Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Chuck Noll Dies At 82

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Chuck Noll died Friday at the age of 82.

Chuck Noll, the only NFL coach to win four Super Bowl championships, died in his sleep at his Sewickley, Pa., home. He was 82.

Noll died of natural causes Friday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers said in their Web site.

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney said Noll "ranks with (George) Halas and (Vince) Lombardi."

"There have been many other good coaches over the history of the NFL but I think Chuck Noll ranks up there with those other two guys, right at the top," Rooney said. "No other coach won four Super Bowls, and the way he did it was with dignity."

Noll was first hired by the Steelers in 1969. At the time, the team had had only eight winning seasons since its inception in 1933 and had never won an NFL championship. Noll produced 15 winning seasons, nine division championships, 12 playoff berths and four Super Bowl championships.

He retired Dec. 26, 1991.

Former Steeler Lynn Swann recalled around Christmas 1970 he and several teammates showed up at Noll's home unannounced and began caroling. Noll and his wife opened the door and invited the players into their home. A short time later, the coach picked up his ukulele and began playing,.

"I thought we were breaking the ice," Swann remembered. "We're getting to the core of this man, this is great. Wonderful. A breakthrough. The next morning, we walk in there, and I thought we were going to have a new relationship.

"He looked at us, and nodded his head. It was like we were never in his home for a second. He never acknowledged it. But that was Chuck."

Joe Greene, the first player Noll ever drafted, remembers one motivation speech Noll gave in particular.

“We had played Buffalo in the first round of the 1974 playoffs, and that’s when we really introduced the Stunt 4-3, because we were desperate to stop O.J. Simpson, who had put up almost 200 yards rushing the last time he played against us,” Greene said.

"We were sitting in the team meeting room over at Three Rivers Stadium, and Chuck said, ‘You know, the coach of the Raiders said the two best teams in football (Miami and Oakland) played yesterday, and that was the Super Bowl.’ He said, ‘Well, the Super Bowl is three weeks from now, and the best team in pro football is sitting right here in this room.’

“I’m telling you, I think I levitated right out of my seat when I heard that. There was no way that the Raiders were going to beat us. Again, it all came from the consistency of Chuck, because when he said that, it was very un-Chuck-like and that’s why it had so much power to it. It was almost like it happened yesterday.”

Noll was born in Cleveland Jan. 5, 1932, the youngest child of William Noll and Katherine Steigerwald Noll.

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