Fri, 27 Jan 2023

The day two Hall of Fame careers began

The Steelers
22 Jan 2023, 05:30 GMT+10

Teresa Varley

On this day in Steelers history two Hall of Famers became Steelers when Bill Cowher was hired and Ernie Stautner was drafted.

January 21, 1992

Coach Bill Cowher hired

Bill Cowher was introduced as the 15th head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers on this day 30 years ago, succeeding Chuck Noll, who had led the Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships during his tenure.

Cowher, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, never sought to replace Noll, but instead to carry on the tradition that he had established.

"Chuck Noll is a legend, and it would be a mistake to ignore that success," said Cowher during his introductory press conference. "It's something we won't try to put behind us but will try to build on."

Cowher spent 15 seasons as the Steelers coach, leading the team to postseason appearances in each of his first six seasons, tying an NFL record. In his 15-year tenure the Steelers made 10 postseason appearances, won eight division titles, played in six AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XL.

Cowher ended his Steelers career with an overall record of 161-99-1 (.619), including a 149-90-1 (.623) mark in the regular season.

Cowher's success is well documented and earned him enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020.

"I came to Pittsburgh (as the coach of the Steelers) at the age of 34," said Cowher during his Hall of Fame speech. "I knew of the tradition and the expectation of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I grew up there, so I knew what Chuck Noll and his 1970s Steelers did in revitalizing the Pittsburgh area, but what I didn't know was how to work on the inside. Who were the Rooneys? Well, in my 15 years as a head coach, I grew in every aspect of my life. There was a visionary leader, who never missed a teaching moment and inspired those around him. The Rooney family core values were always about family, community, and just do the right thing. Isn't that what this Hall of Fame family is all about?"

January 21, 1950

Ernie Stautner selected in NFL Draft

The NFL Draft wasn't something that garnered primetime television attention back in the 1950s, but it was a time when future Hall of Famers would be selected.

With their second-round pick in the 1950 NFL Draft the Steelers selected defensive tackle Ernie Stautner.

Stautner won the NFL's Best Lineman Award in 1957 and he earned All-NFL honors nine times, despite being considered undersized. He missed just six games during his 14-year career, never letting numerous injuries slow him down.

Stautner's No. 70 was retired in 1964, a deserving honor for a legend, and the first of only three players to have his jersey retired, the others being Joe Greene's No. 75 and Franco Harris' No. 32. Stautner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

"For 14 years, Ernie was not only Pittsburgh's greatest lineman, but one of the greatest linemen in professional football," said Art Rooney Sr., Stautner's Hall of Fame presenter. "For nine years he was chosen for the all-pro game and then I was trying to recollect in the 14 years that he played for us had he ever missed a game and I can't remember him ever missing a game.

"Not only did Ernie play defensive football for us but many times when the going got rough, which was often, he played offense too. He's been a credit to all athletes, and certainly been a credit to professional sports."

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