John on Chuck Noll

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I don’t think there was a phony bone in his body.

My favorite Chuck Noll comment came in response to a question posed to him by Pittsburgh Press columnist Phil Musick. Actually, it wasn’t a question. It was a comment. By then, the press conferences had been moved to a conference room in the Steelers’ office. Noll sat at the head of a long table and fielded questions from 10 or 12 reporters. There was still no live TV or radio coverage. It was a Monday in 1981, the day after a 38-10 win over the New York Jets.  Noll didn’t believe in pulling his starting quarterback when the Steelers got a big lead. He said he didn’t like the message it sent to the rest of the team, and he didn’t think it was a good idea to make a backup come in cold off the bench.

So, Terry Bradshaw was still at quarterback for the Steelers when they had a 38-3 lead in the fourth quarter.

Musick said, “I talked to some of the Jets coaches, and they said they thought you were rubbing their noses in it a little bit.”

Noll got an impatient look on his face, and said, “I didn’t see any white flags.”

Perfect answer.

End of discussion.