Like quarterback, like coach.
Just as quarterback Terry Bradshaw gets overlooked in the discussion of great quarterbacks, his coach, Chuck Noll, is often forgotten in the ranks of all-time coaches.
This was the case again Wednesday morning. In light of LeBron James stating that he belongs on the Mount Rushmore of NBA players upon his retirement, ESPN's "Mike and Mike" expanded on that idea on their radio show by creating a list naming their Mount Rushmore in each sport. They left Noll's name out of the entire discussion of NFL coaches that belong on Mount Rushmore.
Bill Belichick, Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, and Bill Walsh were their choices. If that wasn't insulting enough, they didn't even mention Noll's name when discussing the great coaches that didn't make the cut. They mentioned Tom Laundry, who went 0-2 against Noll's Steelers in Super Bowls. They mentioned Don Shula, who also coached in the same era as Noll. But they didn't even throw a mention to the only four time Super Bowl winning coach. Not a word.
Noll never lost a Super Bowl, as Belichick did with a team that was 18-0. He was never fined 500,000 dollars by the NFL for cheating, as Belichick was. And by the way, the Pats have won as many Super Bowls as the Browns since the NFL levied that fine. While it ended up being a good thing for professional football's growth, Shula's Colts lost to the nearly 20 point underdog New York Jets in Super Bowl III. His Dolphins are also the only NFL team not to score a touchdown in Super Bowl VI. Shula was a great coach, but, unlike Noll, his teams didn't always have his teams ready for the biggest games.
It just doesn't make sense to me why media "experts" give so little credit to the individuals on those Steelers teams. They said Bradshaw only won because he had a great defense backing him up, yet only one member of the Steel Curtain front four made the Hall-of-Fame. It's absurd that L.C. Greenwood died without giving a speech in Canton, but that's for a different story. At least Noll got that recognition.
My personal theory is that Noll never publicized his accomplishments, not in TV or in a book describing his life's work. He's like the NBA's Greg Popovich or former Redskins' coach Joe Gibbs in that category. Noll's players always said that Noll stayed away from the limelight because that was "for the ballplayers". It's a shame that that humility leads to people forgetting his masterful ability to coach.
Yes, Noll had a lot of talent, but who groomed that talent? Who helped bring them in in the first place? What coach on that list didn't have talent?
I hope people that listen to radio shows like "Mike and Mike" don't listen to the hosts' opinions like it's gospel. I hope fans out there are educated enough to be firm to their own opinions. If not, then they'd believe that Chuck Noll doesn't belong on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches, which couldn't be any further from the truth.