The Two Had Apparently Made Up in 2003
The relationship between the recently deceased Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, who were coach and player for 14 years, has been strained and complex.
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But they apparently had made up. Which makes the fact that Bradshaw skipped Noll's funeral Saturday night an even more thorny issue. But Steelers fans don't seem too thrilled about it.
Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died Friday night at his home. He was 82.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said Noll died of natural causes.
Noll transformed the Steelers from a long-standing joke into one of the NFL's pre-eminent powers, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls. He was a demanding figure who did not make close friends with his players, yet was a successful and motivating leader.
The Steelers won the four Super Bowls over six seasons (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), an unprecedented run that made Pittsburgh one of the NFL's marquee franchises, one that breathed life into a struggling, blue-collar city.
"He was one of the great coaches of the game," Steelers owner Dan Rooney once said. "He ranks up there with (George) Halas, (Tom) Landry and (Curly) Lambeau."
Then came an impasse: Bradshaw essentially admitted he was wrong about the whole thing. Here's a great read on the situation (written by future Hall of Famer Ed Bouchette) when Bradshaw and Noll supposedly kissed and made up in 2003.
"He's a good man; we all grow up," Bradshaw said. "The picture becomes clear when you retire. Chuck's plan for me, the way he coached me and treated me, it was tough love. I didn't understand it, but I understand it now and I appreciate it.
"We probably can all say things now we wouldn't dare say before: I love him and care for him."
This has led to many people on Pittsburgh sports talk radio to call out Bradshaw for his apparent slight. On the "Starkey and Mueller" show on 93.7 The Fan, former longtime Steelers PR man Joe Gordon wasted no chance to rip into Bradshaw.
“He’s the most insincere person I’ve ever known,” Gordon said.
Noll never was much of a yeller or screamer, though he had his moments. He confronted Oilers coach Jerry Glanville at midfield and warned him about the team's borderline-legal blocking techniques.
"He didn't feel like it was his job to motivate," Bleier said. "It was his job to take motivated people and give them a direction and get the job done."
But we do know that many people in Pittsburgh feel Bradshaw should have found a way to show up for the funeral.