Posted on June 15, 2012 - by ChuckFinder
It’s all because of the blasted cigars.
Ralph Berlin blames and embraces the Chief at the same time.
Art Rooney Sr. is the reason for his expensive habit. Art Rooney Sr. is the reason for his quarter-century of wonderful times with the Steelers, the four rings, the countless memories, the health problems (well, not most of them) and the affinity for fine cigars.
When Berlin came to the Steelers in 1968, while Bill Austin was still coach, he admittedly smoked the cheap stogies. The Chief gave him the good stuff from among the Frank Sinatra collection, the ones that the Chairman of the Board sent expressly for the Steelers’ owner. Talk about your victory cigars.
No wonder Berlin loved the Chief. Didn’t mind Sinatra so much, either.
Amid tales of lighting up and fetching cigars across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel in the Jenkins Arcade, Berlin helped to care and nurture the health of the Steelers through the Chuck Noll administration and into Bill Cowher‘s rookie year as head coach.
“Greatest man I ever knew,” Berlin said of the Chief. “I really feel like he was the father I never had.”
Noll was one of the smartest man he ever knew — more than a championship coach, he sure could suggest the proper wine to give as a gift.
Cowher was a motivator where Noll was a teacher.
And the ’70s?
“I enjoyed coming to work. It was a box of chocolates. Something was going to happen every day.”
Berlin told some tales about so many of the stars of those Steelers years, the tale behind Dwight White’s Super Bowl IX illness, the filming of “Black Sunday” and much, much more.
Behind the scenes, folks relate great stories.
Here’s hoping I don’t get in their way in the book.
Next “The Steelers Encyclopedia” blog: Friday, June 22