Top Ten Greatest NFL Head Coaches
In the 100 seasons of existence of the National Football League, there have been countless head coaches who’ve handled teams. Many were forgotten, and only a few have truly made indelible marks in pro football. Nitrogen Sports Blog lists down 10 of the best NFL head coaches of all time who have made an impact on the field with their football wisdom.
Any list of NFL greats must start with Vince Lombardi. Lombardi’s disciplined, grueling style brought victory to the Green Bay Packers. Not only did they win the first Super Bowl, they went on to win the second as well. His track record led to defining seasons for the Giants, Packers and Redskins.
Although a polarizing figure, Bill Belichick’s record is undeniable. In his time with the New England Patriots, they’ve made it to the Super Bowl nine times. Of those nine, they’ve won six. He is the longest serving head coach in the NFL. With no signs of retiring, Belichick’s records only grow. Belichick’s career is still going, but he’s place in the pantheon of the best NFL coaches of all time has been reserved a long time ago.
Another Packers coach, Lambeau is a football legend. One of the team’s founders, Lambeau served as both a player and the coach. From 1919 to 1929 he played in the halfback position alongside coaching. After that, he settled into a position as head coach. In his 30 years with the Packers, Lambeau led them to hundreds of wins and six championships.
John Madden may be better known for his game commentary. Yet, he holds second place for highest winning percentage of all time at 76.3%. As coach of the Oakland Raiders, Madden brought the team to 1st or 2nd in their conference. In the 1976 season they went beyond to win Super Bowl XI.
Chuck Noll is well-known by Pittsburgh Steelers fans as he coached the Steelers for 23 years. Over that time, he brought them to four Super Bowl wins. Only Bill Belichick has topped that record. Before Noll, the Steelers had gone 36 years with only one postseason game.
In his 33 years as an NFL head coach, Don Shula racked up a considerable list of accomplishments. But one stand-out season tops the rest. In 1972, Shula led the Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in NFL history. Undefeated in regular play, the Dolphins went on to win the Super Bowl and make football history.
It’s one thing to take a mediocre team and coach them to a winning season. Bill Parcells went far beyond that, bringing teams back from utter defeat to success. He lifted three teams from losing seasons to playoff wins. He even took the New York Giants from almost 10 straight years of losing to their first Super Bowl win. Without a doubt, Parcells is one of the best NFL coaches of all time.
Bill Walsh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers changed the direction of the franchise. After an abysmal year in 1978, the 49ers brought on Walsh to change their fortune. In the course of his 10 years coaching, Walsh led the 49ers to three Super Bowl wins.
George Halas founded, owned and coached the Chicago Bears. Aside from a handful of breaks, Halas coached the Bears from 1920 through 1967. In his 40 years of coaching, he suffered only 6 losing seasons. Further, he’s tied with Lambeau and Belichick at 6 NFL championships.
The Dallas Cowboys’ first coach, Tom Landry remains the longest serving for the franchise. A native Texan, Landry built the Cowboys into a powerhouse. Over 20 winning seasons, they went from an unknown team to the top team in the league. His innovative ‘flex defense’ tactic changed the face of modern football. Beyond that, many of his assistants went on to become great coaches in their own right.
Great teams are steered by great coaches. Each of the figures we’ve listed above have had tremendous success in the pro football world. The best NFL coaches of all time have different personalities and philosophies, but shares one defining characteristic — that they are proven winners on the biggest stage. For more lists and football updates, keep checking out Nitrogen Sports Blog.