By John Turney
The hardest part is to quantify long and meritorious service for those who didn't win championships and how to compare them to those who coached much fewer years but brought home the hardware. We are most confident in our top ten, but after that, it's judgment calls. We could drop the ones who won a lot of games but no Super Bowls and move up the two-Super Bowl-winning coaches and feel good about it. But, we tried to balance peak versus longevity.
The numbers after the names are: Years—Championships—Winning percentage including playoffs
Key to Awards—
Used by Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the NFL and the Hall of Fame
AP = Associated Press
UPI = United Press International
PFWA = Pro Football Writers of America
SN = Sporting News
PFW = Pro Football Weekly
Other clubs and publications
Kansas City Committee of 101
MC = Maxwell Club of Philadelphia
CTDC = Columbus Touchdown Club
WTD = Washington Touchdown Club
NFLA = NFL Alumni
FN = Football News
GN = Gannett News Service
C&PFNW = College and Pro Football Newsweekly
1. Vince Lombardi-HOF—10—5—.740
Five titles. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him. His "second act" with the Redskins was cut short by an early tragic death. No one knows if he'd have turned the Redskins around so in some ways Lombardi is tops with sort of a "Gale Sayers exception" in that he had, compared to the next set of great coaches, a short career. But while he did it, he was the best.
Lombardi was the Giants offensive coach for most of the 1950s and one thing he did, though we cannot say he invented it or innovated it, but he used Frank Gifford in a number of ways, one of which was as a flanker. He also allowed Gifford to throw some halfback passes. When he took the Green Bay job he had his "Gifford" in Paul Hornung, though he didn't flank him he let Hornung throw ad he did Gifford.
However, what Lombardi was known for were his blocking schemes and the power sweep. He's run, run, and when teams had to honor that Starr would throw deep off of play action. It was not necessarily innovative but even then the NFL was a copycat league and every team began to try and run the Packer sweep.
That lasted well into the 1970s. The Shula Dolphins were a clone of the Lombardi Packers, similar in the plays they ran, the players they acquire. They ran it, use played action, had a good pass rush and played good coverage. The one advantage the Dolphins had was Paul Warfield. The Packers never had anyone like that, though Carroll Dale had good speed. But, we digress.
When he got to Washington he told Sonny Jurgenson "If I had you in Green Bay, we'd have never lost". It would have been interesting to see if Lombardi in the 1970s would have passed more (assuming Jurgenson stayed healthy) than he did in the 1960s. Food for thought.
1959 (AP, UPI), 1961 (SN), 1967 (PFWA) NFL Coach of the Year
Six titles, plus two as a coordinator. In the era of free agency and the salary cap, he's the best coach and no one is close. The only negatives are the allegations of 'Spygate' which still dog him and are often cited by critics.
Belichick has had amazing consistency with his quarterback but everything else was in flux. Different defensive schemes (4-3, 3-4) from year-to-year, even week-to-week sometimes. He's had coordinators leave, come back, leave. From what we've seen he does it as well as it can be done in this era and it's not really close.
What would it take for us to move Bill Belichick to number one on our list? In our view, one more title. And to 100% seal the deal for his haters he could overtake Shula for total wins. He's 55 behind right now (including playoffs), and the last five years he's averaged 15 wins, so if he keeps that up (and it is a big 'if') he could do it mid-season in 2022. That would remove all doubt.
2001 (C&PFNW), 2003 (AP, SN, PFWA, FD), 2007 (AP, SN, PFWA, PFW, MC), 2010 (AP, PFWA) NFL Coach of the Year
2001 (KC101), 2003 (KC101), 2007 (KC101), 2014 (KC101)AFC Coach of the Year
Most of the way things are done by NFL coaches stem from Paul Brown. From film study to the naming of players positions, to how teams train and so on. He won seven titles with the Browns. His second act with the Bengals was okay, but he never got them far into the playoffs.
1949 (SN), 1951 (SN), 1953 (SN), 1957 (UPI), 1969 (AFL-UPI) 1970 (AP, UPI, FN) NFL Coach of the Year
4. Bill Walsh-HOF—10—3 —.617
Like Lombardi, he had a shorter career and he likely left a ring on the table by walking away after 1988. He coached with Stanford after than, but we always thought if you are going to coach, why not stay in NFL?
1981 (AP, SN, PFW, FD, WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1981 (UPI, PFWA, KC101), 1984 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
5. Chuck Noll-HOF—23—4—.572
1979 (CTDC), 1974, (WTD), 1982 (GN), 1989 (MC) NFL Coach of the Year
1972 (UPI), 1976 (FN), 1983 (PFWA), 1989 (PFWA) AFC Coach of the Year
6. Joe Gibbs-HOF—16—3—.629
Later, when the Redskins got Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders Gibbs did open up the offense, using a three-receiver set quite a lot—in 1989 the Redskins had three 1,000 yards receivers for example.
