Dan Rooney remembers Chuck Noll: Coach was an extension of family
June 14, 2014 11:32 PM
Former Steelers coach Chuck Noll, left, and Dan Rooney, center, accept the Vince Lombardi trophy from then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.
By Dan Rooney / Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman
“When we were young we thought of Chuck Noll as being our second dad," daughter Pat Rooney mentioned. "We went on vacation together. He had a plan for us to follow."
"Always interesting," son John says. "He would take us fishing and show us how to set the hook on the bait, casting and bringing in the fish we caught."
What to call Chuck Noll? An icon, a legend, a scholar, a stickler for detail, everything except Coach of the Year, which he didn't get until 1989, and that never fazed him. He wasn't looking for tributes, he was looking to do things right. How about calling him a good person.
It was fun to watch all of the football highlights, but I remember most how kind and interested he was in each of us. Things I remember: swimming with the dolphins, flying in a small plane and driving across the desert with us and Marianne, his wife. The time he spent with me, my brothers and sisters were some of the most important times of my youth.
Our goal is to win Super Bowls and to win the Super Bowl you must start at the beginning. He set goals to achieve. If there was ever a setback, Chuck always preached about getting back to the basics. Play each game, each player. It is a team approach. Replace the effort needed to reach the goal. He was the leader, yes, the teacher. Chuck Noll was always the teacher. When you're in a drill practicing the delivery, Chuck would come up to you and point out the faults and get you to where you could understand what was needed.
It was a team playing better than the sum of the parts. When a player went down, the replacement gave his very best and succeeded in completing the challenge. I remember we were playing our big rival the Raiders in Los Angeles. One of our starting offensive linemen went down with an injury and Pete Rostosky went in and played outstanding and held up his end for the entire day. That was Chuck Noll, a man for all seasons. He was there to do the job -- no excuses, just get it done.
It's a sad day. Chuck Noll is not here. We will miss him, all of football will miss him. Great as he was, he is gone. He is following Halas and Lombardi. There are other good coaches but he was at the top. We are so fortunate that we were there at his time. Thank God we were here to witness this time and the great games. Yes, four Super Bowls in six years, but he was much more than the four championships. For this great man, we are so much better for being there.
His family meant so much to him. His wife, Marianne, son Chris, daughter-in-law Linda and their children.
This is the 40th anniversary of our first Super Bowl win. True to Chuck's nature, he stood in the background while Art Rooney accepted the trophy from Pete Rozelle, who said it was one of his greatest duties as commissioner.
"The only thing I would like to say is I loved him," said Dan Rooney Jr.
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