September 7, 2014 Declared “Chuck Noll Day.”


Back when the ’88 Steelers were sitting on a 1-6 record , Terry Bradshaw went on national TV to declare that the Steelers lacked talent, and that it was “Time to give Chuck Noll his day” and let him step aside in favor of a new coach….

The Blond Bomber’s suggestion came at the height of the Noll-Bradshaw feud; 26 years have passed since then, but legendary Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll is finally getting his day.

chuck noll terry bradshaw day feud
Noll, Bradshaw don’t see eye to eye


Thanks to a joint resolution sponsored by Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey Jr. and Pat Toomey, Sunday September 7th 2014 will officially be declared “Chuck Noll Day.”

Chuck Noll, who passed away last month at age 82, would doubtlessly not approve. However, it is a fitting day to offer tribute to the Emperor, as it marks the Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 opener, when they will play the Cleveland Browns, who Noll played for as one of Paul Brown’s messenger guards.


…Bradshaw had plenty of company in calling for Noll’s head that week. When prompted to respond to his critics, Noll only replied, “Winning is the only response.”

Rodney Carter exploded for 105 yards on 11 runs, caught two passes including one touchdown, and even completed a pass. Louis Lipps got into the trickery with a 23 yard reverse. Merril Hoge didn’t start, but chalked up 94 yards just the same, and Rod Woodson had a 29 yard interception as the Steelers beat the Broncos 39-21.

Afterwards, Noll joked that he’d gotten the idea for the trick plays in a letter from a fan.

  • Noll was never one for introspection.

Later that night it fell to ESPN’s Chris Berman for the serious analysis as he observed, “You back Chuck Noll into a corner? I want him on my side.”

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2 thoughts on “September 7, 2014 Declared “Chuck Noll Day.”

  1. I worked on a book called Pillars of the NFL on the top ten coaches in NFL history that included Noll. I suppose if you lived in Pittsburgh in the 70s and 80s, you saw plenty on Noll, but it’s surprising how little existed in book form. Obviously, he was a special guy on many levels. The Steelers drafts in the 70s were remarkable, but I think Noll and the Rooneys made a conscious decision not to throw out their aging Hall of Famers to challenge in the 80s. If they had, I think they might have done better, but I don’t think winning is everything and I suspect Pittsburgh fans would not have liked to see Noll clean house. Instead he rebuilt the Steelers as he could. I think Bradshaw was beat up pretty bad in his early years by critics and a coach has to walk a thin line with quarterbacks. He has to be tough, but on some level supportive. Most every coach struggles with this–from Bill Walsh to Mike Ditka. Few quarterbacks really love their head coaches while they are playing. I’ve come to the conclusion that in some situations, two people can have different opposing opinions, and they both can be right–and they both can be wrong. From my research on the top NFL coaches, there are many ways to run a football team and many ways to succeed–and many ways to fail. One approach isn’t necessarily better than another, but whatever approach you take has to be followed through with discipline and extreme effort. Noll did this. Ewbank, Noll, and Walsh all had worked with Paul Brown, but all developed their own approach–they are all in the top ten in NFL history.

  2. Sporting Chance Larry,

    Wow, this is one of the best comments I have ever had in the six and a half years of the blog.

    I tend to agree with your conclusions.

    Some head coach QB tension is normal. Heck, Johnny Unitas once said “You don’t become a true quarterback until you can tell off a head coach.”

    Noll could have, and perhaps should have managed Bradshaw differently, but you’re right, there is no set mold. Noll was very much a type B personality, Bradshaw type A.

    A lot of things caused the Steelers decline in the 80’s.

    Noll and Rooney did hang on to the Super Steelers for too long in many cases, a mistake which the current regime does not seem inclined to make.

    But Noll and Art Jr. really failed to get along, and moving the draft from January to late spring allowed Noll to micromanage the scouting process.

    Thanks so much for your comment. Hope to see you here again.

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