Bill Cowher won the affection of Steelers Nation because the fist-pumping, Chin Out, spit in your face coach acted out what every fan felt.
Chuck Noll personified stoicism. Noll neither ranted nor raved, didn’t high five, and rarely raised his voice. His glare, however, could melt iron.
The news of the NFL this week was of course the post-game handshake fracas between Jim (don’t call him John) Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz.
Nice little bit of three-penny theater no doubt, but seriously, is this the best you can do guys?
Back in the old AFC Central, head coaches knew how to call one another out.
On December 20th 1987 the Steelers traveled to the Houston Astrodome in a must-win game vs. the Oilers. The Steelers of course lost that day 24-16.
But that’s not what angered Chuck Noll. Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville was new the league, and made little pretension about being one of the league’s bad boys.
Glanville, it was accused, not only encouraged his men to hit hard, but to attempt to injure. After the game, Noll let him know what he thought about it (need to wait 20 seconds):
It took a lot to get a rise out of Chuck Noll, but Jerry Glanville did it. It’s hard to know what he said, but one can almost discern “go after your as_.”
The Post-Gazette ran an AP article at the time which reported that Noll said such “tactics “will come back to haunt you. I’m serious.’” The Post-Gazette as reorted that Noll had also apparently issued a challenge via Oilers cornerback Steve Brown to go toe-to-toe with Glanville on the slide lines.
The Chuck Noll – Jerry Glanville feud would rage on for three more seasons, with Glanville’s Oiler’s delivering some bitter beatings at Three Rivers Stadium in ’88 and ’89, and Noll striking back with stunning upsets in 1988 and of course in the 1989 Steelers Divisional Playoff victory over the Oilers at the Astrodome which cost Glanville his job.
It Harbaugh vs. Schwarts made for good television, no doubt.
But those guys were amateurs.
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