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Debating with your friends who’s the best American Football coach?

Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi or Don Shula?

Here is our list of the best American Football coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best American Football Coaches:

  1. Bill Belichick
  2. Vince Lombardi
  3. Don Shula
  4. Tom Landry
  5. George Halas
  6. Chuck Noll
  7. Bill Walsh
  8. Paul Brown
  9. Joe Gibbs
  10. Bill Parcells
  11. Jimmy Johnson

πŸ“Ή Video

#1 Bill Belichick

  • πŸ† Achievements: 6 Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1975–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Bill Belichick is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. Leading the New England Patriots, Belichick has won six Super Bowl titles and has been at the forefront of the team’s success since 2000. Known for his strategic acumen, meticulous preparation, and roster management, Belichick has maintained the Patriots’ competitiveness for over two decades.

#2 Vince Lombardi

  • πŸ† Achievements: 5 NFL Championships, including 2 Super Bowls
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1959–1969
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Vince Lombardi, the legendary figure for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, made his mark as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi led the Packers to five NFL Championships, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. His leadership and motivational skills are legendary, and his name is synonymous with excellence in coaching.

#3 Don Shula

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 Super Bowl titles; most wins as a head coach in NFL history
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1963–1995
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Don Shula is best known for his tenure with the Miami Dolphins, leading them to two Super Bowl titles and the only perfect season in NFL history in 1972. Shula holds the record for the most wins as an NFL head coach and is celebrated for his adaptability and ability to consistently field competitive teams over his long career.

#4 Tom Landry

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 Super Bowl titles; innovator of the 4-3 defense and the Flex Defense
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1960–1988
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Dallas Cowboys
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Tom Landry was the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and spent 29 seasons in that role. He is revered for his innovation, such as the development of the 4-3 defense and the Flex Defense system. Landry’s Cowboys won two Super Bowls, and he was known for his calm demeanor and analytical approach to the game.

#5 George Halas

  • πŸ† Achievements: 6 NFL Championships
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1920–1967
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Chicago Bears
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

George Halas, also known as “Papa Bear,” was a pioneering figure in American football and one of the co-founders of the NFL. He served as player, coach, and owner of the Chicago Bears over several decades. Halas led the Bears to six NFL Championships and is remembered as one of the most influential people in the history of the sport.

#6 Chuck Noll

  • πŸ† Achievements: 4 Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1969–1991
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Chuck Noll transformed the Pittsburgh Steelers from perennial underachievers into a dynasty in the 1970s. His Steelers won four Super Bowl titles in six years, making Noll the first coach to achieve that feat. His philosophy was grounded in fundamental football and maximizing player potential, leaving a lasting impact on the team and the sport.

#7 Bill Walsh

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 Super Bowl titles; popularized the West Coast Offense
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1979–1988
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: San Francisco 49ers
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Bill Walsh is best known for developing the West Coast Offense, revolutionizing offensive play with an emphasis on passing and timing routes. As head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Walsh’s system propelled the team to three Super Bowl victories during the 1980s. He is also famed for his influence on the coaching tree, with many of his assistants going on to be successful coaches.

#8 Paul Brown

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 NFL Championships; integral in founding two NFL teams
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1946–1975
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Paul Brown was an innovative coach whose impact on the game of football is still felt today. Beyond leading the Cleveland Browns to three NFL Championships, he founded both the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. His contributions to modern football concepts, including the use of game film and the draw play, have cemented his legacy as a pioneering strategist.

#9 Joe Gibbs

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3 Super Bowl titles with the Washington Redskins
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1981–1992, 2004–2007
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Washington Redskins
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Joe Gibbs is unique in having led the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl victories with three different quarterbacks. Known for his offensive ingenuity and leadership qualities, Gibbs’s tenure with the Redskins is defined by adaptability and success. His second stint as head coach also demonstrated his enduring football acumen.

#10 Bill Parcells

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1983–2006
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Bill Parcells, known as “The Big Tuna,” led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles. His coaching career included successful tenures with multiple teams, and he had a significant impact on the NFL through his motivational style and the development of coaching talent. Parcells was a master at rebuilding teams and creating a winning culture.

#11 Jimmy Johnson

  • πŸ† Achievements: 2 Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys; turned around a 1-15 team into a dynasty
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1989–1999
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Jimmy Johnson is perhaps best known for his role in transforming the Dallas Cowboys from a 1-15 team into a dynasty that won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1990s. His expertise in talent evaluation, particularly through the draft, helped assemble a roster that dominated the era. Johnson’s intensity and focus on accountability were hallmarks of his coaching style.

Understanding the minds behind the game complements knowing about its best athletes, as detailed in our list of the best American football athletes of all time.


Who is the greatest American Football coach of all time?

Bill Belichick is widely considered the greatest American Football coach of all time, with six Super Bowl wins leading the New England Patriots.

Who was the most successful American Football coach?

Bill Belichick is the most successful American Football coach, with six Super Bowl titles, nine AFC championships, and 17 division titles with the Patriots.

To get a deeper understanding of the game’s strategies and successes, learn about the most important American football tournaments where these coaches have made history.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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