The role of a coach in any sport is vital. They do not perform in the field, but their contribution is reflected in the field. They share their experience with the youngsters and help them grow. They prepare great players and legends.
The NFL is a highly competitive tournament, so coaches have to play a great role. They coordinate, instruct, motivate, and organize the teams. But not everyone can master all the characteristics. In contrast, some excel so much that they become legendary.
In this article, we are featuring the 10 best NFL coaches of all time who were ahead of their time. They could manage their teams very well and could understand the potential of a player.
Best NFL Coaches of All Time
|Coach Name||Coaching Years||Teams Coached|
|Bill Belichick||1991-present||Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots|
|Vince Lombardi||1959-1967||Green Bay Packers|
|Don Shula||1963-1995||Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins|
|Paul Brown||1946-1975||Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals|
|Joe Gibbs||1981-2007||Washington Redskins|
|Bill Walsh||1979-1988||San Francisco 49ers|
|Tom Landry||1960-1988||Dallas Cowboys|
|Chuck Noll||1969-1991||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|George Halas||1920-1967||Chicago Bears|
|Curly Lambeau||1919-1953||Green Bay Packer|
These coaches were masters at their duties. They led their teams to many victories and helped many young talents. Let’s check them out in detail.
1. Bill Belichick
|Full name||William Stephen Belichick|
|Date of birth||April 16, 1952|
|Place of birth||Nashville, Tennessee|
|Super Bowl wins||6 times: VI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI|
|Coach of the Year||2003, 2007|
|Hall of Fame||Eligible in 2024|
|Coaching record||311-143 (.685)|
|Date of death||N/A|
Bill Belichick is a living legend of pro Football. He first started his coaching career in 1991 and is still working. Though many speculated that he is going to retire this season, he proved them wrong. At the age of 70, he is still a workhorse.
With six Super Bowl wins, he is one of the most successful coaches. Belichick coached for two teams- Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. He helped both of these teams to flourish, but he will always be remembered for his contribution to the New England Patriots.
Belichick has led the Patriots to eight NFL championship wins. In his long career, he has coached players like Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi, and Richard Seymour. And many other great players.
With such a legendary career, no doubt he deserves the no.1 spot among the best NFL coaches of all time.
2. Vince Lombardi
|Full name||Vincent Thomas Lombardi|
|Date of birth||June 11, 1913|
|Place of birth||Brooklyn, New York|
|Super Bowl wins||II, I (Green Bay Packers)|
|NFL Championship wins||5 times: 1961, 62, 65, 66, 67|
|Coach of the Year||4 times: 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1971|
|Coaching record||105-35-6 (.738)|
|Date of death||September 3, 1970|
Are you surprised to see Vince Lombardi so high on the list? Well, you have the right to that. Lombardi had a very short career of only eight years as a head coach. In contrast, you must have noticed some of the others had much longer careers.
But we are not talking about the longest career, are we? When it comes to bringing success, and grooming players, Lombardi is on top of the game. His run with the Green Bay Packers was iconic.
He joined as the head coach for the Packers in 1959 and remained in the position till 1967. During this time, he helped the Packers win five NFL championships. They had the most success in this decade.
Lombardi groomed players like Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Jerry Kramer, and Willie Davis, who themselves became legends in the game. His success won him four coaches of the year awards, including in 1959, the very first year of his career as a head coach.
So, what do you think? Doesn’t he deserve to be on this spot? He surely does with so much success in a very short period of time. Therefore, he holds the number two spot in our 10 best NFL coaches of all time.
3. Don Shula
|Full name||Donald Francis Shula|
|Date of birth||January 4, 1930|
|Place of birth||Grand River, Ohio|
|Super Bowl wins||VII, VIII (Miami Dolphins)|
|Coach of the Year||1964, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1993|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1997|
|Coaching record||328-156-6 (.677)|
|Date of death||May 4, 2020|
Don Shula had a long career of over three decades as a coach. Under his leadership, the Miami Dolphins won two Super Bowls championships. In his coaching career, he won 328 games with a W/L ratio of .677.
Shula was a great leader and motivator. He coached players like Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, and many others and helped them become legendary players. He retired in 1995 as a coach and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach in 1997.
4. Paul Brown
|Full name||Paul Eugene Brown|
|Date of birth||September 7, 1908|
|Place of birth||Norwalk, Ohio|
|NFL Championship wins||3 times: 1950, 54, 55|
|Coach of the Year||None|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1967|
|Coaching record||213-104-9 (.672)|
|Date of death||August 5, 1991|
Did the table surprise you? Well, do not get tricked by stats. Though Brown never was named the coach of the year, he is one the best NFL coaches of all time. He led the Cleveland Browns to seven NFL championship wins.
In his nearly thirty years long career, he coached more than 300 games and won 203 of them, making a win-loss ratio of 0.672. Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Lou Groza, Marion Motley, Dante Lavelli, and many other great players learned from him.
Brown was also the co-founder of the team, and part of the name of the team was named after him. The founding coach took the Browns to a height that they became a favorite in the competition. After his retirement, the Browns were not as dominant as they used to be. Brown will be remembered for his contribution to making the Cleveland Browns so dominating.
5. Joe Gibbs
|Full name||Joe Jackson Gibbs|
|Date of birth||November 25, 1940|
|Place of birth||Mocksville, North Carolina|
|Super Bowl wins||3 times: XVII, XXII, XXVI|
|Coach of the Year||1982, 1983, 1991|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1996|
|Coaching record||154-94 (.621)|
|Date of death||N/A|
Not many coaches have won the Super Bowl three or more times. Only four have earned such a feat, and Joe Gibbs is one of them. He coached the Washington Redskins for sixteen years and won four NFL championships as well.
