Top 50 Head Coaches in NFL History

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2011

Top 50 Head Coaches in NFL History

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    Some things never change and are passed on from generation to generation in the National Football League. Among these are dynasties that are built from the ground up.

    The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers were a complete disaster the decade before Chuck Noll came in. The 1980s San Francisco 49ers struggled mightedly in the 1970s, and the 1990s Dallas Cowboys didn't have much success the decade prior.

    What do these teams have in common?

    They brought in a future Hall-of-Fame head coach to turn around a previously struggling franchise.

    Today, I am going to take a look at the 50 best coaches in the history of this great sport.

50. Jack Pardee

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    Chicago Bears 1975-1977, Washington Redskins 1978-1980, Houston Oilers 1990-1994

    Playoff Appearances: Five

    Record: 87-77

    In Washington, Jack Pardee is the coach that led a mediocre team prior to Joe Gibbs taking over and leading them to Super Bowl Championships. Before that, he was the coach of a struggling pre-Ditka Chicago Bears team.

    However, Pardee would make his mark decades later, when he took over for Jerry Glanvill in Houston in 1989. In five seasons with the Oilers, Pardee led them to four playoff appearances and three division titles. He was fired following a 1-9 start in 1994.

    Still, the success that he had with Warren Moon and Co. puts Pardee towards the bottom of this list.

49. Tom Coughlin

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    Jacksonville Jaguars 1995-2002, New York Giants 2004-current

    Playoff Appearances: Eight

    Championships: One Super Bowl title

    Record: 137-109

    After a somewhat successful three year stint with the Boston College Eagles in college from 1991-1993, Tom Coughlin became the first head coach in Jacksonville Jaguars franchise history in 1995.

    So set forth one of the best beginnings of a franchise's history, as Coughlin led Jacksonville to the playoffs in just their second season. A few seasons later, in 1999, Jacksonville beat the Miami Dolphins in the greatest blowout in NFL history, 62-7, to go to the AFC Championship game.

    Tom Coughlin's eight-year stint with the Jaguars ended eight games above-average .500 and four playoff appearances.

    Then in 2004, he took over as the head coach of the New York Giants. Under intense scrutiny following a dreadful start to the 2007 season, Coughlin led the Giants to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NFL against the previously undefeated New England Patriots.

48. Jeff Fisher

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    Houston Oilers 1994-1996, Tennessee Titans 1997-2010

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Championships: One Super Bowl appearance, zero titles.

    Record: 142-120

    In November of 2004, Jeff Fisher took over as head coach for the 1-9 Houston Oilers, replacing Jack Pardee.He proceeded to go 1-5 in the final six games. Houston retained him as their permanent head coach the following season.

    The rest is history.

    Fisher proceeded to lead Houston to a 7-9 record in 1995 and 8-8 in 1996 before the team relocated to Tennessee as the Titans prior to the 1997 season. Fisher would to on to lead the Titans to six double digit win seasons in a 10-year span from 1999-2008, going to the Super Bowl in 1999 before losing to the St. Louis Rams.

    Some people may not agree with him being on this list, but there is no doubt that Fisher is one of the 50 greatest head coaches in the history of the NFL.

    Part of the Bill Walsh coaching tree: 49ers secondary coach in 1992 and 1993.

47. Guy Chamberlin

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    Canton Bulldogs 1922-1923, Cleveland Bulldogs 1923, Frankford Yellow Jackets 1925-1926, Chicago Cardinals 1927

    Four NFL Championships

    Record: 58-16-7

    I am sure that many of you have never even heard of Guy Chamberlin. Well, join the club. I had heard a little about him, but most of that had to do with off the field stuff.

    On the field, he won four NFL championships in six seasons. The first two of these titles came with the now defunct Canton Bulldogs in 1922 and 1923. One year later, he the Bulldogs moved to Cleveland, but the results were no different; they won the title again.

    In 1926, Chamberlin coached the Frankford Yellow Jackets to another NFL championship.To add to his legacy, "The Champ" was a player-coach in three of his teams' championships.

46. Sam Wyche

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    Cincinnati Bengals 1984-1991, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1992-1995

    Playoff Appearances: Two

    One Super Bowl appearance, zero championships.

    Record: 84-107

    You look at Sam Wyche's career record and it would seem he belongs nowhere on this list, right? Well, his record is marred by a 23-41 record as the head coach for a hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team from 1992-1995.

    In Cincinnati, it was a different story.

    He led them to three winning seasons in eight seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance against the San Francisco 49ers (his former team) in 1988.

    Sam Wyche is part of the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree: assistant coach from 1979-1982

45. Andy Reid

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    Philadelphia Eagles: 1999-2011

    Playoff Appearance: Nine

    One Super Bowl appearance, zero titles

    Record: 120-77-1

    Despite recent struggles, Andy Reid has been one of the most successful coaches in recent NFL history. In 1999, he took over an Eagles team that had finished 3-13 under Ray Rhodes the previous season. Since, he has led Philadelphia to eight double digit win seasons, seven division titles and a Super Bowl appearance.

    Andy Reid's .610 winning percentage is among the best in modern NFL history. Despite all this, he has been criticized for a lack of playoff success, only winning one of four NFC Championship Games.

    Still, there is no doubting the success that he has had as the head coach of Philadelphia.

    Side note: Andy Reid appeared on Monday Night Football in the punt, pass and kick contest at the age of 13 in 1971.

44. Potsy Clark

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    Portsmith Spartans 1931-1933, Detroit Lions 1934-1936,1940 and Brooklyn Dodgers 1937-1939

    One NFL Championship

    Record: 64-41-12

    Who the heck were the Portsmith Spartans? Wasn't the Brooklyn Dodgers a baseball team? Yes, those are questions I had.

    First things first, Portsmith would eventually become what we know to be the Detroit Lions after the team folded due to the Great Depression and had to move.

    George "Potsy" Clark, as he is known, was the quarterback and head coach of the Spartans and Lions from 1931-1935, retiring as a player following the '35 season. That season, the Detroit Lions won the NFL Championship over the New York Giants.

