Over a century has passed since seven important men held a meeting inside an auto showroom in Canton, Ohio to talk about the formation of the American Professional Football Association, which later came to be known as the National Football League. Since that time, there have been many league-defining moments during its long history, and below we have discussed some of those moments that have changed the NFL forever.
1- Chuck Noll’s 1974 draft
We all know Pittsburgh Steelers as one of the most successful teams in the NFL, who are currently tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles. However, what most people do not know is that they weren’t always such high achievers. In fact, the Black and Gold’s early four decades were fairly grim, and they saw a huge improvement in their fortunes only after the arrival of Coach Chuck Noll in 1969.
The Ohio-born coach’s most remarkable talent was in his draft selections; with his 1974 draft is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of sports.
The Steelers picked wide receiver Lynn Swann in the first round, and in the second, they took linebacker Jack Lambert. They also selected wide receiver John Stallworth and center Mike Webster in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively, thus picking four Hall of Famers in just one draft.
No wonder, they clinched four of the next six Super Bowls in what was a golden period for the Steelers.
2- ‘Air Coryell’
You may bring all the stats and trophies to argue about who the greatest coaches in the NFL were. However, if you are mainly considering a coach’s influence on the game, then you can never exclude Don Coryell’s name.
The Seattle-born trainer landed his first NFL gig with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 after impressing with his coaching skills at San Diego State. That was the time when the running game and play-action passing were standard in the league.
However, he took his pass-happy offense to the Cardinals and that changed the game for the better. Under Coryell, the Redbirds’ quarterback Jim Hart made it to four consecutive Pro Bowls.
He then went to take the important position at San Diego Chargers in 1978 and transformed QB Dan Fouts. The California-born player had won nothing in his first five NFL seasons but during the legendary coach’s tenure, he went on to garner incredible successes. Fouts went to six Pro Bowls and was later inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993. Such a huge turnaround in these times would have been absolutely shocking for any regular casino online punter who dedicatedly follows all the matches and possesses a rich knowledge of the game.
The ‘Air Coryell’ offense became so popular that it has now become a part of almost every offense in the famous league. The NFL would have been very different if it wasn’t for Coryell and his innovations.
3- Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense
Bill Walsh carved out a big name for himself in American football. When he took over the San Francisco 49ers, the team was in absolute shambles. And though they didn’t see an improvement within his first season, Walsh managed to convince the hierarchy to buy into his philosophy and that made all the difference. He drafted Joe Montana, the three times Super Bowl MVP from Notre Dame, and won the first Super Bowl title for the 49ers in 1981.
He went on to win two more championships in the 1984 and 1988 seasons before handing the reigns to his assistant coach George Seifert in 1989 who would also clinch two more titles for the team.
Walsh is credited with popularizing the West Coast Offense that greatly influenced how the game was played in the 1980s. The legendary coach also played a great role in the illustrious careers of Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice.
4- Elway refuses the Baltimore Colts
In the 1983 Draft, the Baltimore Colts selected one of the greatest football prospects of all time- John Elway. Frank Kush’s side had just suffered one of their worst seasons and that move was viewed to bring some great improvement in the team.
However, Elway didn’t want to play for the Colts and he had made it abundantly clear to them. Still, that didn’t stop them from selecting him. Despite facing a lot of criticisms, the former American football quarterback remained firm in his decision. The Colts ultimately gave in to his demands and traded him to the Denver Broncos.
Elway went on to achieve great success at the Broncos who went to five Super Bowls with the legendary player. While the Colts didn’t win a playoff game until the 1995 season.