Ernest Alfred "Ernie" Stautner
(April 20, 1925 � February 16,
Ernie Stautner was a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who
played his entire 14-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1950-63).
Originally selected by Pittsburgh out of Boston College in the second round of the 1950 NFL Draft, the
undersized Stautner (6-1, 230) quickly developed into one of the NFL's most
Stautner's tremendous strength and durability combined
with a rugged and relentless style of play earned him a reputation as one of the
toughest players in NFL history. He earned All-NFL honors four times (1955, '56,
'58 and '59) and played in nine Pro Bowls (1953-54, '56-62). He won the NFL's
Best Lineman Award in 1957.
Stautner became one of the NFL's first impact players
along the defensive line. Though he never won an NFL championship, he
personified the physical, rugged style of play that was associated with the
Steelers' defenses during his era. Stautner's greatness was not measured by
statistics, but by his determination. However, by the time he retired, his three
career safeties tied an NFL record while his 23 opponents' fumbles recovered
ranked third in NFL history.
On October 25,
1964, Stautner had his No. 70
jersey retired by the Steelers, and remains the only player in team history to
have received that honor. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in
1969, his first year of eligibility. In 1982 he was voted to the Steelers'
50th anniversary team.
After retiring as a player, Stautner began a career as
an NFL coach. He was a member of Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys coaching staff for
23 years (1966-88). During that time he served as the club's defensive line
coach from 1966-72 before adding the duties of defensive coordinator in
1973. Under his direction, the Cowboys consistently fielded excellent
defenses, ranking in the NFL's top-10 16 times � including 10 top-five finishes
� and producing All-Pro defensive linemen like Bob Lilly, George Andrie, Harvey
Martin, Randy White, Ed Jones and John Dutton.
The Cowboys' famed "Doomsday Defense" began to emerge
shortly after Stautner's arrival as defensive line coach in 1966. Stautner also
helped fashion "Doomsday II," which carried Dallas to its second Super Bowl title in
Ernie was born in Prinzing-by-Cham, Bavaria, on April
20, 1925, but grew up in Albany, N.Y. Following a World War II Marine Corps
hitch from 1943-46, he enrolled at Boston College and developed into a two-way