    He led the Brooklyn Dodgers for three seasons, without much success. They folded following the 1944 season.

    Clark finished with six winning seasons in 10 years.

43. Jon Gruden

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    Oakland Raiders 1998-2001, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2002-2008

    Playoff Appearances: Five

    One Super Bowl Title

    Record: 95-81

    Jon Gruden was pegged as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders at the age of 34 in 1998. He proceeded to lead the team to a .500 or better record in each of his four seasons with the team, winning the AFC West in 2000 and 2001.

    Amazingly, Gruden was "traded" to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first round and two second round draft picks, as well as $8 million dollar in cash. One of the greatest bounties in the history of the NFL for a head coach.

    The following seasons, he led the Buccaneers to a 12-4 record and a matchup against the very same Raiders in the Super Bowl. Payoff occurred in the form of a 48-21 beat down of the Raiders.

    Note: Mike Holmgren, then the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco, hired Jon Gruden as the first offensive quality assistant in the history of the NFL.

    Jon Gruden is a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree: quality coach in 1990.

42. Blanton Collier

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    Cleveland Browns: 1963-1970

    Playoff Appearances: Five

    One NFL Championship

    Record: 76-34-2

    Blanton Collier is the guy best known for taking over for the venerable Paul Brown; more on him later. Still, Collier had a lot of success on his own after Brown retired.

    One year after taking over as the Browns head coach, Collier led them to a NFL Championship over the Baltimore Colts, 27-0. It was a dominating performance against Johny Unitas, Raymond Berry and Co. Jim Brown ran for 114 yards and Frank Ryan threw three touchdown passes.

    Collier would lead Cleveland to seven winning seasons in his eight years as head coach, but never returned to the title game.

41. George Wilson

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    Detroit Lions 1957-1964, Miami Dolphins 1966-1969

    One NFL Championship

    Record: 68-84-8

    George Wilson is on this list for two different reasons. First, he was the last head coach to lead the Detroit Lions to a championship, and it was stunning. Detroit finished the 1957 season with a 8-4 record and were set to take on the heavily favored Jim Brown led Cleveland Browns, who had finished the season with a 9-2 record.

    Detroit proceeded to hold the greatest running back of all-time to 69 yards on 20 rushes en route to a record 59-14 victory.

    Secondly, he became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 1966, but with mixed results. Miami finished with a combined 15-39 record. However, that isn't the story.

    Under Wilson, the Dolphins drafted Bob Griese, Jim Kiick, Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka. You know the rest of this story. Don Shula took over for Wilson in 1970, and the rest is history.

40. Allie Sherman

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    New York Giants: 1961-1968

    Three NFL Championship Game appearances

    Record: 57-51-4

    Allie Sherman took over as the head coach of the New York Giants in 1961 and proceeded to lead them to three consecutive NFL Championship games, losing all three.

    During that span, the Giants has a combined record of 33-8. Following initial success, the Giants self-destructed under Sherman in in 1966 with a 1-12-1 record. He was fired a couple years later.

    Still, Sherman has been recognized a s one of the more modern NFL play-callers of the 1960s with the type of offensive scheme that he ran. He became the first coach to win back to back Coach of the Year titles and resurrected the career of Y.A. Tittle, who had spent so many seasons with a struggling San Francisco 49ers franchise.

39. Don Coryell

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    St. Louis Cardinals 1973-1977, San Diego Chargers 1978-1986

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Record: 111-83-1

    Coryell's placement on this list has more to do with the fact that he is one of the forerunners to the passing game that we see today. "Air Coryell," as we know call it, revolutionized offensive football in the NFL during the late 70s and early 80s.

    During that time, Dan Fouts threw for over 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and attempted a total of 1,728 passes from 1979-1981.

    While San Diego didn't do much in the playoffs and failed to make the Super Bowl, Coryell's offense was dynamic. They finished no lower than fourth in scoring offense in seven of Coryell's nine seasons as head coach. Additionally, his 69-56 record as the Chargers coach was the best stint for the franchise until the late 2000's, when Norv Turner took over as head coach. 

    Prior to his stint with San Diego, he led the St. Louis Cardinals to two consecutive division titles in 1974 and 1975.

38. Weeb Ewbank

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    Baltimore Colts 1954-1962, New York Jets 1963-1972

    Playoff Appearances: Four

    Two NFL championships and one Super Bowl championship

    Record: 130-129-7

    With a record barely over .500 over the course of 19 seasons as a head coach, Ewbank coached a lot of mediocre teams during his career. That said, he led two of the most storied teams in the history of professional football.

    Weeb Ewbank became the second head coach in the history of the Baltimore Colts franchise in 1954, and his first season didn't go too well. The Colts finished 3-9 that season and were outscored by an average of 13 points per game.

    Four years late, the Colts would win their first of two consecutive NFL Championships in the "Greatest Game" in NFL history. Alan Ameche scored from one yard out in overtime to defeat the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium. This game is widely considered the day that football changed forever. It was the very first championship game to be aired nationally, as tens of millions tuned in.

    Baltimore defeated the very same Giants the following season to win a second straight title.

    Ewbank led left the Colts for a struggling American Football League team, the New York Jets, the following season. His stint there didn't start too well. New York failed to finish with a winning record in his first three seasons.

    However, 1968 came along, and Ewbank would etch his name in the history of the National Football League. The New York Jets finished the regular season 11-3 and defeated Oakland in the conference title game.

    This set up a Super Bowl matchup with the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, a team that he had led to two NFL Championships earlier. Many of you recall this is the game that Joe Namath guaranteed victory, so you know the result.

    New York became the first AFL team to win the Super Bowl, and the rest was history.

37. Dennis Green

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    Minnesota Vikings 1992-2001, Arizona Cardinals 2004-2006

    Playoff Appearances: Eight

    Record: 113-94

    Yet another coach that was unable to lead his team to the Super Bowl, Dennis Green has great success as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

    From 1992-2000, Minnesota wouldn't finish with a losing record and made the playoffs eight times, winning the division four times. In 1998, the Vikings finished the regular season with a franchise best 15-1 record. They broke a modern NFL record by scoring nearly 35 points per game. Randy Moss broke a rookie record by catching 17 touchdowns and compiling over 1,300 yards receiving.

