Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll, who turned around a long-suffering franchise and made it into one of the most potent dynasties in league history, has died at the age of 82, according to multiple published reports from Pittsburgh.
Noll, who according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had been dealing with an undisclosed illness along with back problems, died in his sleep on Friday night.
Hired in 1969 at age 37, Noll coached the team through the 1991 season.
After acquiring Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw in back-to-back drafts, Noll helped guide the Steelers toward a string of memorable moments, from the Immaculate Reception made by then-rookie Franco Harris in 1972 to the 1974 season, which started with one of the best drafts in NFL history (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster), and ended with the team’s first ever league championship, a 16-6 Super Bowl win over the Vikings.
This year, the Steelers will commemorate the 40th anniversary of a championship that was 42 years in the making.
The Steelers won the Super Bowl the next year over the Cowboys and then, after two years not playing in the title game, they won two more, another over the Cowboys and one over the Rams.
“Chuck Noll is the best thing to happen to the Rooneys since they got on the boat in Ireland,” said Art Rooney Jr., the eldest son of Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr., has said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
We extend our condolences to Coach Noll’s family, colleagues, players, friends, and the Steelers organization.