We could have done without his comeback. It added nothing to his legacy.
1982 (AP, SN, PFW, FN), 1983 (AP, SN, PFW, FD, CTDC, WTD), 1986 (WTD), 1991 (SN, PFW) NFL Coach of the Year
1982 (UPI, PFWA), 1983 (PFWA, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
7. Tom Landry-HOF —29—2—.601
1966 (AP, UPI, PFWA, SN), 1975 (FN) NFL Coach of the Year
1975 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
8. Don Shula-HOF —33—2—.665
1964 (AP, UPI, SN), 1967 (AP), 1968 (AP, UPI, PFWA, SN, PFW), 1970 (SN, PFW), 1971 (FN), 1972 (AP, SN, PFW, FN, CTDC), 1973 (FN), 1977 (C&PFNW), 1990 (FN) NFL Coach of the Year
1971 (UPI, PFWA, PFW, KC101), 1972 (PFWA, PFW, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
9. George Halas-HOF—20—2—.609
His last twenty years were .609 and two titles and four losing seasons. If we were to rank him for entire career versus the field he'd be top five.
1963 (AP, UPI, SN), 1965 (AP, UPI, SN) NFL Coach of the Year
He almost got into Hall of Fame in 2001, but a report the week of the Super Bowl that he was talking to the Buccaneers about coaching them ended his candidacy. He complained that the leak cost him the Hall of Fame that year. He eventually got in, but we thought it was a bit sneaky to want to get in the Hall of Fame then coach again so soon, almost like an insurance policy if the job he took went south.
1986 (AP, SN, PFW, FN), 1994 (AP, PFWA, PFW, MC, C&PFNW, FD, GN, CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1984 (UPI), 1986 (UPI, PFWA, KC101, FD), 1994 (UPI, FN), 2003 (KC101) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
11. Hank Stram-HOF—17—2—.573
We count the AFL Championship that didn't have a Super Bowl after it since he won the final game. We don't count 1966 since they lost in the Super Bowl. We do the same for the NFL during the 1960s.
1966 (AP), 1968 (AP, UPI, PFW), 1969 (KC101) AFL Coach of the Year
12. Weeb Ewbank-HOF—20—3—.507
1958 (AP, UPI) NFL Coach of the Year
1968 (PFWA) AFL Coach of the Year
13. Greasy Neale-HOF—10—2—.596
1948 (SN) NFL Coach of the Year
14. Buddy Parker—15—2—.581
1956 (UPI) NFL Coach of the Year
15. Bud Grant-HOF—1 —0—.607
1969 (AP, UPI, PFWA, PFW, SN, KC101) NFL Coach of the Year
1976 (FN) Coach of the Year
16. Marv Levy-HOF—17—0—.562
1988 (SN, CTDC) 1990 (WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1988 (UPI, KC101), 1993 (UPI) AFC Coach of the Year
17. John Madden-HOF—10—1—.731
1969 (PFWA, PFW), 1976 (WTD) AFL/NFL Coach of the Year
18. George Allen-HOF—12—0—.681
1967 (AP, UPI, SN), 1971 (AP, SN, PFW, WTD, CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1971 (UPI, PFWA, KC101), 1976 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
19. Dan Reeves —23—0—.536
1984 (SN, PFW, C&PFNW), 1993 (AP, SN, PFW, CTDC, FD, MC) 1998 (AP, SN, PFWA, PFW, CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1984 (KC101, FN), 1989 (UPI, KC101, FN), 1991 (UPI, KC101, FN), 1993 (UPI, KC101), 1998 (KC101) AFC/NFC Coach of the Year
20. Marty Schottenheimer— 21— 0—.596
1986 (CTDC), 1996 (NFLA), 1997 (CTDC), 2004 (AP, PFWA, PFW, MC) NFL Coach of the Year
1986 (UPI, PFWA, KC101), 1995 (UPI, KC101, FN), 1997 (KC101), 2004 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
21. Chuck Knox —22—0—.550
1973 (AP, SN, PFW, WTD), 1980 (AP, SN, PFW, FD), 1984 (AP, SN, FD) NFL Coach of the Year
1973 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) 1980 (PFWA, PFW, KC101), 1983 (UPI, KC101, FN), 1984 (UPI, PFWA) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
22. Jimmy Johnson—9—2—.567
1990 (AP) NFL Coach of the Year
1990 (UPI) NFL Coach of the Year
23. Mike Shanahan—20—2 —.553
His first act with the Raiders was a failure. He went back to be an offensive coordinator and won a Super Bowl in 1994. With the Broncos he won a pair of titles. His third act with the Redskins was mixed at best.