    Green's 4-8 postseason record continues to mar what had been a relatively great career. He finished up by coaching the Arizona Cardinals from 2004 to 2006, not winning more than six games in a season.

    Dennis Green is a member of the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree: 1979 and 1986-1988

36. Bum Phillips

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    Houston Oilers 1975-1980, New Orleans Saints 1981-1985

    Three Playoff Appearances

    Record: 82-77

    Bum Phillips wasn't just a cowboy; he was an outlaw, directly from the days of Jesse James. This guy did things his way and didn't care what people thought. He was an outspoken critic of the league, continually got in the face of his players and showed an unbridled passion for the game of football.

    This translated to a good amount of regular season success. The Houston Oilers won double digit games four times in Bum's six seasons as their coach and made it to the AFC Championship game twice. Overall, he won 20 more games then he lost and finished with a .611 winning percentage in Houston.

    His career came to a halt following five unsuccessful seasons with Kenny Stabler, Archie Manning and the New Orleans Saints.

    The following quote best represents the type of coach Bum Phillips was.Courtesy of Brainy Quote.

    Two kinds of ballplayers aren't worth a darn: One that never does what he's told, and one who does nothin' except what he's told.

35. Ray Flaherty

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    Boston Redskins 1936, Washington Redskins 1937-1942, New York Yankees 1946-1948, Chicago Hornets 1949

    Yes, they were the Boston Redskins before they moved to Washington, and one of the franchise's greatest coaches came in the form of Ray Flaherty, who led the Skins' for seven seasons.

    From 1936-1942, the Redskins won four division titles and two NFL Championships. The final of the two championships was in 1942, when Flaherty, with the help of "Slinging" Sammy Baugh, dominated the league with a 10-1 record before meeting George Halas' Bears in the title game.

    Following the '42 season, he joined the United States Navy, serving until the end of World War II in 1945.

    After Flaherty returned home from war, he coached the New York Yankees of the All American Football Conference for three seasons, leading them to a 22-7 record.

34. Chuck Knox

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    Los Angeles Rams 1973-1977 and 1992-1994, Buffalo Bills 1978-1982, Seattle Seahawks 1983-1991

    Playoff Appearances: 11

    Championships: None

    Record: 186-147-1

    From 1973 to 1977, the Los Angeles Rams went a combined 54-15 under Chuck Knox and made it to three AFC Championships Games, only to lose all three. Following a falling out with Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, Knox signed the first million dollar contract in football history for coaches by agreeing to go to the Buffalo Bills.

    Buffalo made the playoffs in two of his fives seasons with the team. Another falling out, this time with Ralph Wilson, caused Knox to find another home.

    In 1983, he became the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks and proceeded to lead them to their first playoff appearance in team history. In fact, Seattle made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders.

    Knox returned to coach the Los Angeles Rams from 1992-1994, but couldn't rekindle past success.

33. Marty Schottenheimer

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    Cleveland Browns 1984-1988, Kansas City Chiefs 1989-1998, Washington Redskins 2001, San Diego Chargers 2002-2006

    Playoff Appearances: 11

    Record: 200-126-1

    Unsuccessful playoff record aside, Marty was one heck of a football coach in his heyday.

    Schottenheimer may be best known in Cleveland for the playoff meltdown that saw the Browns literally fumble away their best shot at a Super Bowl appearance when Earnest Byner coughed up the ball against Denver in the AFC Championship Game. Still, he led Cleveland to four playoff appearances in five seasons.

    In 1989, he took over a struggling Kansas City Chiefs franchise that had gone 8-22 in their previous two seasons. Immediately, Schottenheimer led them to a winning record.

    Two years later, in 1991, the Kansas City Chiefs won 11 games to make the playoffs. This set off a string of five consecutive playoff appearances. However, the Chiefs would never get past the AFC Championship Game.

    After one season with Washington, he landed with the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and coached there for five seasons. Again, playoff troubles haunted Marty, as the Chargers would lose both of their playoff games under him.

32. Brian Billick

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    Baltimore Ravens: 1999-2007

    Four Playoff Appearances

    One Super Bowl Championship

    Record: 80-64

    Brian Billick led one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings in 1998, a team that averaged nearly 35 points per game.

    One year later, he accepted the head coaching job for the Baltimore Ravens after turning down the same opportunity for the "expansion" Cleveland Browns.

    In nine seasons with the Ravens, Billick led the club to four playoff appearances. Baltimore finished the 2000 season with a franchise best 12-4 record. They ended up squaring off with the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. In one of the greatest defensive performances in championship history, Baltimore's defense ceded only seven points, 152 yards and forced five turnovers.

    He left the Ravens following the 2007 season, but you can fully expect Billick to come back at some point in the near future.

    Brian Billick is a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

31. Mike Shanahan

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    Los Angeles Raiders 1988-1989, Denver Broncos 1995-2008, Washington Redskins 2010-2011

    Playoff Appearances: Seven

    Championships: Two Super Bowl titles.

    Record: 155-110

    After Mike Shanahan's stint with Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders ended in an ugly fashion during the 1989 season, he spent the next six seasons as an assistant coach for various teams before the Denver Broncos hired him 1995.

    This set off the greatest success that the Broncos franchise has ever seen. Shanahan led Denver to nine winning seasons in his 14 years as coach. Despite winning only four division titles during that span, the Broncos won back-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998, their first two titles in franchise history.

    Mike Shanahan's 138 regular season wins as Denver's head coach is first in franchise history. Today, Shanahan is the head coach for the Washington Redskins and has them second in the NFC East with a 3-2 record.

    Mike Shanahan is a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree: assistant coach from 1992-1994.

