Chuck Noll - 1973


From the 1973 media guide:

Chuck Noll from September 23 programChuck Noll is in his fifth season as the Steeler head coach and during this relatively short period of time has built the team into one of the best in the National Football League.

In 1972 the Steelers compiled the second best record in the league, winning 11 games and losing just three. It brought them the AFC's Central Division crown and a place in the post-season playoffs in which they were beaten by the Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins in the AFC title game after defeating Oakland in the opening playoff contest.

This performance earned Noll the UPI American Football Conference Coach of the Year award. It was an honour predicted for the 41 year old Cleveland native when he accepted the Steeler job in 1969.

At that time, the Pittsburgh situation was not a bright one and it was going to take a well-organized man with patience to turn things around. Noll was that man. He set his sights high. His only goal was a championship football team.

To do this, he felt a pro team should be constructed with young players acquired through the annual draft of college players. He methodically utilised the draft to stockpile talented young people. When necessary he became an astute trader with an occasional deal but for the most part he had to exercise patience while his young squad was growing up.

This process was not designed to be an instant success, and it wasn’t. But after each season it was evident that Noll was making progress. Behind Chuck's leadership, the Steeler record was better each year than that of the previous one.

At no point did he waiver or deviate from his original plan. As a result, today the Steelers are not only a good football team but also a very young one. Another major factor in Noll's success is his ability to communicate with his players and to establish excellent rapport with them. It is a quality which the players recognize and appreciate and has resulted in them being more productive as a team and individually.

Noll's preparation for a head coaching job in the NFL followed the normal course of most of the present coaches. He made his way through the ranks as a player and spent his apprenticeship as an assistant coach. In each of these roles he had been a success and a winner.

After completing his college education at the University of Dayton where he became the football captain while playing offensive tackle and linebacker, Cleveland made him its 21st draft choice in 1951. For the first four years of his playing career he was an offensive guard but an injury to another player resulted in Coach Paul Brown switching Chuck to linebacker for the final three seasons of his active career.

During his days with the Browns, they won five Eastern Conference titles and went on to win two NFL championships.

Chuck retired as a player at the young age of 27 to go into coaching. When a job at Dayton didn't materialize, he joined the Los Angeles (now San Diego) Chargers of the newly-born American Football League in 1960. Working under the brilliant Sid Gillman, he became the head defensive coach for a team that won five division titles and two league championships in six years.

In 1966, Noll returned to the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. He served as Don Shula's defensive backfield coach for three seasons. During this period the Colts lost just seven regular season games and won the NFL title in 1968 only to lose in the Super Bowl to the New York Jets.

With this background of playing and coaching experience, it was the following season that Chuck Noll came to Pittsburgh to lead the Steelers out of the woods. While he has not accomplished everything he set out to do, there is hardly any doubt that it won't be long until he does.

Chuck Noll from 1973 media guide


September 16th Steelers 24
Detroit 10
September 23th Steelers 33
Cleveland 6
September 30th Steelers 36
Houston 7
October 7th Steelers 38
San Diego 21
October 14th Steelers 7
Cincinnait 19
October 21st Steelers 26
New York Jets 14
October 28th Steelers 20
Cincinnait 13
November 5th Steelers 21
Washington 16
November 11th Steelers 17
Oakland 9
November 18th Steelers 13
Denver 23
November 25th Steelers 16
Cleveland 21
December 3rd Steelers 26
Miami 30
December 9th Steelers 33
Houston 7
December 22nd Steelers 14
Oakland 33

Chuck Noll's fifth draft:

  1.   Thomas James (DB), Florida State
  2.   Ken Phares (DB), Mississippi State
  3.   Roger Bernhardt (G), Kansas
  4.   Gail Clark (LB), Michigan State
  5.   David Reavis (DE), Arkansas (choice from New Orleans)
  5b. Larry Clark (LB), Northern Illinois
  6.   Ron Bell (RB), Illinois State (choice from Denver).
  6b. Glen Scolnik (WR), Indiana
  7.   Nate Dorsey (DE), Mississippi Valley
  8.   Loren Toews (LB), California (choice from Denver)
  8b. Bill Janssen (OT), Nebraska.
  9.   Bracy Bonham (G), North Carolina Central
10.   Don Wunderly Don (DT), Arkansas
11.   Bob White Bob (DB), Arizona
12.   Willie Lee (RB), Indiana State
13.   Rick Fergerson (WR), Kansas State
14.   Roger Cowan (DT), Stanford
15.   Charles Cross (DB), Iowa
16.   Glen Nardi (DT), Navy
17.   Mike Shannon (DT), Oregon State

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