Ernest Alfred "Ernie" Stautner

Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End/Tackle

(April 20, 1925 � February 16, 2006)

 

 

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 outstanding players.

 

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 1977.

 

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 star lineman.