30. Mike Holmgren

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    Green Bay Packers 1992-1998, Seattle Seahawks 1999-2008

    Playoff Appearances: 12

    Three Super Bowl Appearance, One Win

    Record: 161-111

    Prior to Mike Holmgren taking over as the Packers head coach in 1992, they had one winning season over the course of the last decade. For all intent and purposes, Green Bay's historic history had become a thing of the past and was replaced with futility.

    That same year, the Green Bay Packers traded for Brett Favre.

    Over the course of the next eight seasons, Green Bay finished over .500 each season and made the playoffs seven times. In 1997, Green Bay defeated the New England Patriots for their first Super Bowl title since the 1970s. One year later, they made the Super Bowl once again, this time falling to the Denver Broncos.

    Holmgren Green Bay for the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 1999 season and brought long-time backup Matt Hasselbeck with him. He would go on to lead them to seven winning seasons in 10 years. In 2005, Seattle made it to their first and only Super Bowl in team history.

    Mike Holmgren is part of the Bill Walsh coaching tree: assistant coach from 1986-1991

29. Mike Ditka

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    Chicago Bears 1982-1992, New Orleans Saints 1997-1999

    Playoff Appearance: Seven

    One Super Bowl title

    Record: 121-95

    Known as one of the fiery head coaches in NFL history, Mike Ditka did it his way and never apologized for it. He was a coach that would get into his players' faces, show extreme emotions on the sideline and go after officials in a scary manner.

    Still, he was extremely successful.

    A lot of people probably don't know that Mike Ditka was a Hall-of-Fame tight end for the Chicago Bears before he made his mark as one of the great coaches in franchise history. He had more than 5,800 receiving yards in 12 seasons with three different teams, winning two Super Bowl titles.

    Mike Ditka was named head coach of the Chicago Bears in 1982. After initial struggles saw him go 11-14 in his first two season, Ditka turned them around. Over the course of the next eight seasons, Chicago won six division titles, had double digit victories seven times and destroyed the New England Patriots in the 1985 Super Bowl, one of the most dominating performances in the history of the game.

    I think the following quote courtesy of Brainy Quote best represents Ditka's personality.

    I always tell people I want to live to be 150 and they say why would you want to do that. I say, well there's a few people I haven't made mad yet, I want to get them.

28. Jimmy Conzelman

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    Rock Island Independents 1921-1922, Milwaukee Badgers 1922-1923, Detroit Panthers 1925-1926, Providence Steam Roller 1927-1930, Chicago Cardinals 1940-1948

    Two NFL Championships

    Record: 87-63-17

    Jimmy Conzelman was one of the last of a dying breed. He was a player coach for the Rock Island Independents and Providence Steam Roller, two defunct independent NFL franchises.

    Still, his biggest success came with the a Steam Roller team that went 8-1 in 1928 and defeated the Green Bay Packers to win the NFL Championship.

    In 1947, he led the Chicago Cardinals to their first NFL Championship by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the title game.

27. Raymond "Buddy" Parker

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    Chicago Cardinals 1949, Detroit Lions 1951-1956, Pittsburgh Steelers 1957-1964

    Two NFL Championships

    Record: 104-75-9

    "Buddy," as they called him, followed the aforementioned Jimmy Comzelman as the Cardinals head coach, but he only lasted one season before being replaced by Curly Lambeau.Talk about being replaced and replacing some of the all-time greats.

    This isn't where Raymond "Buddy" Parker made his mark.

    He took over as the head coach of the Detroit Lions in 1951. They proceeded to win back to back NFL Championships in 1952 and 1953 with Bobbie Layne at quarterback and Bob Hoernschemeyer at running back. In 1953, Detroit defeated the Cleveland Browns and Otto Graham.

    In 1957, he took over for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but wasn't able to repeat past success in eight seasons with the club.

26. Dan Reeves

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    Denver Broncos 1981-1992, New York Giants 1993-1996, Atlanta Falcons 1997-2003

    Playoff Appearances: Nine

    Championships: Four Super Bowl appearances, zero titles.

    Record: 190-165-2

    Dan Reeves will probably go down as one of the greatest coaches to never win a championship of any kind. He led four teams to the Super Bowl without any success.

    Reeves coached the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in 1986,1987 and 1989, but lost the three games by a combined 136-40 score, capped off by a 55-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV. Ten years later, Reeves led the Atlanta Falcons to their first Super Bowl before losing to, you guessed it, the Denver Broncos.

    Still, Reeves led teams finished with winning records 12 times, won double-digit games nine times and won their division a  total of six times.

25. Tom Flores

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    Oakland Raiders 1979-1981, Los Angeles Raiders 1982-1987, Seattle Seahawks 1992-1994

    Playoff Appearances: Five

    Championships: Two Super Bowl titles

    Record: 97-87

    Tom Flores became the first Hispanic head coach in NFL history when Al Davis hired him to replace a retired John Madden. The Raiders' success only continued under Flores.

    After finishing 7-9 in 1979, Flores led the Raiders to a 11-5 record and a division crown the following season. Oakland proceeded to win three AFC playoff games to make their first Super Bowl under Flores. They ended up beating an under-manned Philadelphia Eagles team to win the World Championship.

    After moving to Los Angeles, the Raiders won another Super Bowl under Flores in 1983 by beating the Washington Redskins 38-9.

    Al Davis fired Flores following an unsuccessful 1987 season that saw the team win just five games. He coached Seattle from 1992-1994 without any success. Still, Flores' .610 winning percentage with the Raiders is second to only John Madden in franchise history, even ahead of Al Davis himself.

24. Greasy Neale

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    Philadelphia Eagles: 1941-1950

    Two NFL Championships

    Record: 63-43-5

    Greasy represented what was good about the city of Philadelphia during his time in what would become known as "The City of Brotherly Love." In 1941, he took over an Eagles team that had won a total of two games their previous two seasons. The turn-around wasn't quick as Philadelphia went a combined 4-17 in his first two seasons.

    Philadelphia finished with a winning record in each of Neale's final eight seasons as coach and won back-back NFL Championships in 1948 and 1949; those teams went a combined 22-3.

