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To Chuck Noll, the Original Die-Hard.
I was asked once what it meant to be a die-hard fan. What it actually meant. You hear the sentiment tossed around all over the sports world and especially in football. I get the feeling that because of its frequent use the term loses its meaning. We have experienced a great loss within the past week. I hope that my words will be able to live up to the legacy that Chuck Noll has so selflessly provided.
A fan, under normal circumstances, is defined as an enthusiastic devotee or ardent admirer. One who willingly allocates time and energy the craft they love. To know and understand all that they can about their team. However, when it comes to a die-hard fan, the term becomes more involved than that. Much, much more. A die-hard feels they are a part of their team, sharing an emotional connection.
When a teammate is injured or traded away, we feel as though we’ve lost a part of the family. Injuries, accidents, record-setting, and team members’ birthdays are celebrated just as much as our own. And above all else, the single most essential fact that can differentiate us from the rest of the cheering world… We stay involved when the chips are down… When the years and years of losing seasons seem to never end and Murphy’s Law is in full effect.
Believing in yourself and in each other. A true fan never sways in times of misfortune. We never fail to see that no matter what outside circumstances surround the plight, your utter confidence and faith will shine. A die-hard is as much as member of the team as the QB, and quite possibly more important. For without us, there is no team. There is no desire, intensity, passion, or will.
Die-hard fans are always there. We’ll never abandon. I bleed black and gold. No matter what my Steelers go through I will support them indefinitely. Without question I, along with over an estimated 1 million members of Steeler Nation, will follow them through the annals of time. I do not doubt, not for one second, the loyalty and intensity of my brothers and sisters of the Burgh.
The sea of Terrible Towels we see flying all across this great nation isn’t just a show of pride, but an insatiable and unifying bond among the strongest family known to man. Chuck is more than just a coach. He is a mentor, a life coach, and a father figure. Everyone is special to him. There wasn’t a single person that he knew in his life that he valued above anyone else, save for his wife. A saint to the city of Pittsburgh who has touched and impacted lives across the world, Chuck used his unwavering dedication to create a legacy. One born through grit, determination, and hard work that will remain untarnished for as long as football remains.
I invite all of Steeler Nation to pause, take a moment, and raise a glass the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Chuck Noll.