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Best NFL Head Coaches of All Time: Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Vince Lombardi Headline Top 10

Who are the best NFL head coaches of all time? We offer our top 10, which include legends such as Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi, and Andy Reid.

Quarterbacks generate the most debate when creating NFL all-time lists, but head coaches aren’t far behind. As always, the greatest difficulty lies in comparing individuals from different ears. How can we truly stack someone from the 1940s against someone coaching in the 2020s?

Nevertheless, we went under the hood and ranked the 10 best NFL head coaches of all time, along with eight honorable mentions.

10 Best NFL Head Coaches of All Time

Honorable mentions: Bill Parcells, Curly Lambeau, John Madden, Guy Chamberlain, Dan Reeves, Bud Grant, Jimmy Johnson, Marv Levy

10) Andy Reid

In the last six years, Andy Reid went from well outside the top 20 to a relatively inarguable top-10 pick. And the 66-year-old might climb a few more spots before his career ends.

Reid will begin the 2024 season fourth on the NFL’s all-time wins list (regular season and playoffs) with 284, far behind third-place George Halas’ 324 wins. But if he coaches for, say, another five years, he just might eclipse Don Shula’s record of 347, depending on whether Bill Belichick ever coaches again.

Once a perennial playoff loser, Reid — with a little help from Patrick Mahomes — now is a three-time Super Bowl champion.

With Reid’s incredible offensive game-planning leading the way, the Kansas City Chiefs have become the NFL’s new dynasty. But let’s not dismiss his 14-year run with the Philadelphia Eagles, who went 224-130 under Reid’s guidance.

It took a while for him to get here, but Reid now is considered one of the best NFL head coaches of all time.

9) Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs probably doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the great two-sport stars of all time. In addition to being a legendary NFL head coach, Gibbs also is one of the greatest owners in NASCAR history. And, yes, NASCAR is a sport.

But let’s stick to football. Gibbs coached in Washington for 16 years, leading the franchise to three Super Bowl titles in four appearances. The most impressive part: Gibbs had a different starting QB for each of his titles (Joe Theisman, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien).

Most of Gibbs’ success occurred from 1981-92. His return to the sideline in 2004 didn’t go nearly as well, as Washington went 30-34 without a playoff win during Gibbs’ four-year sequel.

8) Tom Landry

Tom Landry is fifth on the all-time wins list with 270, and coached the Dallas Cowboys for a staggering 29 consecutive years from 1960-88. And though Landry’s 20-16 playoff record — including three Super Bowl losses — isn’t great, he still won two titles. Ultimately, you could argue for Landry being lower on this list.

But he lands in the No. 8 spot because of how he innovated football. From developing the Flex 3-4 defense to implementing a shotgun-oriented offense, Landry was a true game-changer.

7) Chuck Noll

Chuck Noll was one of the primary architects of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty, the second-best dynasty in NFL history. The Steelers went 1-13 in 1969, Noll’s first season on the job, but five years later won their first of four Super Bowl titles in a six-year span.

With Noll at the helm, the Steelers were fundamentally sound on the field and a roster-building powerhouse off the field. They drafted four future Hall of Famers in the 1974 NFL Draft alone.

Noll currently ranks eighth on the all-time wins list with 209.

6) Paul Brown

Paul Brown also is one of the most influential NFL owners of all time. But let’s focus on his accomplishments as a head coach.

Brown was the first head coach of the Cleveland Browns and the reason they were named the Browns in the first place. He served as Cleveland’s head coach, part owner, and general manager from 1946 — when it was in the All-America Football Conference — until 1962. Brown left Cleveland after the 1963 season when he worked as vice president.

Then, in 1968, Brown became head coach and owner of the Cincinnati Bengals when they were added as an AFL expansion franchise. He stopped coaching after the 1975 campaign but was the Bengals’ owner until 1990.

He invented the modern face mask, the practice squad, and the draw play. He also is credited with being the first coach to use game film to scout opponents. Brown finished his coaching career with 222 wins (seventh all-time) and three NFL championships.

5) Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh didn’t have the longest coaching career — just 10 years — but still left a lasting impact. The innovator of the West Coast offense, Walsh was an offensive genius whose game-planning made the San Francisco 49ers nearly unstoppable throughout the 1980s. Of course, he had a little help from the likes of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.

Walsh led the Niners to three Super Bowl titles and a 92-59-1 record from 1979 through 1988. His total wins (102) rank just 47th all-time, but anyone who watched Walsh’s 49ers knows he’s one of the greatest head coaches in NFL History.

4) George Halas

Where to start? Nicknamed “Papa Bear” and “Mr. Everything,” George Halas really did just about everything.

He played for the New York Yankees for one season. He simultaneously served as a player, head coach, and owner for the Chicago Bears throughout the 1920s. He owned the Bears from 1921-83. He co-founded the NFL. He was a member of the first Pro Football Hall of Fame class in 1963. He served in both World Wars.

So, yeah, he’s a total legend. And he’s one of the best head coaches in football history.

Third on the all-time wins list with 324, Halas had four separate head-coaching stints with the Bears. He won a championship in four different decades and changed the way NFL teams practiced and prepared for opposing teams.

3) Don Shula

The winningest head coach of all time, Don Shula coached the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins for 33 seasons, winning one NFL title and two Super Bowls. He also led the 1972 Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history.

The Dolphins were a run-heavy team during Shula’s early years in Miami. But once Dan Marino arrived in 1983, Shula transformed the Dolphins into one of the best passing teams in the league. He also spearheaded rule changes that made life easier for NFL offenses.

From consistent dominance to incredible longevity to on- and off-field innovation, Shula is a true NFL legend.

2) Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi only coached for 10 years, but he sure made the most of them.

Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers won five titles (three NFL championships and two Super Bowls) in seven years and went a stunning 96-34-6 during his nine years at the helm. They also went 9-1 in the playoffs, including wins over Landry’s Cowboys.

Unrivaled as a motivator, Lombardi also is one of the greatest game-planners in NFL history. He was the ultimate coach.

1) Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick’s story might not be over. If he lands another head coaching job, he could either strengthen or weaken his case for the No. 1 spot. But for now, he’s the obvious pick for the best NFL coach of all time. He’s also the best defensive coordinator of all time.

Belichick’s head coaching career got off to an ugly start with the Cleveland Browns, and the final years of his New England Patriots tenure were rough. There also are multiple cheating scandals that damage his legacy. However, his success from 2001-19 is unparalleled and likely never will be duplicated.

Six Super Bowl titles. Fourteen AFC title game appearances, including eight in a row. Seventeen AFC East titles, including 11 in a row. During the Patriots’ 19 years of dominance, they only missed the playoff twice, and both times finished tied for first in their division.

Belichick’s success is particularly impressive when you consider it wasn’t supposed to happen. The NFL salary cap was designed to prevent such dominance, but Belichick’s roster-building and coaching brilliance propelled the Patriots to yearly contention. Whether he or Tom Brady deserves more credit remains up for debate, but Belichick’s impact can’t be overstated.

Belichick currently ranks second all-time with 333 wins, putting Shula’s record in reach. He likely will break it if he gets another job.