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Greatest NFL Coaches of All Time

Greatest NFL Coaches of All-Time

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

1. Vince Lombardi: It’s hard to have the Super Bowl trophy named after you and not be the greatest. What he did with the Packers is even more unbelievable considering he took over a team that had won 1 of 12 games, then proceeded to win almost three-quarters of the games during his 8-year tenure where he won 5 championships. The most motivational and inspiring presence the league has ever seen.

2. Tom Landry: You can’t mess with 20 straight winning seasons--point blank. The most well-dressed of anyone on this list, the fedora-clad Landry led his team to a quintet of Super Bowls. His 270-178-6 record is even more impressive considering he took over a new franchise that went 0-11-1 in its first season and 18-46-4 in the first 5 seasons. After that, it was mostly gravy for Landry, whose imprint on this franchise played a focal role in making the Cowboys one of the best teams in NFL history.

3. Paul Brown: The originator of the west coast offense, Brown was an innovator and pioneer and one of the true gems on the landscape of NFL history. He coached the Browns for 17 seasons, before taking over the Bengals for 8 seasons. In a quarter-century of coaching, he led his teams to championships 7 times. A team is named after him, he invented the modern face-mask, and he was one of the first coaches to embrace African-American players.

4. Bill Belichick: You don’t have to like him, but you should respect him. One of the brightest football minds in the contemporary era, Belichick has won 3 Super Bowls with a winning percentage of .655, despite 5 of those seasons coming with the struggling Browns. He took over the Patriots in 2000 and after one losing season, they went on a streak of long success. Under Belichick’s rule, the Patriots went from a mid-pack NFL franchise to one of the leagues’ most consistent winners.


5. George Halas: A man who did everything that could be done in football, Halas is a big part of why the NFL is where it is today. His 318 wins speak to his excellence and longevity, as do his 6 NFL Championships. When you think of the Bears, you think of Halas and it’s difficult to find another guy where you can make that close of an association. He was still active as a coach when he became a charter member of the Hall of Fame. He coached for 40 years.

6. Bill Walsh: OK, so he had Joe Montana at his disposal. But it’s not clear who benefitted more--Walsh for having Montana, or Montana for having Walsh. Prior to his days in San Francisco, you wouldn’t see the things Walsh helped bring to the table very often. He helped re-establish the parameters of what offenses were capable of doing. The main modern proponent of the west coast offense turned a long-suffering franchise into a proven winner, despite a 8-24 record in his first two seasons.

7. Don Shula: In a coaching fraternity so packed with legends, winning the most games of all of them has to count for something. But longevity is only part of the equation, with excellence being a major component. The Colts coach for 7 years, Shula went on to become the Dolphins’ head coach for the next 26 seasons. Shula coached in 6 Super Bowls, which is a record, as is his 347 total wins.

8. Joe Gibbs: There aren’t many coaches who did more with less. Gibbs had some fine players, but he also managed to win 3 bowls with 3 different non-Hall of Fame quarterbacks, in addition to having only 4 Hall of Fame players present for all 3 of Gibbs’ Super Bowl wins. One of the best ever in forming a team as a cohesive unit, Gibbs is recognized as one of the great minds in NFL history.

9. Chuck Noll: The only coach on this list to win 4 Super Bowls, one might think Noll deserves a higher placement. But let’s face it, having droves of Hall of Fame players on your team doesn’t hurt. That’s not to say that any old coach could win 4 Super Bowls in 6 seasons and perhaps without Noll, they would have been less of a powerhouse. At the end of the day, winning the Super Bowl is what all coaches are trying to do and no one did that more than Noll.

10. John Madden: Number 10 spot for a guy who only coached 10 seasons seems about right. Make no mistake, however, as Madden accomplished a ton during his tenure with the Raiders. Madden never had a losing season in his 103-32-7 career. His career winning percentage is the best of all-time.

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