23. Dick Vermeil

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    Philadelphia Eagles 1976-1982, St. Louis 1997-1999, Kansas City Chiefs 2001-2005

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Championships: Two Super Bowl appearances, one win

    Record: 120-109

    Dick Vermeil led two different franchises back from the abyss of irrelevancy to Super Bowl appearances nearly 20 years apart.

    IN 1976, Vermeil took over a Philadelphia Eagles team that had not seen a winning season in nearly a decade. In fact, Philadelphia was so bad that they won just 33 games in the eight seasons prior to his arrival. After just two years, the Eagles finished with a winning record and made the playoffs in 1978.

    In 1980, Philadelphia would finally make their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Philadelphia finished the 1980 regular season with a 12-4 record before losing to the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl.

    Vermeil "retired" following the 1982 season.

    After 16 years out of the NFL, he came out of retirement to coach the dormant St. Louis Rams, a team that had won a combined  36 games in their previous seven season.

    Two years after his arrival, the Rams finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. Under the leadership of former grocery store clerk and Arena Football League start Kurt Warner, "the greatest show on turf" swept through the NFC playoffs and all the way to the Super Bowl, where the defeated the Tennessee Titans in one of the greatest championship games in league history. 

    Vermeil finished up his coaching career with the Kansas City Chiefs form 2001-2005, leading them to 44-36 record and two winning seasons.

22. Marv Levy

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    Kansas City Chiefs 1978-1982, Buffalo Bills 1986-1997

    Playoff Appearances: Eight

    Championships: Four Super Bowl Appearances, zero titles

    Record: 143-112

    We all know Marv Levy from his successful stint with the Buffalo Bills in the 1980s and 1990s, but what many of you didn't know is that he took over a struggling Kansas City Chiefs franchise a couple years after the departure of Hank Stram.

    In five seasons with Kansas City, Levy didn't have much success, losing 12 more games than he won. Many people around the league questioned his ability to actually be a head coach in the NFL at this point.

    He went five full seasons without being given an opportunity until the Buffalo Bills presented him with a chance to redeem himself. That didn't start out too well, as Buffalo won a total of nine games in his first two seasons.

    1988 started a string of eight consecutive winning seasons that saw Buffalo win 71 games and four AFC Championships. Their 32 point comeback against the Houston Oilers in the 1992 playoff remains the greatest come from behind victory in NFL playoff history.

    Still, Levy's legacy is marred by not being able to win a Super Bowl. That said, the Bills string of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances remains a record and vaulted Levy into the history books forever.

21. Sid Gillman

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    Los Angeles Rams 1955-1959, Los Angeles Chargers 1960, San Diego Chargers 1961-1971, Houston Oilers 1973-1974

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Championships: One American Football League title

    Record: 122-99-7

    Sid Gillman coaches the Los Angeles Rams from 1955-1959 without much success. They made the playoffs just once and finished with a losing record under him.

    Following the '59 season, Gillman left to coach another Los Angeles team, the Chargers, in their first year in existence as an American Football League franchise. Gillman led the Chargers to the playoffs in their only season in Los Angeles. 

    Overall, he led the Chargers to eight winning seasons and a AFL Championship Game victory over the Boston Patriots. This is still the only championship that the Chargers have won. 

20. Bill Cowher

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    Pittsburgh Steelers: 1992-2006

    Playoff Appearances: Ten 

    Championships: One

    Record: 149-90-1

    From 1969-2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers only had two coaches: Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher. To put this in perspective, the Raiders had 12 coaches during that span. Talk about continuity.

    Bill Cowher took over the Pittsburgh Steelers from Chuck Noll in 1992 following eight mediocre seasons that saw them make the playoffs just a couple times.

    Cowher only finished three seasons with a losing record as the coach of the Steelers, winning double digit games nine different times. He led them to their first Super Bowl in 20 years in 1995, only to lose to the Dallas Cowboys.

    More than a decade later, Bill Cowher got his first and only Super Bowl Championship in a 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

    I can tell you that we haven't seen the last of this fiery competitor.

19. Tony Dungy

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    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1996-2001, Indianapolis Colts 2002-2008

    Playoff Appearances: 11

    Championships: One Super Bowl Championship

    Record: 139-69

    Tony Dungy is one of the nicest men that you will ever meet in football. Besides that, he was one heck of a coach. His career began with the dormant Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996, a team that he turned around and led to the greatest era in their franchise history.

    From 1996 to 2001, Dungy led Tampa Bay to four winning seasons, more winning campaigns than Tampa Bay had in their previous 20 years as a franchise.

    Apparently, it wasn't good enough, as the powers to be decided to fire Dungy following a nine win 2001 campaign. The following year, he joined Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts.

    The rest is history.

    Dungy led the Colts to seven consecutive double digit win seasons and six division titles. In 2006, the Colts would win their first Super Bowl in nearly 40 years by defeating the Chicago Bears.

    Dungy's .759 winning percentage as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts ranks among the best in the history of the NFL.

18. George Allen

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    Los Angeles Rams 1966-1970, Washington Redskins 1971-1977

    Playoff Appearances: Seven

    Championships: One Super Bowl appearance, zero titles.

    Record: 116-47-5

    I am pretty sure that most of you remember George Allen as the coach of the Washington Redskins, or for the younger generation, associated with them. However, Allen coached the Los Angeles Rams prior to that, and with a lot of success.

    The Rams won a combined 25 games in the seven seasons prior to the arrival of George Allen. Just one year after his arrival, they went an NFL best 11-1-2 before being defeated by Lombardi's Packers in the playoffs. Overall, he went 49-17-4 in five seasons with the Rams, but never made it past the first round of the playoffs.

    In 1971, Allen was hired to coach a Washington Redskins team that had not made the playoffs in over a quarter century, and he was up for the challenge. He took the Redskins to the playoffs that first season with a 9-4-1 record before taking the team to the next level in 1972.

    Washington finished the '72 season with a 11-3 record and won their two NFL playoff games to set a Super Bowl matchup against the undefeated Miami Dolphins, the Redskins went on to lose in their first Super Bowl appearance.

