul Brown, he was one of the famed "messenger" guards. In his fifth season, a familiar situation cropped up. Injuries had depleted Cleveland's linebacking corps and once again Chuck filled the hole.

In seven seasons with the Browns, Chuck was on five Eastern Conference winners and two NFL title teams.

At the relatively young football age of 27, Noll retired as a player. He intended to go into college coaching but a promised job never materialized. As a result, he landed with Sid Gillman who was then organizing the Los Angeles (now San Diego) Chargers in the newly-formed AFL. Six years under the brilliant Gillman as the head defensive coach launched Noll's path to the Steelers. During this period the Chargers won five division titles and two AFL crowns.

In 1966 Chuck moved on to Baltimore as Don Shula's defensive backfield coach. The winning pattern continued as the Colts lost just seven regular season games in three seasons and won the NFL title in 1968.

It was with this outstanding background that Chuck Noll took over the head coaching position of the Steelers in 1969. Now it appears the Steelers are on the verge of developing into winners with Chuck Noll the guiding hand.


September 17th Steelers 34
Oakland 28
September 24th Steelers 10
Cincinnati 15
October 1st Steelers 25
St. Louis 19
October 8th Steelers 13
Dallas 17
October 15th Steelers 24
Houston 7
October 22nd Steelers 33
New England 3
October 29th Steelers 38
Buffalo 21
November 5th Steelers 40
Cincinnait 17
November 12th Steelers 16
Kansas City 7
November 19th Steelers 24
Cleveland 26
November 26th Steelers 23
Minnesota 10
December 3rd Steelers 30
Cleveland 0
December 10th Steelers 9
Houston 3
December 17th Steelers 24
San Diego 2
December 23rd Steelers 13
Oakland 7
December 31st Steelers 17
Miami 21

Chuck Noll's 4th draft:

  1.   Franco Harris (RB), Penn State
  2.   Gordon Gravelle (OT), Brigham Young
  3.   John McMakin (TE), Clemson
  4.   Lorenzo Brinkley (DB), Missouri (choice from NY Giants)
  4b. Ed Bradley (LB), Wake Forest
  5.   Steve Furness (DE), Rhode Island
  6.   Dennis Meyer (DB), Arkansas
  7.   Joe Colquitt (DE), Kansas St. (choice from NY Giants)
  8.   Vincent Stahle (RB), Rice
  9.   Don Kelley (DB), Clemson
10.   Bob Brown (DT), Tampa
11.   Joe Gilliam (QB), Tennessee St
12.   Ron Curl (OT), Michigan St
13.   Ernie Messmer (DT), Villanova
14.   Tom Durrance (RB), Florida
15.   John Hulecki (G), Massachusetts (choice from Houston)
15b. Charles Harrington (G), Wichita
16.   Nate Hawkins (WR), Nevada-Las Vegas
17.   Ron Linehan (LB), Idaho

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