He won 154 games and lost only 94 matches. He was the coach of the year three times. He first retired in 1992 and was honored with the Hall of Fame induction in 1996. He rejoined his position in 2004 and continued till 2007.
6. Bill Walsh
|Full name||William Ernest Walsh|
|Date of birth||November 30, 1931|
|Place of birth||Los Angeles, California|
|Super Bowl wins||3 times: XVI, XIX, XXIII|
|Coach of the Year||1981, 1984, 1985|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1993|
|Coaching record||92-59-1 (.609)|
|Date of death||July 30, 2007|
You may not find Walsh in anyone’s number-one pick among the 10 best NFL coaches of all time. However, you will hardly find a list without him. He was in charge of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1988. The 49ers found much success during these ten years.
Walsh led his time to three NFL championship wins and three Super Bowl wins. Against his 92 wins, there are only 59 losses for him in the NFL. Players like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Roger Craig were trained by him. This legendary coach left the world on July 30, 2007.
7. Tom Landry
|Full name||Thomas Wade Landry|
|Date of birth||September 11, 1924|
|Place of birth||Mission, Texas|
|Super Bowl wins||2 times: VI, XII (Dallas Cowboys)|
|Coach of the Year||1966|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1990|
|Coaching record||270-178-6 (.601)|
|Date of death||February 12, 2000|
Tom Landry had one of the longest careers as a coach in the history of pro Football. He started his coaching career in 1960 with the Dallas Cowboys and remained in the position for almost three decades. Under his coaching, the Dallas Cowboys competed in more than 450 games, among which they won 270 games and lost only 178 games.
Landry was named the 1966 coach of the year. He groomed players as great as Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, and Randy White. Landry received the Hall of Famer recognition in 1990, after his retirement in 1988. Landry passed away in February 2000, leaving behind an inspirational life.
8. Chuck Noll
|Full name||Charles Henry Noll|
|Date of birth||January 5, 1932|
|Place of birth||Cleveland, OH|
|Super Bowl wins||4 times: IX, X, XIII, XIV|
|Coach of the Year||1 time: 1989|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1993|
|Coaching record||209-156-1 (.572)|
|Date of death||June 13, 2014|
Chuck Noll joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. The team had not won any title in forty years. Noll changed the team’s playing style. He applied a defensive style known as the famous “Steel Curtain.”
Noll was also conscious about drafting the best players into the team. He kept an eye on the high school players. He recruited and trained players like Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth.
Between 1975 and 1981, the Pittsburgh Steelers were unstoppable. In this six-year span, they won the NFL championships four times and four Super Bowls too. Noll became a legendary Steeler for making the team the most dominant side within a very short time.
With his extraordinary defensive approach and the success he brought for the Steelers, Noll certainly belongs to the league of the 10 best NFL coaches of all time.
9. George Halas
|Full name||George Stanley Halas|
|Date of birth||February 2, 1895|
|Place of birth||Chicago, IL|
|NFL Championship wins||8 times: 1921,1932, 1933, 1940, 41, 43, 46, 1963|
|Coach of the Year||1 time: 1956|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1963|
|Coaching record||318-148-31 (.682)|
|Date of death||October 31, 1983|
George Halas had one of the longest coaching careers in the history of the NFL. He won eight NFL championships with the Chicago Bears. From 1920 to 1967, he led the Bears as the head coach, though he took some breaks in between. His 318 wins are the second most wins as a coach in the NFL.
Halas made a record of the oldest person serving as a coach at the age of 72. He gave the NFL players like Red Grange, Walter Payton, Bronko Nagurski, Sid Luckman, and George McAfee. He was one of the first 17 inductees into the Hall of Fame in 1963. The legend passed away in 1983 at the age of 88. The NFL will bear his name always.
10. Curly Lambeau
|Full name||Earl Louis Lambeau|
|Date of birth||April 9, 1898|
|Place of birth||Green Bay, WI|
|NFL Championship wins||6 times: 1929–1931, 36, 39, 1944|
|Coach of the Year||N/A|
|Hall of Fame||Inducted in 1963|
|Coaching record||229-134-22 (.631)|
|Date of death||June 1, 1965|
You must have heard of the famous Lambeau Field, the home ground of the Green Bay Packers. Ever wondered why it is called the Lambeau field? Curly Lambeau had been the coach of the Green Bay Packers for more than three decades! With 229 wins and 134 losses, he holds a win-loss ratio of .631.
Besides, under his leadership, the Packers won six NFL titles. From 1929 to 1931, the Packers won the league title three times in a row. So, it makes sense that they named the stadium after him.
Lambeau had a sharp eye for young talent and knew how to bring the best out of them. He drafted players like Don Hutson, Arnie Herber, Johnny Blood McNally, Clarke Hinkle, Cal Hubbard, and many other great talents and nourished them to reach their full potential.
Because of his contribution to making the Packers one of the favorites, Lambeau was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963.
So, this was the list of the 10 best NFL coaches of all time. These coaches are legends. They transformed their teams into unstoppable forces. They groomed raw talents and gave the NFL some of the best players in the history of the tournament. They will always be remembered because of their contribution to making the NFL one of the most popular sports in the United States.
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