    Over the course of the next five seasons Allen led Washington to three playoff appearances, but didn't win a single postseason game. In fact, his only to playoff wins game in the 1972 season. He was fired following a 9-5 campaign in 1977.

    Following his stint with the Redskins, George Allen was re-hired to be the coach of the Los Angeles Rams. However, issues with players caused Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom to fire Allen before he even coached a game.

17. Jimmy Johnson

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    Dallas Cowboys: 1989-1993 and Miami Dolphins: 1996-1999

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Championships: Two

    Record: 80-64

    Jimmy Johnson only coached the Dallas Cowboys for five seasons, but won two Super Bowl titles.

    This all came on the heels of a 1989 season that saw Dallas win one game and had many people calling for the head of Jimmy Johnson, saying "he couldn't compare to Tom Landry." Well, that was quickly stifled by tremendous success.

    The back-to-back Super Bowl titles over the Buffalo Bills in 1992 and 1993, defeating Marv Levy's team by a combined 82-30 score. Two of the most dominating performances in modern NFL history. 

    Overall, Johnson led the Cowboys to a 36-12 record in his final three seasons as their coach before he had a falling out with Jerry Jones.

16. George Seifert

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    San Francisco 49ers 1989-1996, Carolina Panthers 1999-2001

    Playoff Appearances: Seven

    Championships: Two Super Bowl titles

    Record: 114-62

    How do you follow the legacy left by the great Bill Walsh? By winning double digit games in eight consecutive seasons, winning two Super Bowls and finishing your tenure with the highest winning percentage in NFL history on one team.

    This is what George Seifert did.

    He took over for the defending Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers in 1989 and proceeded to lead them to a 14-2 record and another NFC West division title. In the playoffs that season, the 49ers outscored their opponents by a combined score of 126-26, including a 55-10 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

    San Francisco would see Joe Montana get traded away a couple seasons later, and the team struggled to get past the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys for another trip to the Super Bowl.

    Then the 1994 season came, San Francisco had built a true "dream team" by signing future Hall-of-Fame players all across the defense. With Steve Young leading the offense, San Francisco finished the regular season 13-3 and outscored their opponents by an average over two touchdowns per game.

    A team that had six future head coaches on the staff dominated Dallas and Chicago in the playoffs by a tune of 82-43 before destroying the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl 49-26.

    Seifert finished his San Francisco 49ers tenure with a 108-35 record, including playoffs.

    After a couple seasons off, he joined the Carolina Panthers, but never finished above .500 in three seasons, finishing his career with a 1-15 record in 2001.

    George Seifert is a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

15. Steve Owen

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    New York Giants: 1931-1953

    Playoff Appearances: 10

    Championships: Two NFL Titles 

    Record: 151-100-17

    Owen is widely considered the greatest coach in the history of New York football. In 23 seasons as the Giants head coach, he led them to ten playoffs appearances, 17 winning seasons and two NFL Championships.

    Overall, he took the Giants to 10 NFL Championship Games in his 23 years as the team's head coach. His 151 career victory still ranks No. 1 on the Giants all-time list.

    Owen's career spanned three decades: The Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War.

14. Joe Gibbs

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    Washington Redskins: 1981-1992, 2004-2007

    Playoff Appearances: 10

    Championships: Four Super Bowl appearances and three titles

    Record: 154-94

    A couple seasons following what many people considered to be the untimely departure of George Allen in Washington, Joe Gibbs was given a chance to take this team to the next level, and boy, did he.

    Gibbs first season in Washington didn't turn out too well, as they finished with a 8-8 record. A strike shortened the 1982 season to just nine games, but Washington went 8-1 over the nine regular season games that were played. The Redskins destroyed their three NFC opponents in the playoffs by a combined 83-31 score, as the league's No. 1 defense proved why they were so good. Then, Washington was set up for a rematch with the Miami Dolphins, a team that they had lost to in the Super Bowl some ten years earlier. 

    The characters were different, and so were the results. Washington defeated Dan Marino and Co. 27-14 to win the World Championship.

    Joe Gibbs would go on to the lead the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl victories in 1987 and 1991 before calling it a career following the 1992 season. However, he returned more than a decade later to take on the responsibility of leading a Redskins franchise that had not been the same since he left 13 years earlier. The results were not the same; the Redskins finished four games under .500 in Gibbs second stint with them from 2004 to 2007.

13. Bill Parcells

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    New York Giants 1983-1990, New England Patriots 1993-1996, New York Jets 1997-1999, Dallas Cowboys 2003-2006

    Playoff Appearances: Nine

    Championships: Three Super Bowl appearances and two titles.

    Record: 172-130-1

    Many people associated Bill Parcells with having one of the biggest egos in the entire National Football League. While that may be true, he was one heck of a head coach during his heyday.

    In 1983, he took over a New York Giants team that had one winning season in the previous 10 seasons and led them right back to respectability. Following a 3-12 first season with New York, Parcells led them to the playoffs in his second year with the club. They would make it there again in 1965, but without much success. 

    The 1986 Giants went 14-2 and dominated the rest of the NFL in the regular season. In fact, their two losses came by a combined seven points. Surprisingly, New York killed the San Francisco 49ers 49-3 in the NFC Championship Game to go to their first Super Bowl in club history. They defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20.

    New York went back to the Super Bowl in 1990 after a couple sub-par seasons. This time, they took on the Buffalo Bills in their first ever appearance. With the Giants winning 20-19 in the last seconds of the game, Scott Norwood's field goal attempt sailed wide right, and New York was preserved their second Super Bowl title in franchise history, both under Bill Parcells.

    Bill Parcells left the Giants in 1990,only to return to coach the New England Patriots in 1993. The Patriots had won a total of 19 games in the five seasons prior to "Tunas" arrival.

    Over the course of the next five seasons, the Patriots made the playoffs twice and went to the Super Bowl in 1996, losing to the Green Bay Packers.

    Parcells finished out his coaching career with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys: without much success.

