'Breaking News' flashes across the television screen, and as I hear the sports anchor say that legendary Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Chuck Noll, has passed away at the age of 82, my heart absolutely sinks.
The kicker is, that I don't remember Noll as a coach. I'm sure a lot of people reading this article are similar to my age or younger and weren't fortunate enough to see Noll do what he did best, and that was win. Although at the point of his retirement in 1991, I was a fresh faced 8 year old running around the neighborhood barefoot doesn't mean that the appreciation for what Noll did doesn't span all ages and levels of Steeler fan.
I remember my father telling me how Noll never got the credit he deserved as a coach. When people list the greatest coaches of all time, the name Noll barely made the top five. You'd hear: Halas, Lombardi, Walsh, Ditka and even Belichick, but rarely Noll. Sure, Noll coached for 23 years, but in that span he won more Super Bowls than any coach in NFL history has amassed.
You don't have to be of the age to have watched the great teams of the '70s win those four Super Bowl titles to know how Noll handled his business and the kind of coach he ultimately was.
Noll's loss leaves the Steelers with another glaring hole in their history. It happened when Art Rooney died and even when Myron Cope passed on. The legendary 'Steel Curtain' defensive front has only one surviving member, and that is Joe Greene. These men are slowly slipping away into the history books, and you don't have to be a Steelers fan to appreciate what they've done not only for the town of Pittsburgh, but the sport of professional football.
Chuck Noll was a man of few words, never pumped himself up in the media and ultimately proved that throughout time you can still win by coaching, but also caring.
The game of football will miss men like Chuck Noll, and the Pittsburgh Steelers organization that stretches world wide mourns the passing of one of their legends.
Some might say that is a bit extreme cosidering he was "just a football coach", but he wasn't just any football coach, he was the best coach that ever lived, and he was the Pittsburgh Steelers' coach.