Top Five Coaches In NFL History

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 | 0

Throughout the annals of NFL history, many great coaches have come and gone, leaving their mark on the game with unique philosophies, strategies, and defining seasons.

Some would argue that Super Bowl success is the true predictor of a coach’s spot on the all-time list, while others would argue that overall wins are a better determining factor of a coach’s overall success. In truth, it’s a combination of both factors that makes a coach an all-time great.

The best coaches know how to mold the talent they have into a winning formula, adapting to the rigors of the NFL year in and year out to put together teams that can be remembered for their effectiveness from the top down. That’s what makes a coach truly great. Here are the top five coaches in NFL history:

Top Five Coaches In NFL History

1.) Vince Lombardi

Lombardi doesn’t have the long-term success of a Shula or Landry, but his “Just win, Baby” philosophy has him firmly entrenched atop this list. He was a tough coach that would simply not tolerate failure, and it showed in his teams.

Lombardi has an unprecedented seven league championships, winning the fist two Super Bowls for five straight at the time. He also boasts an almost spotless 9-1 record in the playoffs, a mark that will most likely never be broken.

The Super Bowl trophy is named after Lombardi for a reason. He is the greatest coach the NFL has ever seen.


2.) Chuck Noll

Noll earns his obvious spot here for his incredible four Super Bowl rings. No other coach has duplicated that feat, and Noll did it without the aid of a stacked team.

He simply created his teams through hard work and dedication, and he built a dynasty that will go down as arguably the most powerful in the history of professional football.

Noll’s commitment to winning is illustrated by his 16-8 record in the playoffs, and he coached several Hall of Fame players that were no doubt boosted to glory by his greatness. A case could be made for him to occupy either of the two spots above him on this list.


3.) Don Shula

Shula owns the record for most coaching wins in NFL history with a record of 328—156, a testament to his longevity and will to win.

He also lead the 1972 Miami Dolphins to a perfect season, a monumental feat that has not been duplicated to this day.

Shula also won two Super Bowls in a row with the Dolphins. He’ll go down in history as one of the best all-around coaches of the Super Bowl Era.


4.) Tom Landry

Landry was the leader of the Cowboys becoming “America’s Team” as he won two Super Bowls in five appearances. He was a hard-nosed leader that exemplified what Dallas Cowboys football was all about.

He was also a defensive mastermind, as his schemes are incredibly still implemented today. Landry could have arguably been higher on this list if he hadn’t run into Noll’s bulldozing Steelers’ teams of the 1970s, but he’s still undoubtedly one of the finest coaches in NFL history.


5.) Bill Walsh

Walsh may not have even come close to the NFL’s all-time win list, but it’s how he impacted the game during his relatively short time in the league that makes him one of the best ever.

He spawned the illustrious San Francisco 49ers dynasty of the 1980s’ winning three Super Bowls in the span of eight years and creating the vaunted West Coast offense that is still prominent today. Walsh was a pioneer, and he was the genius leader of one of the best teams in NFL history.

Walsh’s innovative contribution to the NFL makes him one of its greatest coaches.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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