Best coach ever? It’s Belichick

Bill Belichick photo courtesy New England Patriots
(Belichick photos courtesy of the New England Patriots)

Talk of Fame Network

George Halas spent the most years on an NFL sideline, Don Shula won the most games and the championship trophy is named after Vince Lombardi.

But all can take a back seat to Bill Belichick, who was voted the greatest coach of all time in last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll. And it wasn’t even close.

Belichick, the only current coach and only non-Hall of Famer on the ballot, received 64 percent of the vote to lap the field. Lombardi finished second at 14.2 percent and the other four coaches on the ballot were all in single digits – Shula, Bill Walsh, Paul Brown and Halas.

The three Talk of Fame Network hosts went in different directions with their votes. Ron Borges picked Shula and both Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge chose Lombardi.

“It’s hard to pick against any of these guys,” Borges said, “but how do you pick against the guy who won the most games and is the only coach in NFL history to go undefeated — and did it in two different places in several different ways: throwing the ball a ton (Baltimore), running the ball a ton (Miami) and playing shutdown defense (both Baltimore and Miami)? Don Shula gets one more win from me.”

Belichick is in his 22nd season as an NFL head coach, including the last 17 as the head man at the Patriots. He has won 67 percent of his games and four Super Bowls. His Patriots have an NFL-record 14 consecutive seasons with double-digit victories and appeared in the last five AFC title games. New England is the top seed in the AFC entering the 2016 playoffs. His winning percentage with the Patriots alone is 73.6 percent and he has taken them to 10 AFC title games. He authored the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history in 2007 and also won two Super Bowl rings as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants (1986, 1990).

Lombardi coached only 10 seasons but went to six NFL championship games and won five titles with the Green Bay Packers, including the first two Super Bowls. He won 75 percent of his career games and went 9-1 record in post-season play.

“Lombardi turned Green Bay into Title Town and transformed the Packers from doormat to dynasty,” Judge said. “There’s a reason the Super Bowl is called the Lombardi Trophy. Nobody did it better.”

Halas coached the Chicago Bears for 40 seasons and Shula won 347 games with the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. His Dolphins won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1972-73 and his 1972 team remains the only NFL team ever to post a perfect season at 17-0.


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  1. Rasputin
    January 4, 2017

    Well the greatest out of those 6 choices maybe. There was a great deal of controversy over the short list’s makeup.

  2. Kerouac
    November 9, 2017

    Lombardi: when anyone matches let alone exceeds 3 straight World Championships – 5 in 7 years – can be debated; till then, case closed.

    “how do you pick against the guy (Shula) who won the most games and is the only coach in NFL history to go undefeated”

    – easy: Shula’s barely .500 post season/ranked 43rd all-time; you play to win, not place, post season what separates the ‘best’ from ‘the rest’.

    Shula’s .526% pales next Halas .667 (13th), Belichick’s .722 (7th). All of those guys as everyone else history pales next Lombardi’s ,900 – (1st).

    Different era’s, different this & different that, six of one half a dozen the other.

    Subjective arguments: this guy coaches ‘more’ games, his winning % goes down – some other guy coaches ‘less’ games and his winning % goes up. The ‘subjective’ always defers the ‘objective’… a bird in the hand better than two in the bush.

    Criteria ‘best’ vs ‘most’, there is a big difference (example below)

    Two hitters get 8,399 at bats: one hits 714 home runs, the other 619… who is the ‘best’? This real-life example, Babe Ruth is the best – better than Barry Bonds.

    Bonds hit ‘more’? Bonds finally caught Ruth after receiving an extra 836 at bats beyond what Ruth ever received – does not make Bonds equal to, let alone better. Rather allows him to hit more home runs – he should, almost a thousand more chances.

    Upshot: Bonds merely continued running past the finish line of a race Ruth won years before; ditto Hank Aaron and everyone else if ‘best’ is the measure vs ‘most’. Terms ‘best’ vs ‘most’ football coaches applied, similar:

    Length: Halas… gets an gold watch
    Most: Shula… gets an corner office
    Best: Lombardi… gets the ‘Trophy’

    The ‘everybody else’ line forms to the right.

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