|$70,000 wasn't enough to lure Paterno to Pittsburgh. (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The abrupt end to Joe Paterno's 61-year coaching career at Penn State was national news Wednesday night. But 42 years ago, the winningest coach in Division I history almost left State College for Pittsburgh.
In 1969, a year after going 2-11-1 (and six years removed from their last winning season), the Rooney family offered Paterno $70,000 to coach the Steelers. It was $50,000 more than what the college paid Paterno at the time.
According to "Pittsburgh Steelers: The Complete Illustrated History," Paterno struggled with the decision before eventually declining the Rooney's offer to stay at Penn State.
"It was an awful lot of money, a fantastic offer," Paterno said at the time. "I'd never dreamed of making that much money. Then I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I had put some things out of whack. I haven't done the job I set out to do at Penn State."
The Steelers had to settle for one of Don Shula's assistants down in Miami. Some guy named Chuck Noll, who went on to coach in Pittsburgh for 23 years and led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles. He retired in 1991 with a 209-156-1 record, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
"Hiring Chuck Noll was the best decision we ever made," Dan Rooney said in the book.
Bill Cowher succeeded Noll and coached in Pittsburgh from 1992 to 2006, winning one Super Bowl in 2005. Mike Tomlin was hired in 2007, after Cowher retired, and the Steelers made two Super Bowl appearances in his first four years (winning once in 2008).
hat tip: Shutdown Corner
After a tough loss to the Ravens last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers hope to bounce back as they travel to Paul Brown Stadium to battle the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Jason Horowitz is joined by NFL.com's Pat Kirwan to break down this game.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.