1996 (CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1996 (KC101, FN), 1998 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1989 (SN, PFW, CTDC), 1990 (PFW) 1994 (SN) NFL Coach of the Year
1989 (KC101), 1990 (KC101, FN) NFC Coach of the Year
25. Tom Coughlin—20—2—.537
1996 (UPI) AFC Coach of the Year
26. Tom Flores —12—2—.538
Should be in? We are neutral. But if he gets in then Jimmy Johnson, Shanahan, Seifert, and Coughlin should be in before because we've ranked them in that order and think our views are defensible and non-partisan.
1982 (UPI, PFW) AFC Coach of the Year
27. Sid Gillman-HOF—18—1—.541
1974 (FN) NFL Coach of the Year
1974 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
28. Don Coryell—14—0—.561
1974 (AP, SN, PFW) NFL Coach of the Year
1974 (UPI, PFWA, PFW, KC101) 1979 (PFWA, PFW, KC101) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
29. Lou Saban—16—2—.490
He had a few innovations if you will. He ran some zone blitzes with the Patriots in 1960-61 and with the Bills let Joe Collier run quite a lot of 3-4 defenses. No team in the AFL ran it more than the mid-1960s Bills and all AFL teams ran it some.
1964 (UPI), 1965 (UPI) AFL Coach of the Year
30. Dick Vermeil—15—1—.525
1979 (SN, PFW, CTDC) 1999 (AP, SN, PFWA, PFW, MC, GN, FD, CTDC), 2003 (MC) NFL Coach of the Year
1978 (UPI, PFWA, FN), 1979 (PFWA, KC101), 1999 (KC101, FN) NFC Coach of the Year
31. Tony Dungy-HOF—13—1—.652
1997 (MC), 2005 (SN, MC) NFL Coach of the Year
2005 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
32. Mike Holmgren—17—1—.588
1992 (KC101, FN) NFC Coach of the Year
33. Pete Carroll—13—1—.586
2012 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
34. Bill Cowher—15—1—.619
1992 (AP, SN, CTDC), 2004 (SN) NFL Coach of the Year
1994 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
35. Sean Payton—12—1—.612
2006 (AP, SN, PFWA, PFW, MC), 2009 (SN, MC) NFL Coach of the Year
2006 (KC101), 2009 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
36. Mike Tomlin—12—1—.645
37. Mike McCarthy—13—1—.613
2011 (MC) NFL Coach of the Year
2007 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
38. Blanton Collier— 8—1—.672
39. Andy Reid — 20 — 0 — .600
2000 (SN, MC, FD, GN) 2002 (AP, SN, PFWA MC, C&PFNW, GN, CTDC), 2010 (MC) 2018 (SN, MC) NFL Coach of the Year
2002 (KC101), 2013 (KC101), 2015 (KC101) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
40. John Harbaugh — 11 — 1 — .594
Other Coach of the Year Award Winners
(In no real order)
1975 (AP, SN, PFW, WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1975 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1985 (UPI, PFWA, KC101), 1988 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
He's back. He took the Bucs to a title in 2002 (Dungy's team? And did Dungy take Mora's team to the promised land?).
2000 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
2000 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1976 (UPI, PFWA) AFC Coach of the Year
1977 (FN, KC101), 1980 NFC (UPI, PFWA, KC101) Coach of the Year
1976 (UPI, PFWA), 1979 (UPI), 1993 (KC101) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
1978 (AP, SN, WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1978 (KC101, FN) AFC Coach of the Year
1978 (PFW) NFL Coach of the Year
1978 (UPI, PFWA) AFC Coach of the Year
1973 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1987 (AP, SN, PFW, FD, WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1987 (UPI, PFWA, KC101, FN), 1999 (KC101) NFC/AFC Coach of the Year
1990 (PFWA, PFW, MC, GN) NFL Coach of the Year
1990 (KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1991 (UPI, KC101, FN) NFL Coach of the Year
1982 (FN), 1987 (UPI, PFWA, KC101, FN) AFC Coach of the Year
1989 (AP, SN, FD, WTD, CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1989 (UPI, PFWA, KC101, FN) NFC Coach of the Year
1976 (AP), 1982 (CTDC) NFL Coach of the Year
1981 (UPI, PFWA, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1977 (AP, PFWA, SN, PFW, WTD) NFL Coach of the Year
1977 (UPI, FN, KC101) AFC Coach of the Year
1970 (PFWA, PFW, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
1963 (AP, UPI) AFL Coach of the Year
1983 (UPI, FN) NFC Coach of the Year
1992 (C&PFNW, WTD), 1998 (MC, GN) NFL Coach of the Year
1992 (UPI) NFC Coach of the Year
1988 (PFWA) AFC Coach of the Year
1961 (AP, UPI), 1962 (AP, UPI) NFL Coach of the Year
1960 (AP, UPI) NFL Coach of the Year
2008 (AP, SN), 2010 (SN), 2012 (SN) NFL Coach of the Year
2008 (KC101), 2010 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
1995 (PFWA, CTDC), 1996 (AP, SN, PFWA, CTDC, FD, GN, PFW) NFL Coach of the Year
1996 (UPI, KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
2012 (AP, PFWA), 2014 (PFWA, SN) NFL Coach of the Year
2012 (KC101), 2014 (KC101) AFC/NFC Coach of the Year
2013 (AP, PFWA, SN), 2015 (AP, PFWA, SN) NFL Coach of the Year
2013 (KC101), 2015 (KC101) NFC Coach of the Year
Phillips never won a Coach of the Year Award, but he was the runner-up in 1975 and did a fine job with the late-1970s Oilers.