12. Bud Grant

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    Minnesota Vikings: 1967-1985

    Playoff Appearances: 12

    Championships: Four Super Bowl appearances, zero titles

    Record: 158-96-5

    Bud Grant has to be considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, but he can't because of that 0-4 Super Bowl record.

    In the Vikings' first six seasons as a franchise under Norm Van Brocklin, the club finished .500 once and won a total of 29 games. Following the firing of Van Broklin, Bud Grant was named the teams second head coach in club history.

    He coached in three different decades.

    After initial struggles in his first season, Grant led the Vikings to the playoffs in 1968, their first ever postseason appearance. One year later, Minnesota made the Super Bowl for the first time following a 12-2 regular season record. Minnesota eventually lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 23-7 in the Super Bowl.

    Minnesota didn't return to the Super Bowl until the 1973 season, where they went on to lose to the Miami Dolphins by the same 24-7 score. Overall, Grant coached the Vikings to the Super three times in four seasons from 1973 to 1976: losing all three.

    His final nine seasons as the Vikings coach didn't turn out too well. They made the playoffs four times without advancing to the Super Bowl.

11. Hank Stram

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    Dallas Texans 1960-1962, Kansas City Chiefs 1963-1974, New Orleans Saints 1976-1977

    Playoff Appearances: Five

    Championships: Three

    Record: 131-97-10

    Hank Stram was named the coach of the original American Football League, Houston Texans, in 1960 and finished with just a .500 record in his first two seasons with them. In their final season before becoming the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston won the AFL Championship Game over Houston Oilers.

    Stram led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl I in 1966 after a dominating 11-2-1 regular season. They would eventually lose to the overwhelming favorite Green Bay Packers.

    Kansas City did get their first and only Super Bowl Championship following a 1969 season that saw them defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the title game.

    Overall, Hank Stram led the Dallas/Kansas City franchise to 10 winning seasons in 17 years as their head coach before moving on to the New Orleans Saints. That stint in the Big Easy didn't turn out all too well, as they won seven games in two seasons.

10. Tom Landry

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    Dallas Cowboys: 1960-1988

    Playoff Appearances: 18

    Five Super Bowl appearances and two wins

    Record: 250-162-6

    Tom Landry was the only head coach that the Dallas Cowboys had seen prior to the hire of Jimmy Johnson on 1989. He coached the team for nearly 30 seasons and was one of the most successful coaches in the history of the NFL.

    Over the course of 29 years, Landry would coach a dozen Hall-of-Fame players, win 20 playoff games, make 18 playoff appearances, five Super Bowls and win two titles. He also coached 14 division winners.

    Tom Landry's success was so great that he accounted for 16 double-digit win seasons.

    This all came to fruition following a 1960 season that saw his Dallas Cowboys go 0-11-1, one of the worst records in the history of professional football. In fact, Landry didn't finish with a winning record in any of his first six seasons as head coach.

    But, from 1966 to 1993, the Dallas Cowboys made the playoffs 17 of the 18 seasons, winning double digit games each and every season.

    Truly remarkable.

9. John Madden

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    Oakland Raiders: 1969-1978

    Playoff Appearances: Eight

    Championships: One

    Record: 103-32-7

    John Madden only coached for 10 seasons and one just one Super Bowl title, but his impact on the NFL and West Coast football will never be forgotten. Madden averaged 10 wins per season over the course of that decade, won the AFC West seven times and led the Raiders to the playoffs eight times.

    From 1974-1977, the Oakland Raiders dominated the NFL regular season by going a combined 47-9 and winning the Super Bowl in 1976 over the Minnesota Vikings.

    Madden's .763 winning percentage ranks him No. 1 all-time in the history of the National Football League.

    Before he became a brand name, John Madden represented what was good about the Oakland Raiders and football in general. He was a players coach who gave them a lot of leverage on and off the football field. He has to be considered a precursor to the way post-modern coaches lead their teams today. For this, he has to be ranked relatively high on the list.

8. Bill Belichick

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    Where: Cleveland Browns, 1991-1995 and New England Patriots, 2000-current

    Playoff Appearances: Nine                                            

    Championships: Three

    Record: 167-95

    After initially struggling as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1991-1994, Belichick found a home with the New England Patriots in 2000. I am pretty sure we all know the rest of this story.

    He has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in four appearances and finished the 2007 season undefeated in one of the greatest regular seasons in the history of the NFL before getting upset by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

    He has won 10 AFC East titles, led the Patriots to eight playoff appearances and has a career record of 131-51 with them.

    This story isn't anywhere near complete, and if I were to write this article in another decade, I am pretty sure he would be much higher on the list.

7. Bill Walsh

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    San Francisco 49ers: 1979-1988

    Playoff Appearances: Seven

    Three Super Bowl titles

    Record: 152-92

    Bill Walsh took over a struggling San Francisco 49ers franchise in 1979. This was a team that had not won a championship of any kind in their 34 years of existence prior to him becoming their head coach.

    Popularizing the West Coast system, Bill Walsh turned the team around and won the franchise's first Super Bowl in 1981, following a huge upset of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.

    Overall, San Francisco won three Super Bowl crowns under Bill Walsh, made the playoffs seven times and won double digit games six consecutive years, from 1983-1988. He coached some of the greatest players to ever put on a uniform, took chances on castoffs on draft day and preached accountability to teams that were all in with him.

    Making Walsh's impact so much greater is the fact that nine of the other 49 coaches on this list are part of the famed, "Bill Walsh Coaching Team", simply "The Genius."

6. Chuck Noll

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    Pittsburgh Steelers: 1969-1991

    Playoff Appearances: 12

    Four Super Bowl Titles

    Record: 193-148-1

    When Chuck Noll took over for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969, this team had won a combined 13 games their previous five seasons. His first year at the helm didn't go too well, either; they won just one game. In fact, he failed to make the playoffs in each of his first three seasons in  Pittsburgh.

    Then it happened.

    Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and the "Steel Curtain" came calling. The rest was history.

