Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw joined The Fan Morning Show on 93.7 The Fan Monday, and opened up about his complicated relationship with his former head coach, Chuck Noll.
It has been well documented that the two Steelers legends did not always see eye-to-eye. Bradshaw distanced himself from Noll after retired from his playing career, and skipped out on the latter’s funeral, a decision he does not regret. Bradshaw attributes their strained relationship on a clash of styles and Noll’s inability to “handle” the then young passer.
“The first 10-15 years after (my retirement) I was pissed, I’m not going to lie to you,” Bradshaw said. “He is no longer with us on this earth and there are so many wonderful things that Chuck did for me. But he did not know how to handle me.
“When I really sat down and had a conversation with myself, I said, ‘He probably saw in me this naïve momma’s boy, aw shucks, doesn’t study enough, for him anyway. He’s gotta toughen me up. He’s gonna break me down and get me hard so I can handle the NFL.’ I’m going to go with that because that’s the only thing that makes sense. Or else why would he have treated me that way?”
Bradshaw also added that Noll was not exactly a people person, which he believes attributed to their challenging rapport by making life uncomfortable.
“I don’t think he was socially comfortable with people, especially strangers,” Bradshaw said. Whenever he would walk into the coffee room and I was sitting there with coffee I would, and this is not true but, I would break out into a sweat and say, ‘I’ve got to get the hell out of here.’ It was just uncomfortable. Always uncomfortable.”
“The way he talked to me, just God nobody talks to their starting quarterback like that. Nobody knows about it, nobody will ever know about it. But I had a hard time with that and I was angry with him.”
While their differing styles certainly clashed, Bradshaw did admit that their were some good times and that he learned a lot from Noll.
“I’m not going to sit here on your talk show and not mention the fact that when my hands were freezing, he took them and put them in his pants,” Bradshaw joked. “And some of the conversations we had. ‘We’re not going to win this game unless you do what you do best and throw the ball deep.’ ‘You’re in charge of this, if you’re having a hard time with it let me know.’
“I learned from Chuck toughness. I had to create in me this nasty guy to survive. I didn’t like that person and it still carries over today. It’s just not me. But I did and I survived and went on. … So while I had a hard time with him, that’s OK. He was a great coach, man.”
The Noll-Bradshaw duo proved one of the most successful in NFL history winning four Super Bowls together. Noll’s 193 career wins are the ninth-most by a head coach in league history. Bradshaw is second in Steelers franchise history in passing yards (27,989), touchdowns (212), completions (2,025) and wins (107), trailing only Ben Roethlisberger.