A request for something Chuck Noll wouldn't want, a patch to be worn this season

(George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Noll likely would not have wanted players to wear a patch commemorating his life. But that's exactly why it needs to be done this season.

Overstating an understatement is, of course, paradoxical. Giving the proper respect and legacy of a man who needed no headlines, admiration or even credit becomes difficult.

Even knowing (though the teachings of many who knew him well) Chuck Noll to be a man who avoided attention and spotlights, this is a request the Steelers honor him with some kind of patch on their uniforms for the 2014 season.

Noll would not have wanted to be memorialized in some way. Maybe he even had an understanding with the team such a thing wouldn't happen. But Noll's passing is a loss to Steeler Nation - not just the Steelers franchise, or his immediate family, all of whom feel this loss to a greater degree than we as fans do.

But that doesn't make honoring his memory in a visual way any less important.

For the same reasons Noll trumpeted self-sacrifice, teamwork and low-profile hard work, the team must commemorate his legacy in a way that will shed light on those virtues through the presence of a uniform patch to be worn by each Steelers player on their game day uniforms.

I hope it happens. I hope fans who otherwise watch the game because it has Fantasy Football implications notice the patch, and through some quick Internet sleuthing, discover the legacy of the finest coach the NFL has ever seen.

It's a shot of irony in that regard. Had Noll banged his own gong, or even allowed others to bang it for him, people wouldn't compare him to anyone in terms of success. Through his death, he'll have to endure one of his main dislikes; attention.

And the Steelers should now lavish him with it.

His legacy is his own but that legacy is important to the fans of this franchise. It's important people no longer see the 1970s Steelers as a group of tremendously talented players. Fans of the NFL, outside Steeler Nation, often lament Noll's job was easy; he had several Hall of Fame players.

Those who know, the players themselves, even, say they became Hall of Fame players after Noll instilled in them the means through which they would become champions. A franchise so deplorably bad in drafting talent for decades suddenly found all the luck it would ever need in the draft when Noll arrived.

Sure, the team acquired "Mean" Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw with top five picks. It also had the fortune of landing both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth in the same draft. Jack Lambert was a second round pick and Mike Webster came in the fifth round...of that same draft.

It's not as if Noll had the first four picks. He was given players who would become Pro Football Hall of Fame honorees, but not before they were late draft picks. Young players molded into bronze busts. He made all their hands four rings heavier in the process, and shunned the spotlight the entire time.

Chuck Noll (1932-2014)

That spotlight needs to be shined onto his legacy so people know the value of bringing talent out from under the surface and getting it to work in harmony with other talent. As Noll himself said, "A lot of people think motivation comes from the mouth but it doesn't. Motivation comes from HELPING someone get the job done."

Patches commemorating certain people or events are commonplace in pro sports today. Many of them seem trivial and reek of subtle marketing strategies.

Those who know the legacy of Chuck Noll know what he stood for, and those who do not should know. Even if he would object, Noll's legacy should be worn on the sleeves of the Steelers' players this season.

Not just for themselves, allowing a patch to remind them of what this franchise is and honoring a man who was as big a part of it as anyone. But for the fans as well, may they remember what he stood for, and why we follow this team as ardently as we do.

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