Triggered. These days, that’s a pretty common thing to call someone who is suddenly and visibly angered by something someone just said–usually online.
I’m often prone to being triggered. Such was the case last week while reading some comments section of some article about the Pittsburgh Steelers. A person in said comments section — supposedly, a huge Steelers fan –referenced legendary coach Chuck Noll and the four Super Bowl titles he won back in the 1970s.
- Only, instead of “Noll,” this person called him Knoll.
And the triggering commenced from yours truly. I didn’t say anything in that moment, but I wanted to. I wanted to ask this person how he or she could be such a huge Steelers fan, someone so into them, they visit team pages and comment on team articles, yet not know how to spell the last name of perhaps the most important figure in the history of the organization?
But I didn’t. What would it have mattered? I’ve been fighting this battle for years. I’ve asked that question before, with the typical response being something along the lines of: “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize I had to know that in-order to be a huge fan.”
Fair point? I suppose. But it sure is lazy. It’s like how people from outside of Pittsburgh, my hometown, often spell the city’s name without the “h.” I guess that’s an understandable mistake — most “burgs” don’t include the “h”–but gosh golly, Pittsburgh isn’t just any other “burg,” it’s like the most famous one — at least in America.
And Chuck Noll, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 82, wasn’t just any other coach. He was perhaps the greatest in the history of the National Football League. Noll took over a franchise that had literally done nothing for the first 36 years of its existence, and within a decade, had transformed it into the standard-bearer for championship success.
- As Dan Rooney, the late, great chairman of the Steelers franchise once said of Noll, “He taught us how to win.”
That’s right, Noll didn’t just march into town and bring the Steelers four Lombardi trophies and then leave. He laid the foundation for continued success after he was gone; he gave the franchise a blueprint, one that it still uses to this day.
Maybe you fell in love with the Steelers in the 1990s, an era where Crafton native Bill Cowher first began his reign as the new head coach. But without the foundation that Noll helped build in the 1970s, the Rooney family, one that habitually hired and fired coaches over its first four decades of existence, may not have known what to look for in a new head coach.
Maybe you became a fan in the late-2000s, and the only head man you’ve ever seen roam the Steelers sidelines is Mike Tomlin. If so, see above.
- Again, it all started with Chuck Noll 51 years ago this past January.
Maybe it’s petty to bring attention to the many people that constantly spell Noll’s last name with a “K.” But what do you call these supposedly big Steelers fans who always do this?
It was always amazing to me that people would confuse Chuck Noll with another football coach named Chuck (Chuck Knox of the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams), and that they would spell Chuck Noll’s surname with a K. Maybe it was because he didn’t cater to the media. He was respectful, and that’s what he always told us, that the media had a job to do even though it was different than our job, and that we should respect them. He had an appreciation for the media, but he never played up to them, and maybe that’s why he’s underappreciated.
That quote, courtesy of a Steelers.com article penned by Bob Labriola shortly after Noll’s death in 2014, is from Mean Joe Greene, the legendary defensive tackle that Noll drafted shortly after being hired as the Steelers head coach back in 1969.
Mean Joe knows how to spell Chuck Noll’s name. It’s about time everyone — including the media and fans — leaves out that “K,” as well.