Top 20 NFL head coaches of all time
Top 20 NFL head coaches of all time - Various/Getty Images

Who’s the best head coach in NFL history? That’s almost not up for debate any more after what Bill Belichick has done the past two decades in New England. Regardless, he’s certainly among the top NFL head coaches of all time.

Who else is on this list? Let’s dive in.

20. Marv Levy, Buffalo Bills

Marv Levy
26 Nov 1995: Coach Marv Levy of the Buffalo Bills watches his players during a game against the New England Patriots at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Patriots won the game 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport

The only thing Levy didn’t do was win the big game. His Bills teams in the 1990s went to four straight Super Bowls, unfortunately never sealing the deal. During that four-year stretch, Buffalo went 58-19 and featured one of the most-explosive offenses in the NFL.

19. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears v Pittsbugh Steelers
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 22: Mike Tomlin looks on during the game against the Chicago Bears on September 22, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Like Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher before him, Tomlin has been instrumental in the Steelers being among the most consistent winners in the NFL. It’s been a bit rocky the past couple of years. But in 13 seasons at the helm, Tomlin has led Pittsburgh to 133 victories, six division titles, two Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XLIII.

18. Hank Stram, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs
KANSAS CITY, MO – CIRCA 1972: Head Coach Hank Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1972 at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Stram was the head coach of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs from 1960-1974. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The first head coach to ever let NFL Films put a mic on him during a game, Stram broke the mold. He also was one of the most successful coaches to ever walk the sideline. He won three AFL championships before the Texans became the Chiefs, then took Kansas City to the top with a victory in Super Bowl IV.

17. Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts v New Orleans Saints
JACKSON, MS – AUGUST 26: Head Coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts is all smiles after a game against the New Orleans Saints on August 26, 2006 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi. The Colts won 27-14. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Before landing in Indianapolis, Dungy took over a broken Tampa Bay Buccaneers team and turned it around. In fact, his foundation was a big reason Jon Gruden was able to win Super Bowl XXXVI. Once he took over with the Colts, Dungy continued winning with Peyton Manning and reached the pinnacle after the 2006 season with a Super Bowl win over Chicago.

16. Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher (C) scr
PITTSBURGH, UNITED STATES: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher (C) screams at two officials after a penalty against the Steelers caused a re-kick of a punt and a New England patriots punt return for a touchdown during the first quarter of the AFC Championship game 27 January, 2002 at Heinz Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. The winner will face either the St. Louis Rams or the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. AFP PHOTO/Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Cowher took over for the legendary Chuck Noll in 1992 and continued the winning tradition in Pittsburgh. In 15 seasons, his Steelers won 149 games, eight division titles and got to two Super Bowls. Finally, after more than a decade of near-misses, Cowher won a Super Bowl after the 2005 NFL season.

15. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

When Reid is finally done with football, he’ll almost certainly be ranked even higher thanks to his budding relationship with superstar Patrick Mahomes. He was highly successful as the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and has only improved his stock since joining the Chiefs in 2013. Reid finally got his Super Bowl ring at the end of the 2019 campaign and could be in line for many more.

14. Bud Grant, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 1983: Head Coach Bud Grant of the Minnesota Vikings during a game in October 1983 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Grant won four championships in the CFL before becoming the head coach of the Vikings in 1967. At the NFL level, his prowess continued to shine through. The Vikings got to four Super Bowls and won the championship in 1969. Grant’s Purple People Eaters defense also remains one of the best in league history.

13. John Madden, Oakland Raiders

Raiders' head coach John Madden celebrates in the Oakland 32-14 win over the Vikings at the Super Bowl XI game of the Oakland Raiders vs the Minnesota Vikings played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on  January 9, 1977. (Photo by Dennis Desprois/Getty Images)
Raiders’ head coach John Madden celebrates in the Oakland 32-14 win over the Vikings at the Super Bowl XI game of the Oakland Raiders vs the Minnesota Vikings played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 9, 1977. (Photo by Dennis Desprois/Getty Images)

What a run Madden had with the Raiders. He led the franchise for just 10 seasons, averaging more than 10 wins per campaign, and his .759 winning percentage is second-best in NFL history. The Raiders won seven division titles under his guidance, and Madden was carried off the field by his players after winning Super Bowl XI.

12. Joe Gibbs, Washington

Washington Redskins
WASHINGTON, D.C. – CIRCA 1984: Head coach Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins talks with quarterback Joe Theismann #7 on the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1984 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.. Gibbs coached the Redskins from 1981-92 and 2004-2007. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

In 16 years at the helm in Washington, Gibbs won 154 games, took his team to the Super Bowl four times and won three championships. He surrounded himself with elite coaching talent, facilitated the first African-American Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and was a class act all the way. Washington has done nothing of consequence since he retired for the second time in 2008.

