PITTSBURGH – Mel Blount remembered Chuck Noll as much more than just a football coach, a day after Noll died at the age of 82 in his Pittsburgh-area home.
What stood out most about Noll, the only coach to win four Super Bowls, was his consistency, Blount said Saturday morning.
“What you saw one day, you saw it the next day,” said Blount, a game-changing cornerback who played for Noll and the Steelers from 1970-83. “He was just a guy who was very focused. He was something special, and nothing ever really fazed him. He was a teacher, and his methods weren’t a lot of rah-rah speeches. He was systematic in what it was he was doing, and his emotions he kept within.”
Blount, one of nine players from the Steelers’ 1970s teams who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said the lessons he learned from Noll guided him after he retired from football.
“Chuck wasn’t the kind of guy that gave you a big hug or carried on a conversation with you,” Blount said. “He told you what he wanted done, how we were going to get it done and what he expected, and we went out and responded accordingly. He was different, and the older I get the more I appreciate and cherish the opportunity to have played for him.”
Blount became a successful businessman after football, and one of his enduring legacies is the eponymous group home that he runs for disadvantaged kids in the Pittsburgh area. Blount said Noll’s emphasis on family always put football in its proper perspective.
“You put your family first,” Blount said of what Noll taught his players. “You provide for your family, try to protect and educate your family, and winning was a part of that. I think Pittsburgh was blessed to have had a guy like Chuck.”