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Top 20 NFL head coaches of all time, including Andy Reid

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

Who’s on your list of the best NFL head coaches in history? Any list certainly has to include Bill Belichick and Vince Lombardi, but who’s the best head coach in NFL history?

That’s what we set out to rank. Down below, you’ll find our top NFL head coaches of all time in reverse order.

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20. Marv Levy, Buffalo Bills

Marv Levy
Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
  • Coaching record: 143-112
  • Accomplishments: Four Super Bowl appearances

Imagine any coach going to four straight Super Bowls in the modern era. That’s what Levy’s Buffalo Bills teams did in the 1990s. Unfortunately, they could never win the Lombardi Trophy, but Levy still deserves a place in coaching history.

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19. Bud Grant, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 158-96-5
  • Accomplishments: Four Super Bowl appearances

The Minnesota Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, but Grant’s Purple People Eaters became one of the best football teams in the 1970s, creating thousands of fans worldwide.

Related: NFL teams that have never won a Super Bowl

18. Hank Stram, Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 131-97
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl IV, two league championships

A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs were dominant in the 1960s and 70s, both in the AFL and NFL. In all, Stram won two AFL Championships and one Super Bowl. He also was the first head coach to be mic’d up during a game, paving the way for a new era of football content.

Related: 5 best Kansas City Chiefs teams of all-time

17. Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • Coaching record: 139-69
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XLI

Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to seven consecutive double-digit win seasons, peaking in 2006 by finally getting that ever-so-elusive Lombardi Trophy. With how excellent the Colts were in the early 2000s, it’s hard to leave Dungy off any mention of the best football coaches of all time.

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16. Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher (C) scr
Credit : Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Coaching record: 149-90-1
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XL

With a few more successful seasons, we’re bumping Tomlin ahead of Cowher, but for now, we like the latter’s playoff success more than the former. Cowher’s success with the Steelers can’t be forgotten, and unlike most of Tomlin’s career, he didn’t have a franchise quarterback.

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15. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Coaching record: 173-100-2
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XLIII

Tomlin has been at the helm in Pittsburgh for 17 seasons, and yet he’s never had a losing record. Most importantly, in 2009, at the age of 36, Tomlin became the youngest NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl (Later topped by Sean McVay). He’s now in the top 15 on the NFL’s all-time wins list, with over 170 victories, and consistently leads one of the best defenses in football.

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14. Bill Parcells, New York Giants

NFL: Super Bowl XXV
Anne Ryan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Coaching record: 172-130-1
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XXI, XXV

Parcells is one of the most respected head coaches of all-time, and for good reason. ‘The Big Tuna’ was far from a ‘nice guy’, but players certainly responded to his tough love. The proof is all in the two Super Bowl trophies sitting at the New York Giants’ headquarters.

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13. Jimmy Johnson, Dallas Cowboys

1992 NFC Championship Game - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers
Photo by James Smith/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 80-64
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XXVII, XXVIII

While Jimmy Johnson’s reign as the Dallas head coach only lasted five seasons, it sure was glorious. We can still hear “How bout them Cowboys” coming through our TV sets 30 years later. Curiously, Jerry Jones moved on from Johnson after winning his second consecutive Super Bowl in 1993, the ‘Boys haven’t won the big game since.

12. 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)
Photo by Dennis Desprois/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 103-32-7
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XI

Is John Madden one of the greatest coaches of all time? The impact Madden had on the game of football cannot be overstated. He may have only coached for ten seasons and retired back in 1978, but his .759 winning percentage still ranks second-best in NFL history. He’s the perfect example of quality over quantity.

11. Joe Gibbs, Washington

Washington Redskins
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 154-94
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XVII, XXII, XXVI

There have been just four coaches to win three or more Super Bowls. Joe Gibbs did his best work during the 1980s and 1990s, leading the ‘Hogs’ to four league championship appearances. His 70% win percentage in the playoffs also has to be considered when ranking the best football coaches of all time.

