Chuck Noll - 1979


From the 1979 media guide:

1979 media photoChuck Noll has been the most successful coach in pro football since 1972 and is the only one in history to win three Super Bowls.

At 47 years of age, he could become the 14th coach to win 100 regular season games this season although it would take a year almost as good as the last one for him to reach this milestone. His lifetime head coaching record is 88-53-1.

However, since 1972, the first of seven straight playoff seasons for the Steelers, he has compiled a 76-23-1 mark for a percentĀ­age of .765 which is the highest for any pro coach during this period. His postseason record of 11-4 (.733) is the best of any active coach and topped only by Vince Lombardi's 9-1 (.900) record.

In his first ten years in Pittsburgh he has transformed an NFL doormat, which had just four winning seasons in the 19 prior to his arrival, into a perennial power. He can equal a league record by making the playoffs in 1979 for an eighth straight season, matching Tom Landry's feat with Dallas from 1966 through 1973.

A testimony to Noll's coaching ability is the manner in which his team won its third Super Bowl last January while compiling the best regular season record (14-2) in the NFL on its way to the title.

Previous Steeler championship teams had won on the strength of their defense and a very conservative, run-oriented offense. The 1978 Steelers won primarily because of a strong passing game which kept pressure on opposing defenses and took it off its own. But the well-earned image of the Steelers is still that of a very aggressive, physical football team.

Chuck has coached the Steelers longer than any man in the team's 46-season history and longer than any other AFC coach has been with his team. He has more wins than any other Steeler coach and is the 16th winningest coach of all-time. He needs nine victories to pass Lou Saban (95) and Vince Lombardi (96) to move into 14th place.

His teams have won three NFL championships, the same number of AFC titles and six divisional crowns. He was UPI's Coach of the Year in 1972 and won the same honour from the Football News in 1976.

When Noll took over the Steeler coaching reins in 1969, the team had won just 18 games in the previous five seasons, one more than his 1978 team won. It was a team in obvious need of a major overhauling.

In his mind there was only one way to build a championship team and that was through the annual college player draft. This is what he set out to do and his first official act was the selection of Joe Greene which was the initial step in building one of the greatest defenses in pro football history.

1979 Pro magazine coverIn 1970 he chose Terry Bradshaw and with that had the offense headed in the right direction. Through the early seventies he patiently added to the nucleus provided by his first drafts. Working closely with the Steelers' talented and efficient personnel department, he was flawless in his draft selections and because of this, seldom made a trade.

More than anything else, Pittsburgh's ability to draft well has placed the team in its current position of power in the NFL. All of the present starters were either drafted by the Steelers or signed as free agents directly out of college. Only three of the 45 players who were in uniform for SB XIII were not original Steelers.

Success did not come immediately. There was what could have been a disastrous 1-13 record in 1969. Noll converted this into a positive situation by developing a strong rapport with his players which is one of his outstanding coaching characteristics. This was followed by 5-9 and 6-8 seasons and it was apparent the team was headed in the right direction.

In 1972 the Steelers made their big breakthrough with an 11-3 mark. After a miraculous last-second victory over Oakland in an opening round playoff game, they battled Miami down to the wire before finally losing, 21-17, to the eventual Super Bowl champions.

After a slight dip in 1973 when they were eliminated by Oakland in the first round of the playoffs, the Steelers reached Noll's goal of an NFL championship in 1974. The march to the title was highlighted by one of the most incredible defensive performances ever when Oakland was held to 29 yards rushing in the AFC title game and Minnesota to 17 in Super Bowl IX. Chuck became the third coach to win back-to-back Super Bowls when the Steelers beat Dallas in Super Bowl X.

In 1976 the Steelers failed to win their third straight NFL title when Oakland defeated them 24-7, in the AFC Championship game and in 1977 Denver beat them, 35-21, in an opening round playoff game.

An unprecedented third Super Bowl title was won last January when the Steelers passed their way to a 35-31 victory over Dallas in the first rematch in Super Bowl history. It was the best played and most exciting of all Super Bowls.

The 1979 season is Chuck Noll's 27th straight in pro football. He played seven years with Paul Brown's Cleveland Browns as a guard for three seasons and a linebacker for four. The Browns won five Eastern Conference titles and two NFL championships while he was playing for them.

In 1960 at 27 he retired prematurely as a player to enter coaching. When the head coaching job at Dayton, his alma mater, did not materialize, he was the last coach hired for Sid Gillman's staff with the Los Angeles (now San Diego) Chargers in the new American Football League. They won five division titles and two AFC championships in Noll's six years with the team as a defensive assistant.

A term on Don Shula's staff at Baltimore as the defensive backfield coach was the final stepping stone in Chuck's rise to a head coaching position. In his three years there, the Colts lost just seven regular season games and won the NFL championship in 1968 before losing Super Bowl II to the Jets.


September 3rd Steelers 16
New England 13
September 9th Steelers 38
Houston 7
September 16th Steelers 24
St Louis 21
September 23rd Steelers 17
Baltimore 13
September 30th Steelers 14
Philadelphia 17
October 7th Steelers 51
Cleveland 35
October 14th Steelers 10
Cincinnati 34
October 22nd Steelers 42
Denver 7
October 28th Steelers 14
Dallas 3
November 4th Steelers 38
Washington 7
November 11th Steelers 30
Kansas City 3
November 18th Steelers 7
San Diego 35
November 25th Steelers 33
Cleveland 30
December 2nd Steelers 37
Cincinnati 17
December 10th Steelers 17
Houston 20
December 16th Steelers 28
Buffalo 0
December 30th Steelers 34
Miami 14
AFC Championship
January 6th Steelers 27
Houston 13
January 20th Steelers 31
Los Angeles 19

Chuck Noll's tenth draft:

1.     Greg Hawthorne (FB), Baylor
2.     Zack Valentine (LB), East Carolina
3.     None
4.     Russell Davies (RB), Michigan (choice from Detroit)
4b.   Calvin Sweeney (WR), Southern California
5.     Dwaine Board (DE), North Carolina A & T
6.     Bill Murrell (TE), Winston Salam (choice from San Diego)
6b.   Dwayne Woodruff (CB), Louisville (choice from New England)
6c.   Matt Bahr (PK), Penn State
7.     Bruce Kimball (G), Massachusetts
8.     Tom Graves (LB), Michigan State
9.     Rick Kirk (DE), Denison.
10.   Tod Thompson (TE), Brigham Young
11.   Charlie Moore (C), Wichita State
12.   Ed Smith (LB), Vanderbilt (choice from Philadelphia)
12b. Mike Almond (WR), Northwestern Louisiana

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