Blog Entry

A Tradition of Building Success

Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:59 am

 When the Steelers organization hired Chuck Noll to be their head coach in 1969, a tradition was started.  Noll, along with the Rooney’s had chosen to build the team up in the draft instead of focusing on acquisitions through free agency.  The new head coach for the Steelers would use his very first draft pick in the NFL to acquire defensive tackle, Joe Greene.  In the years to follow, he’d use his first round draft picks for quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris. 

Through his tenure as coach, Chuck Noll would continue to pull in high caliber talent utilizing the draft.  His most memorable draft, considered the best draft not only in franchise history, but also in the history of the NFL would be in 1974, when four of his picks that year would go on to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. In that draft class, were the likes of Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.  No other team in the history of the NFL had a draft that netted four HOF players before or after that 74 draft. 

The Steelers would go on to win four Superbowls with this philosophy with Noll, becoming the first dynasty in a Superbowl era NFL.  After Noll retired, the Steelers organization would continue on with the mindset of build their team through the draft.  The teams under Bill Cowher would go on to win 8 division titles, two AFC Championship titles and one Superbowl ring. 

Once Bill Cowher retired, enter former Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, Mike Tomlin.  Tomlin would take over the slot of  Steelers, after an .500 season.  His position would be any head coaches dream.  An organization that provided stability for it’s head coaches, and a team that was not hanging together by chicken wire and glue, but that had a solid veteran leadership and lots of young talent in the wings waiting to step in, thanks to the draft. 

Tomlin, in his first year as the Steelers head coach would advance into the first round of the playoffs, in his second year, have a Superbowl ring and going into his third year, poised to do a repeat, due to the low number of turnover through free agency, and the backfill available through previous drafts. 

Come this weekend, eyes will be on New York City and the NFL draft.  Most fans will be hoping for this person or that to drop to their team to fill immediate needs.  If you’ve been a long time Steelers fan, like many of us, you know that you’re not going to end up with what you believe the Steelers should pick, and we may end up cursing Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert as to why he felt he had to pickup ANOTHER tight end in the draft, or why go so high for a punter, or why not use the first round to shore up the offensive line.  Somehow though the picks seem to work out for the best.

Don’t expect an exciting draft for the Black and Gold.  Steelers will more then likely draft for the future and not “immediate” needs. But then, that’s how the Steelers have had such success since bringing in Chuck Noll, by building a team to be winners, not bringing in winners to build a team. 


Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: April 25, 2009 10:12 am

A Tradition of Building Success

Morning Mom...

Excellent post... as always you bring a sense of calm... and on a day like today when all 32 teams have a chance to make their moves to become the next great team... calm is not something you see a lot of...

Being a Steeler fan, the draft has always been a day in which we look to the future with wide eyes... anticipating the next great Steeler... now we have had our share of disappointments along the way, but the Steelers have that sense of calm on this important day... not one to 'cannon-ball' into the draft pool... we usually take our time, slip into the pool with barely a ripple... if by chance we do jump in, it is more of a swan dive... well thought out, systematic and precise... the trade up to get Troy Polamalu comes to mind, or maybe Santonio Holmes... we see what we want, we target it and we go get it...

Today selecting from the 32nd slot, we in all likelihood will remain in that spot... gentle join the party after 5 or so hours of chaos and select a player that will fit in our system... he might be a defensive lineman like Ziggy Hood??? he could be a center like Alex Mack??? maybe a corner like Vontae Davis??? one thing for sure he will be the luckiest of all the players selected on Saturday... he joins the Super Bowl Champions Pittsburgh Steelers...

Players will never say that they want to go to this team or to that team, until they get drafted, but you have to think that when a player gets selected by a team that they do not like... see John Elway and his I am going to play baseball tirade, they have to die just a little bit... many if not all players have favorite teams, they have situations that they would prefer... maybe as a youngster they rooted for a team, maybe they like a coach, maybe it is as simple as the weather... but in all my years, I have never heard a player or seen a player have that look of "I am going where?" when selected by he Steelers...

So begins the 2009 NFL season... I wish nothing but the best to all the draft hopefuls out there... my heart goes out to the last guy remaining in the dreaded green room... but most of all I am looking forward to having another young man join the Steeler Nation!!!

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