In the spirit of everything Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, an award in honor of a legendary HOF Coach will be presented to youth football programs.
The honor will be presented to youth football programs in every state that exemplify the values of football: commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence. As he taught America’s favorite sport, the Pro Football Hall of Fame explained that legendary Hall of Fame coach CHUCK NOLL personified these timeless values, which are foundational to the game and championed by Pro Football Hall of Fame and USA Football.
According to a press release, leagues that earn the Chuck Noll Hall of Fame “Game for Life” Award will be recognized for their commitment to coaching education; best practices in player safety; teaching lessons about how to win rather than emphasizing winning; and nurturing a culture that celebrates preparation, discipline, accountability and respect through the fun and fitness of football and how it applies to success beyond the field.
These winning attributes parallel the philosophies for which Coach Noll stood and are supported for the good of young athletes by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, USA Football, DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation’s Sports Matter program, Riddell and Adidas.
Each of the 50 recognized youth leagues will receive:
- $500 equipment grant from Riddell and USA Football;
- $500 gift card from DICK’S Sporting Goods
- $500 gift card from Adidas.
In addition, one youth league selected from the 50 winners also will be honored with the “Gold Prize,” consisting of:
- $10,000 Sports Matter grant from The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; and
- $5,000 Riddell/USA Football Equipment Grant.
“Chuck Noll taught me to be a smarter, better and safer player,” stated Merril Hoge, the NFL Legend (Running Back, 1987-1993 Steelers; 1994 Chicago Bears) who was a driving force behind creating the award in his former coach’s name. “I see the fundamentals that he taught me years ago continuing today through USA Football’s ‘Heads Up Football’ program. We need to honor and reward youth leagues dedicated to their kids, teaching the sport’s values and fundamentals the right way. Earning an award with Chuck Noll’s name on it is one of the highest honors that a community can receive.”
Noll, who passed away in 2014, transformed the Pittsburgh Steelers from a downtrodden franchise to one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. He built his teams through the draft and focused on developing his players. Noll compiled a 209-156-1 record during his 23 seasons as the Steelers head coach (1969-1991) and led them to four Super Bowl titles (IX, X, XIII and XIV) over a six-year period. Noll played linebacker for seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns before embarking on a coaching career that earned him a bronzed bust in Canton.
Noll concluded his Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement speech in 1993 with these words, “I can’t tell you how much you can gain, how much progress you can make by working as a team, by helping one another. You get much more done that way and if there is anything the Steelers in the ’70s epitomized, I think it was teamwork.”
The Chuck Noll Hall of Fame “Game for Life” Award selection panel is comprised of Hoge; USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck; and two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s staff, Vice President of Character Development Michael Muñoz; and Director of Youth/Education Jerry Csaki.
Michaela Madison Reporting