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Old 02-13-2006, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default A story from the 1974 AFC Playoffs

..... I thought this Forum's members might enjoy this story, as it was told to me by Ray Mansfield, who centered the Stillers during their 1st two Super Bowl Championships in 1974 & 1975, about something that then-coach Chuck Noll said before the playovs began.....

..... in '74, the Stillers opened the playoffs at-home, vs. O.J. Simpson and the Buff Bills, playing the early Sunday game that weekend.

The Stillers had their final 'walk-thru' practice early Saturday morning, then went into the lockerroom/clubhouse to unwind and watch the 'other' AFC Divisional Game, between Miami and Oakland, on TV:
Miami had won the previous 2 Super Bowls, going undefeated in 1972, having their winning streak snapped by Oakland early in 1973.....

this game had many of the 'name' players of the day in it, and most 'experts' figured the winner of this game would adavance to Super Bowl IX in New Orleans, and beat whoever the NFC representative was.....

Several players were sprawled-out, watching the game, when, out-of-nowhere, Coach Chuck Noll himself walks into the room, sits down, and calmly asks:
"Whatcha doin' ?"

Noll wasn't understood by many players at that time:
a certified teacher, he was a chef, wine authority, a poet, and a pilot:
he also wasn't a 'motivator', NEVER giving 'rah rah'-type speeches, but was rather known as a 'disciplinarian-and-educator', instead relying on self-disciplined, self-motivated, highly intelligent players to carry-out his game-plans.
(even 30+ years later, nobody recognizes how 'intellectual' Noll's teams were..... they are still thought-of as 'short-sleeved' guys, who hit with a vengence, but they trap-blocked better than any team before OR since )


ANYHOW.......


Noll sits and watches 15 minutes of the Raiders/Dolphins game with his players, who are stunned to have Noll being 'one-of-them'
(the game is one of the greatest games in NFL history, with Oakland winning late 28-26, on a Stabler lob to Davis in the back of the end-zone as he is being sacked, with Davis catching the ball between 3 Dolphin defenders )

The NBC announcers of the day, probably Merlin Olsen and **** Enberg, are going on-and-on about "these two great teams, playing for football supremacy" , when Noll abruptly gets-up from his chair, and walks to the door, saying to no-one in particular, without making eye-contact or looking at anyone:
" ..... what most of America doesn't realize yet..... is that the BEST professional football team in the world..... just had their final walk-thru practice..... ",
turned the corner, and left the room.....

The assembled players sat in stunned silence for several minutes, until one of the players quietly asked Ray Mansfield:
" Did he jes' say..... what I think he jes' said? "

Itwas as-if a father had said to his son
"You ARE a man now."

For the next 6 seasons, the Stillers walked thru the NFL with a swagger rarely seen before, but NEVER forgot to take every opoponent seriously, and the results speak for themselves.


I hope the people who chose to read this appreciate that story as much as I do:

Sincerely, Glen.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

thats a killer story. reminds me of the one that nfl films shows. maybe it was at training camp and there were 2 players who roomed together and one of them had a guitar and was playing it as c. noll walked by, came into the room and told them to give him the guitar. they did and he busted off a nice little riff, handed the guitar back and just walked out. the story is they were amazed cause noone knew he could or would actually play the guitar.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Good story. To be a little picky, 'cuz I'm old enough to remember those days firsthand, it was Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis on NBC. Gowdy used to drive my dad nuts with his buttering up the Raiders. I believe there was a John Madden quote - "That was it - the best against the best!" after that game.

Madden and the Raiders learned the hard way who was the best the next week.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Clean
Good story. To be a little picky, 'cuz I'm old enough to remember those days firsthand, it was Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis on NBC. Gowdy used to drive my dad nuts with his buttering up the Raiders. I believe there was a John Madden quote - "That was it - the best against the best!" after that game.

Madden and the Raiders learned the hard way who was the best the next week.
You're absolutely right, it WAS Gowdy and DeRogatis, who admitted in later years he suffered from glocoma (spelling ), or limited vision (due to diabetes? ).


Upon further review, Olsen & Enberg probably didn't pair-up @ NBC until the '76/'77 season (? ):
thanks for the memory-jogger.

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Old 02-13-2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Great story. I also remember several different players from those teams saying, all in their own way, over several different interviews over the years that those teams just KNEW in the locker room before a big game that they were gonna win. They never went undefeated during the season, and they lost a few big games along the way, but when the lightning struck, they all knew it even before it hapened that they were gonna win the football game that day...
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suitanim
Great story. I also remember several different players from those teams saying, all in their own way, over several different interviews over the years that those teams just KNEW in the locker room before a big game that they were gonna win. They never went undefeated during the season, and they lost a few big games along the way, but when the lightning struck, they all knew it even before it hapened that they were gonna win the football game that day...
thats gotta be attributed to c. noll. its not like those players were alot of high profile guys coming out of top notch college programs. its weird how noll still takes a back seat to coaches who have won fewer titles.
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest
its weird how noll still takes a back seat to coaches who have won fewer titles.
Noll never went out-of-his-way to promote himself:
he often said
"Let the PLAYERS get the endorsements..... their time is limited in the spotlight"

What would America's opinion of Noll been had he coached that team in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles?
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

Leaviing aside what you think of his political views, devoted Steelers fan Rush Limbaugh once was asked on some NFL Films spot which NFL coach would have been a good President.

Limbaugh responded as follows - "Noll, because he didn't care who got the credit."
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: A story from the 1974 AFC Playovs

This story is true....I didn't read the whole thread, but the players called it "The Speech"
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