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Ray Bob’s Ring

Ever seen somebody with a ring on their finger that’s so ostentatious it reminds you of a Super Bowl champion’s? Recently that subject got broached in a conversation, bringing to mind Ray Bob Oldham.

Jim Mcnulty always invited Ray Bob to be his guest at a certain Member-Guest golf tournament. They were close friends, had a lot of fun together — even wore matching outfits — and they played golf well.

Playing in one of those Member-Guest tournaments I met Ray Bob at the smoker. That’s when I noticed his ring. Given the size of the thing, I’m thinking, you’re kidding me.

Not being socially equipped to leave things alone, particularly when fueled by several beverages, I told Ray Bob, “I suppose you won a Super Bowl.”

He smiled: “Yep. I did.”

Gulp!

Turned out he played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers — mostly the nickel back and on special teams if I recall — and earned his ring during 1978 season. All told, he spent six years in the NFL, also playing for the Colts, Lions, Giants.

Years after meeting Ray Bob, he gave me insight for Steel Dynasty: The Team that Changed thethe following anecdote about Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll:

Noll wasn’t the warmest of men in the locker room, but occasionally he would allow his dry sense of humor to slip through. Prior to the start of the game, Oldham sat at his locker wrapping white tape around his shoes to spat them, a practice he’d followed since his college days. Just when he was finishing, Noll walked by and noticed Oldham’s shoes.

“Ray Bob, what the hell are you doing?” Noll said.

“Spatting my shoes like I’ve always done,” Oldham said.

“That’s like putting white walls on a dump truck,” said Noll as he moved on.

Ray Bob had an infectious personalty and made friends easily. He also could say he had been a part of a special team that had won the big one. One simple knock of his ring to the table could prove it.

Sadly, Ray Bob died of a heart attack in 2005.

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography