Chuck Noll was much more than the man behind the Steel Curtain. The coach, who died Friday in Pennsylvania at 82, was an integral component in turning a struggling franchise into a Super Bowl dynasty.
The football world reacted as such in remembering and appreciating the four-time Super Bowl champion coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"He had a really interesting perspective on life," former linebacker Andy Russell, who was in his fourth NFL season when Noll became head coach in 1969, said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He’d tell us life is a journey and you never arrive. He was always telling us at some point to find our life’s pursuit. I love the guy. He was a tremendous mentor in my life."
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Ironically, Noll wasn’t the first choice of the Steelers. That was Joe Paterno. When the Penn State legend turned the job down, then-Baltimore Colts coach Don Shula suggested Pittsburgh hire Noll, one of his assistants.