    He led the Steelers to eight consecutive division titles and playoff appearances and accomplished a feat that hasn't been surpassed since (New England tied the mark). The Steelers won four Super Bowls in a six year span from 1974 to 1979.

    Overall, Pittsburgh made 12 playoff appearances in Noll's 23 seasons as head coach. Noll passed the legacy of this proud franchise that he made into winner on to Bill Cowher, creating the greatest continuity in the history of the league.

    Including Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh has had a total of three coaches (Noll, Cowher and Tomlin) in 42 years. No wonder they have a NFL best six Super Bowl crowns.

5. Curly Lambeau

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    Green Bay Packers, 1921-1949, Chicago Cardinals 1950-1951, Washington Redskins 1952-1953

    Championships: Six

    Record: 226-132-22

    You wouldn't have a field named after you if you weren't one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the NFL.Yes, Lambeau Field, as you probably know, is named after Curly.

    He coached the Green Packers for nearly 30 years and had some of the greatest success you will ever see as a coach. The Packers won three consecutive NFL Championships from 1929-1931. They went on to win titles in 1936, 1939 and 1944 as well.

    Overall, Curly led the Packers to 26 winning seasons. During an eight-year span, from 1929-1936, Green Bay went a combined 74-26, winning four titles.

    Lambeau's 209 victories still rank No. 1 in the Packers all-time list and will probably never be broken.

4. Don Shula

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    Baltimore Colts: 1963-1969 and Miami Dolphins: 1970-1995

    Playoff Appearances: 19

    Two Super Bowl Titles in six appearances

    Record: 328-156-6

    Don Shula's success as a head coach in the NFL spanned four decades and many different generations as the landscape of the league was changing.

    He first became coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1963 prior to the Super Bowl era. In seven seasons with the Colts, Shula led them to a 71-23-4. That said, the never won a league crown, losing to the New York Jets of the AFL in Super Bowl III.

    Following this uber-successful stint with the Colts, Shula joined the upstart Miami Dolphins in 1970. The rest is history.

    Over the course of 26 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, he led them to the only undefeated season in NFL history (1972), a total of five Super Bowl appearances, 16 playoff appearances and 24 winning seasons.

    Shula's career was so successful and lengthy that Dan Marin was two years old when he debuted with the the Colts in 1973. His 328 career victories rank No. 1 in the history of the NFL just above George Halas.

3. George Halas

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    Where: Chicago Staleys, 1920 and 1921, Chicago Bears 1922-1929, 1933-1942 (World War II), 1946-1967

    Championships: Five

    Record: 318-148-31

    Second to only Don Shula on the all-time wins list, George Halas has to be considered one of the forefathers of the National Football League.

    Halas began his coaching career with the Decatur/Chicago Staleys in 1920, before they became the Chicago Bears. For the better part of the first 49 years of the Bears' franchise history, Halas was their head coach.But, he wasn't just a head coach; he was owner and player as well for so many seasons.

    This slide will focus on George "Papa Bear" Halas, the coach.

    From 1920-1928, Halas was a player/coach for the Chicago Bears. They won only one title during that span. Following a five-year stint in which Halas gave up the reigns as player/coach to be full-time owner, Chicago never made it to the championship under Halas' handpicked successor, Ralph Jones.

    He returned to the sideline in 1933 and led the Bears to their second NFL Championship against the New York Giants. Halas went on to coach 10 more seasons with the Chicago Bears, winning back to back NFL Championships in 1941 and 1942 before enlisting in the United States Army to serve in World War II.

    Halas spent 20 months overseas in the European Front, returning to stateside in 1946 to the valor of a Bronze Star.

    Upon his return, Halas returned to the sideline and coached the team to two more NFL Championships. Overall, he won five titles and has 34 wins in 40 seasons.

2. Vince Lombardi

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    Green Bay Packers: 1959-1967 and Washington Redskins: 1969

    Playoff Appearances: Six

    Championships: Five

    Record: 96-34-6


    I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious- Vince Lombardi


    Not only was Vince Lombardi one heck of a football coach, he was one great motivator, and players loved taking the field for him. I could go on for slide after slide with some of the greatest inspirational quotes that you will ever see. I could also go on for slides writing about how players absolutely adored him.

    Instead, I am going to focus on the logistics of his success with the Green Bay Packers.

    The Green Bay Packers won back to back NFL Championships in 1961 and 1962, going a combined 24-4 under Lombardi. After failing to make the championship game in 1663 and 1964, Lombardi led Green Bay to three consecutive titles, including the first two Super Bowl Championships.

    Of course, this is why it is called the Lombardi Trophy.

    His 73.6 regular season winning percentage is only trumped by a postseason winning percentage of .900. In fact, Lombardi won his final nine postseason games after losing his initial one.

    If greatness is defined by the whole body of your success, Vince Lombardi represents one of the greatest figures in the history of the National Football League. This is why he is No. 2 on the list.

1. Paul Brown

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    Cleveland Browns: 1942-1962 and Cincinnati Bengals: 1969-1975

    Playoff Appearances: 15

    Championships: Seven

    Record: 213-104-9

    Fittingly, the first and greatest coach in Cleveland Browns history had the same namesake. Paul Brown left the college powerhouse that was the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in 1942. The contract was one of the richest in sports history at the time. It has been said that Brown made a total of $40,000 his first season as the Browns coach.

    Paul Brown's importance to the NFL goes far beyond the Cleveland Browns. He was the first to use intelligence tests to gauge players' ability to succeed, set up the first video film library and was the first to communicate with players on the sidelines, In fact, he is widely considered to have created the West Coast Offense that was popularized by Bill Walsh decades later.

    In Cleveland, Brown's success was ample. Brown won four consecutive All American Football Conference Championships from 1942-1945 before the league merged with the NFL. In Cleveland's first season as a member of the NFL, the Browns shocked the world by winning the title over the Los Angeles Rams.

    Overall, Paul Brown led Cleveland to seven championships in his 17 years as coach and transcended the way football would be played forever.

    His inginuity is still haled as one of the primary reasons the NFL is what we see today.