When Tony Dungy was dating his future wife, Noll gave him a recipe to cook for dinner that Dungy says “must have worked.”
Dungy remembers a scouting trip to New Orleans with Noll during which they hit many memorable restaurants and jazz spots. Dungy thought he was about to be elevated to defensive coordinator, but they were so busy in the Big Easy he never asked Noll if he was getting the job.
Dungy finally found out he got the position when they returned to Pittsburgh.
“Most of what I clung to from him was how to deal with people, how to structure your life, how to hire coaches,” Dungy said. “He stressed that you couldn’t get burned out from football, couldn’t let football be everything in your life. He made sure we got away from the game.”
Noll left the game after the 1991 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame two years later. The lessons he taught his players remain constants in their lives.
“The man was just so consistent in his belief that we just believed everything he said,” said Joe Greene, yet another Hall of Fame player for Noll. “He was a man who wasn’t about any kind of hyperbole at all. You got the same Chuck all the time.
“Being the first (draft) pick, I haven’t been able to find any relevance in that. But I do know having Chuck as a coach made all the difference in the world in having the career that I had as a Pittsburgh Steeler.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell called Noll’s quiet leadership “extraordinary.”
“What set Chuck Noll apart was his remarkable ability as a teacher,” Goodell said. “His subject was football and his students became four-time Super Bowl champions. He always put the team, his players, and the game first. His legacy of excellence will forever be an important part of the history of the Steelers and the NFL.”