Had a legitimate claim on the 1979 Coach of the Year Award but Pardee and Vermeil beat him out, still, though, did a fine job in that "worst to first" season for the Bucs.
Often you hear of the 3-digit offense, the West Coast Offense but less often the "Perkins-Erhardt" offense. It refers to the terminology used in that scheme. Charlie Weiss and now Josh McDaniels use is as do others, though all those terms are really obsolete because the verbiage is now so shortened no one uses full play calls anymore. They use truncated terminology and route concepts far more than anything. But in the pantheon of offenses, the Perkins-Erhardt has its place in history.
Norm Van Brocklin
Starr, Baugh, and Van Brocklin are three of the great quarterbacks who had varying success as coaches but never could replicate what they did on the field. You can add Bob Waterfield to that list and others.
Jeff Fisher—A lot of wins. A lot of losses.
Brian Billick—1 title
Jim Lee Howell—1 title
Gary Kubiak—1 title
John Fox—2 conference titles, amazingly no Coach of the Year awards
Marvin Lewis—1 Coach of the Year
Jim Harbaugh—1 NFC Coach of the Year, 1 NFC title
John Rauch—1 AFL title, lost Super Bowl
Hampton Pool—1 title, 1 coach of the year
Lovie Smith—1 Coach of the Year, 1 NFC title
We could go on, but we don't care as much about coaches as we do about players and we may have valued longevity too much over championships, however, we feel good about our rankings but if you disagree, let us know.
this one I strongly disagree....1. Paul Brown 2. Belichick 3. perhaps Lombardi, perhaps Walsh.....the 60s Packers were great and yes, untimely death caused a 'might have been', but....Brown, 7 titles, the most important innovator ever (easier to do then than now arguably), aaaand coaching tree: Eubank, Collier, Noll, Shula,Saban, arguably Walsh.....I respectfully disagree that the "Packer sweep" became the blueprint for 1970s offensive football...wasn't it the AFL influence that tended to open up offenses during the period?ReplyDelete
Offenses regressed in the 1970s. 1970-77 is known as 'dead ball' era in football. Teams threw less in 1970s than 1960s. Think of the good teams in the 1970s, esp early, Dolphins, Dallas, Rams, Steelers, Raiders, all ran the ball 60% or more of the timeDelete
In 1978 rules changed and then offenses opened up.
I knocked Paul Brown down because 4 of his titles in the AAFC---not equal to NFL titles...I gave him credit for all the innovations but 1949-49 titles not up to snuff. (Also penalized Otto Graham for that, too)
here are stats for 60s and 70s if you have TwitterDelete
Is there anyway you can list all the posts for this series in one location? I am having a hard time locating the inside/middle linebacker one.
at the botton of each artle there is a tag that says NFL100. If you click that, all of them will come up in a row and you can scroll through and find itDelete
Thanks John for listing Weeb Ewbank highly. I think he was the greatest coach, despite his overall won/lost record...When you're 4-0 in championship games, and develop two of the best QBs ever, winning titles in two different leagues with two separate teams, you deserve more credit.ReplyDelete
Yes, Weeb could not sustain success, but his gift was building a championship team from the ground up and letting his QBs take over the games.
Like George Allen, he relied too much on his veteran players, which was his downfall but he could motivate men...His speech before the 1958 Championship Game was legendary, and his victory over Carrol Rosenbloom and Don Shula in Super Bowl III, was the ultimate revenge for Rosenbloom offering Shula the job before Weeb and the Colts could complete the 1962 season !
Bill Belichick was the highest-paid coach in the NFL team of New England Patriots in the year 2019. His salary makes up to 12.5 million dollars per year. He deserves this amount of money as the salary of a head NFL coach because he managed to bring his teams to the playoffs and also stood victorious in the super bowl, six times. He made it possible to increase the value of his team to 4.1 billion from 460 million dollars.ReplyDelete