The Best NFL Coaches in the History of the Game

The Best NFL Coaches in the History of the Game

The National Football League (NFL) is almost as old as American football itself. So it stands to reason ,that in its not quite 100 year old history, the NFL produced a number of remarkable coaches. Below is a list of the best of the best. It should be noted that in considering criteria, a number of factors were considered besides “best season” or “most trips to the Super Bowl”. As readers will see, it takes a lot to be the best, including patience, creativity, and great leadership skills.

12. George Allen, Washington Redskins(1966-1977)
What was up with this Allen guy? He took little interest in an offensive game. He was one of the league’s biggest player traders. And his teams were veteran-heavy. On the other hand, he turned in season after winning season for the Redskins. And under his watch, Washington’s team went to Super Bowl VII.

11. Tony Dungy, Tampa Buccaneers(1996-2008)
Dungy is considered a notable NFL trailblazer in two ways. First, he was the first African-American NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl. Secondly, he devised the influential “Tampa Two” defensive strategy in which the middle linebacker sets up what seems to be a “Cover 2” play but switches to a “Cover 3” before the other team can recover.

10. Bud Grant, Minnesota Vikings(1967-1985)
Grant started out as both a talented professional football and basketball player, then moved on to ten years of professional coaching for the Canadian Football League. After joining the Vikings, he led the team to ten national titles and four Super Bowls.

9. Marv Levy, Buffalo Bills(1978-1997)
Levy took the Bills to the Super Bowl on four occasions. Although the team never won in these face-offs, Levy remains celebrated for his strong defensive team, and his powerful “K-Gun” strategy.

8. Curly Lambeau, Green Bay Packers(1921-1953)
One of the Packers’ original players, Lambeau was also the team’s first coach. In his 30+ year coaching career, he led this team to six national titles. He is also noted for his innovative use of the forward pass.

7. John Madden, Oakland Raiders(1969-1978)
This Super Bowl winner is also one of the NHL’s overall best regular season winners, with well over a hundred Oakland victories.

6. Bill Parcells, New York Giants(1983-2006)
Parcells was the first coach to work with four different NFL teams during his career. But his greatest success was with the Giants, with whom he won two Super Bowls.

5. Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins(1981-1992; 2004-2007)
Gibbs liked the Redskins so much that he coached the team twice. He’s also noteworthy for winning this team three Super Bowls with three different starting quarterbacks each time.

4. Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys(1960-1988)
Landry was this team’s first coach. Over the twenty-nine seasons he coached them, he won twenty of them, leading the team to five Super Bowls and winning two.

3. George Halas, Chicago Bears(1920-1967)
The Bears’ first coach led his team to six national titles. He also makes the list for being ranked number two for the most wins of all time.

2. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers(1969-1991)
He transformed one of the NFL’s biggest losers to one of its superstars in the 1970s, and made NFL history with four Super Bowl wins in six years. He is also ranked number seventh for most all-time victories.

1. Don Shula, Miami Dolphins(1963-1995)
Shula remains the winner in terms of overall victories. He was also at the helm in 1972 when the Dolphins had a perfect season, winning every game that they played.