Top 10 NFL head coaches of all time

10. 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
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
  • Coaching record: 258-144-1
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl LIV, LVII, LVIII

As the only head coach to win at least 100 games with two different franchises, Andy Reid deserves a special place in history. While his 14-year tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles was impressive in its own right, what he’s done with the Kansas City Chiefs will help get ‘Big Red’ into the Hall of Fame. Of course, Patrick Mahomes hasn’t hurt, and now the duo has won three Super Bowls together, but we have a feeling they’re not done. Reid’s passed Landry for fourth on the all-time wins list, but he’s just getting warmed up.

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9. 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)
Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 226-132-22
  • Accomplishments: Won six NFL Championships

Not only was Curly Lambeau the founder of the Green Bay Packers, he led them to six league championships. It’s only fitting they named the stadium after him, and now everyone knows Lambeau Field. Heck, it’s been seventy years since he was roaming the sidelines, and the name Lambeau has yet to lose any pull.

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8. Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys

Tom Landry
Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 250-162-6
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl VI, XII

Tom Landry made the Dallas Cowboys ‘America’s Team’ thanks to leading his groups to five Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s. His 250 wins still rank fourth all-time in NFL history, and his 20 playoff wins come in at third place. A coach who was ahead of his time, Landry was credited with inventing the 4-3 base defenses that teams still use heavily today.

7. Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 213-104-9
  • Accomplishments: Won seven league championships

Not only was Paul Brown the founder of the Cleveland Browns, but he was also part of getting the Cincinnati Bengals off the ground. Going to ten consecutive championship games and winning seven, Brown is absolutely one of the greatest coaches in football history.

6. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 193-148-1
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV

If you’re familiar with The Steel Curtain, then you should also be aware of Chuck Noll, whose Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in a six-year span. He paved the way for being a Steelers legend and deserves a place among the best coaches in NFL history.

5. Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 92-59-1
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XVI, XIX, XXIII

When sports figures speak of riding off into the sunset, they dream of doing what Bill Walsh did, retiring after winning his third Super Bowl with the 49ers. But he earned an early retirement after completing six consecutive double-digit win seasons. Walsh developing the now-famous West Coast offense only puts the cherry on top regarding his coaching excellence.

Related: Super Bowl winners: Most Super Bowl wins, Lombardi Trophy history

4. George Halas, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 318-148-31
  • Accomplishments: Won six NFL Championships

Halas’ place in history will be hard to forget, as his 318 wins rank as the second-most in NFL history, as does his six league championships. Halas did it all, from playing the game to coaching and even founding and owning the Chicago Bears, which is still operated by his family to this day. There’s a reason the NFC Championship Trophy bears his name. George Halas was a legend.

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3. Don Shula, Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Colts
Photo by Owen Shaw/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 328-156-6
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl VII, VIII

There is only one coach who has ever led an NFL team to a perfect record. His name is Don Shula, and he also holds the record for the most wins in NFL history. The ’72 Dolphins may very well be the greatest football team of all time, and who would we be to discredit the coach who led Miami to six Super Bowls?

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2. Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl II - Green Bay Packers v Oakland Raiders
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
  • Coaching record: 96-34-6
  • Accomplishments: Won five league titles, won Super Bowl I, II

Who is the greatest NFL head coach of all time? In the NFL, the ultimate goal is to chase a Lombardi Trophy. Which, until Bill Belichick came along, meant every other football coach was trying to live up to Vince Lombardi’s legendary accomplishments with the Green Bay Packers. We’re just going to leave you with this. “We need a seal here!”

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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
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Coaching record: 302-165
  • Accomplishments: Won Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII (6)

Is Bill Belichick the greatest coach ever? In football, when it comes to the greatest head coach of all time, we have to give the title to Belichick. Winning six Super Bowls is more than anyone else, and unlike those who won league championships, Belichick did it in the modern day, with football as advanced as ever.

He has a total of nine Super Bowl appearances, and his competitive itch isn’t going away any time soon. It will be difficult for anyone to dethrone ‘The Hoodie’ from his spot as the greatest coach in NFL history, but that’s what they said about Shula and Lombardi too.

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