Does Bill Belichick belong on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches?
The debate of the "greatest of all time" ranges from the quarterback position to even the men who patrol the sidelines.
This week, there has been a ton of conversation about what a second ring means for Eli Manning or where a fourth ring puts Tom Brady.
However, the best debates I have heard this week were about Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. Like Brady, Belichick is in search of ring number four. Coughlin is going after his second. The debates about where Belichick belongs among the great coaches if he gets number four or even if he stays at three.
Is Coughlin's career validated like Manning's if he is able to grab his second ring? That debate will rage no matter what. There are enough haters of Coughlin's style of coaching or Eli's demeanor.
But the questions of where Belichick or Coughlin rank among the great coaches of all time is a fun debate. It got me thinking, if I was making a Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches, who would be on that mountain?
So with out further ado...
Bill Walsh went 102-63-1 with the San Francisco 49ers. He was 10-4 in the playoffs with three Super Bowl trophies. He won six division titles and three NFC championships. He also popularized the West Coast offense. He was a two-time NFL coach of the year and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993.
His coaching tree is not well documented still very prominent in the league today. Mike Holmgren is in charge of rebuilding the Cleveland Browns. John Fox is in Denver trying to teach Tebow the finer points of the West Coast offense. Mike McCarthy led his Packers to a Super Bowl victory last year. Mike Tomlin has two rings, as well as Mike Shanahan.
His place on this list is without question.
Vince Lombardi is mostly known for coaching the Green Bay Packers and winning Super Bowls I and II. He won three league championships and five in seven years, counting the two Super Bowls. He was 105-35-6 overall in his coaching career. He was 9-1 in the playoffs and enshrined in Canton in 1971.
He was the AP coach of the year in 1959 and belongs to the Packers' ring of honor as well as the Washington Redskins'.
He was a huge icon in the civil rights movement. He was determined to ignore any prejudice that existed in those days. He did not care the color of the skin but whether or not they could play and buy into the the Packer way. He refused to do business with places if they did not treat all his players equally.
The NFL honors his memory by naming the Super Bowl trophy after him.
George Halas was known as "Mr. Everything". He was a player, coach, owner and pioneer in the football world. He is best known for his time leading the Chicago Bears. He was 324-152-31 overall in his coaching career.
He was a two-time AP, Sporting News and UPI NFL coach of the year and won six NFL championships.
He was the first to hold daily practices, watch film to learn weakness about his opponents and put his coaches in the press box. He also offered a share of his team's television income to smaller market teams believing that it would ultimately be good for his own team.
The George Halas Trophy is awarded to the winner of the NFC Championship game.
Finally, Don Shula—the winningest coach in NFL history. His record of 347-173-6 overall speaks for itself. He is best known for his time in as the Miami Dolphins' head man. He started as a defensive backs coach in for the Lions and was the head coach for the Baltimore Colts.
He appeared in three consecutive Super Bowls with the Dolphins, winning two of them. He has the distinction of being the only head coach with a perfect season on his resume. He also holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances at six.
He won five AFC championships, 14 division titles and a NFL Championship and was a four-time coach of the year award winner. He was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1993. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
In his 36-year career, he had only two losing seasons.