11. Bill Parcells, New York Giants

St. Louis Cardinals v New York Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 14: Head coach Bill Parcells of the New York Giants looks on from a tunnel leading to the field before pregame warm up prior to a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Giants Stadium on December 14, 1986 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 27-7. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Wherever he went, Parcells was a winner — taking all four of his teams to the playoffs. One of the greatest defensive coaches around, he’s best known for his tenure with the Giants. In New York, “The Big Tuna” led the G-Men to two Super Bowls and won the Lombardi Trophy both times. He also led the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI but lost that game.

10. Curly Lambeau, Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 14:  General view of Lambeau Field and the Curly Lambeau statue during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 14: General view of Lambeau Field and the Curly Lambeau statue during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)

Curly Lambeau is one of the most famous names in football and was the founder of one of the NFL’s most celebrated franchises. He won an incredible 226 games, eight division titles and six championship games as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

9. Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys

Tom Landry
1988: Head coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys watches from the sideline during a game in the 1988 season. Tom Landry coached the Cowboys from 1960 to 1988, leading them to two Super Bowl victories. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t be known as “America’s Team” if it weren’t for Landry, who was the franchise’s first head coach. He took the ‘Boys to five Super Bowls, winning two. Before his head coaching career took off, Landry also developed the famous 4-3 defense as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

8. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers
PITTSBURGH, PA – CIRCA 1978: Terry Bradshaw #12 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with head coach Chuck Noll during an NFL football game circa `1978 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Noll was the head coach of the Steelers from 1969-91. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The Steel Curtain emerged with Noll as its mastermind. Once he took over in Pittsburgh the Steelers became an NFL powerhouse that won four Super Bowls in six seasons. All told, he won nine division championships as he cemented himself as one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history.

7. Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1969: Head Coach Paul Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with his quarterback Greg Cook #12 on the sidelines during an AFL Football game circa 1969. Brown coached the Bengals from 1968-75. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

For a quarter century, Paul Brown dominated pro football. He founded the Browns and the franchise is named after him. Brown’s Browns went to 10 straight championship games, won 14 division titles and three championships. He also helped found the Cincinnati Bengals and is one of the cornerstones of the modern NFL.

6. Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys

1992 NFC Championship Game - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 17: Head coach Jimmy Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the 1992 NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 17, 1993 in San Francisco, California. The Cowboys defeated the 49ers 30-20. (Photo by James Smith/Getty Images)

Imagine if Jerry Jones hadn’t booted Johnson out of town after the 1993 campaign. His five-year run as the head coach in Dallas was one of the best in NFL history. Johnson went from winning just one game in 1989 to building a powerhouse nobody could contend with just three years later. The ‘Boys won back-to-back Super Bowls, and then Jones and Johnson parted ways.

5. Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – CIRCA 1982: Head coach Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers talks with quarterback Joe Montana #16 on the sidelines during an NFL Football game at Candlestick Park circa 1982 in San Francisco, California. Walsh coached the 49ers from 1979-88. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Many of the best NFL offenses around today implement the “West Coast” offensive philosophies developed by Walsh. He helped mold two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and destroyed NFL defenses for years. Known as the most innovative offensive mind of his generation, Walsh won three Super Bowls and changed the game of football forever.

4. George Halas, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears
CIRCA 1962: George Halas the owner and coach of the Chicago Bears looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1962. Halas owned the Bears from 1920-83. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The Monsters of the Midway thrived under the guidance of Halas, who led the franchise for a stunning four decades. “Papa Bear” Halas was the NFL’s winningest coach until Don Shula passed him by, and he won six championships throughout his legendary career. The NFC Championship Trophy bears his name.

3. Don Shula, Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Colts
BALTIMORE, MD: Don Shula head coach of the Miami Dolphins circa 1982 coaches against the Baltimore Colts at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Owen Shaw/Getty Images)

Shula is the only head coach in NFL history with a perfect season on record. His Miami Dolphins won every game during the famous 1972 season. Shula also went to six Super Bowls, winning two of them. To cap it off, no coach has won more games than the late, great Shula.

2. Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl II - Green Bay Packers v Oakland Raiders
MIA MI, FL – January 14: Head Coach Vince Lombardi (dark Jacket) of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during Super Bowl II January 14, 1968 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Packers won the game 33-14. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The NFL championship trophy is named after Lombardi, which should tell you all you need to know about his legacy. Under his guidance, the Green Bay Packers won five championships in nine seasons — including the first two Super Bowls.

1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody remembers his tenure in Cleveland. Instead, Belichick will forever be remembered for his legendary run as the head coach of the New England Patriots. Nine Super Bowl appearances and six Lombardi Trophies to his credit. He has also won an incredible 17 division titles along with 31 postseason games. Absolute legend.