Golden Football Magazine
September 12, 2014

"Offensive linemen stay married longer, stay in the same jobs longer, they are more loyal. Les Miles at the core of who he is, is an offensive lineman. Unselfish and team-oriented, they get the least notoriety and acclaim. They're a fraternity, a breed apart."

Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney, who gave Miles his first full-time assistant coaching job.

Tiger Den

Profile: Young Bussey - VI

Coach Moore switched Young to blocking back for his senior season.

Read more ...

Saints Saga

Season in Time: 1987 Saints - Games 4 and 5

The players' union capitulated just before Game 5, but the veterans didn't play that weekend.

Read more ...

Seminole Sidelines

From the Archives

"A Stand for the Ages" - Kansas 1993

Read more ...

NFL Championship Game - 1952

The Browns made it to the title contest for the seventh season in a row.

Read more ...

Interesting Story

Blanda's Incredible String - I

43-year-old backup QB George Blanda showed he could do more than kick FGs.

Read more ...

Football Profile

Jesse Harper, the man who put Notre Dame on the football map - I

Read more ...

Teacher Extraordinaire

"Leading Off," by Dan Pompeii,
Written after Chuck Noll's death in June, 2014.

Young John Madden

For a time in the 1960s, Chuck Noll was the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator and John Madden was the San Diego State defensive coordinator. They fre­quently would get together to play handball or racquet­ball or to have a bite to eat. And talk football.

Madden was teaching graduate classes on football during this period. Noll was more than happy to be his guest lecturer from time to time. "He loved that," Madden says. "That was Chuck Noll - in a classroom, talking to coaches and teaching. I learned a lot about him and a lot from him then. That's where I learned pro defense, from Chuck Noll."

We forever will call him a coach, but Noll, who died last week at 82, saw him­self as something else. When Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman asked Noll in 1980 how he wanted to be remembered, Noll said he wanted to be thought of as a teacher. "A person who could adapt to a world of constant change," Noll said. ...

Four Super Bowl victories, the most of any coach in history, merely were a by­product of teaching well. Noll, who studied education at the University of Dayton, preached attention to details and consistency. He was very hands- on, even working with players one-on-one long after most of them had trotted off the practice field.

Madden recalls Noll the coach as a deep thinker and a fundamentalist. "That's what the Steelers were all about," Madden said. "Once they had the funda­mentals down, they didn't make mistakes, and then they could play aggres­sively. Sometimes, if you ever get an old film, just watch the footwork of Jack Ham. He was a guy I used to study all the time because he was never out of balance. His feet were always in a perfect position no matter how he moved. Those were the things that were important to Chuck." ...

L: Don Shula and Chuck Noll; R: Noll and Terry Bradshaw

Noll preferred to hire assistant coaches from colleges, because he thought they usually had better teaching skills than most coaches who had been in the NFL. His appreciation of teaching undoubtedly was rooted in the fact that he had great teachers. As a guard and linebacker on the Cleveland Browns, he played for Paul Brown, who wrote the first playbook in history. He coached under Sid Gillman, the father of the modern passing game. And he was an assistant for Don Shula, the winningest coach ever. Noll would follow each of them into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Madden said Noll was a lot like Brown in that he was a teacher first, one who analyzed the game differently than most. Noll had his own style, however. He was not a yeller or babysitter. He gave his players freedom and kept rules to a minimum. He thought being rested and mentally alert was more important than putting in more time than the opposing coach.

He was not one of those coaches who was unaware of the world beyond the goal posts. In fact, Noll could hold his own in a conversation about fine wine - while he was preparing dinner. He could pilot a plane, cultivate roses, sail a boat and scuba dive. He enjoyed listening to jazz and traveling, and he could talk politics or philosophy with intelligence and perspective.

Noll was far from a warm-and-fuzzy new-age player's coach, though. He made Terry Bradshaw a person project and broke him down over time with tough love. Some perceived Noll as aloof and distant. He was known for a menacing glare that could hit his players harder than any linebacker.

"In my time I didn't see him hug a player ... but he still loved his players," Steelers great Joe Greene said ... "But I watched him, and I saw him show his appreciation for his players and for his team in a very quiet and subtle way." ...

Punt returner points at ball as it bounces

Football Quiz

Saints leading receivers