The best NFL coaches of all time are hands down the best men ever to lead their respective National Football League teams into battle. There are reasons why these men have teams, stadiums, video game franchises and that little thing given away annually to the Super Bowl champion named after them. These are the best NFL coaches to have ever lived, period.
Regardless of which NFL team you root for, there is little doubt that the vast majority of football fans would agree that Vince Lombardi is the greatest football coach in the history of mankind. As a forefather to the NFL, Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, leading them to five championships in a seven-year span including wins in the first two Super Bowls ever. His inspirational words are still widely used today as is his name which graces the title of the Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the annual champion of the National Football League.
But there are many more legendary NFL coaches of past and present that also deserve a place on this list for their brilliance, inspiration and undeniable success on the field. Coaches like Tom Landry, Don Shula, George Halas, Paul Brown and Chuck Noll were the leaders in the league a few decades ago while the best current NFL coaches like Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton continue to improve upon their already legendary status in NFL history.
How do you define which NFL coach is the best of all time? Is it from their championships and wins or do you look at their entire career to compare one body of work to another? However you do it, vote, add to or re-rank this list of the best NFL coaches of all time.
- William Stephen Belichick ( or (; born April 16, 1952) is an American football coach who serves as the head coach of the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). His extensive ...more
- Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970) was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the ...more
- John Earl Madden (April 10, 1936 – December 28, 2021) was an American football coach and sportscaster. He was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL) for ten ...more
- Thomas Wade Landry (September 11, 1924 – February 12, 2000) was an American football player and coach. He was the original head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League (NFL), a ...more
- William Ernest Walsh (November 30, 1931 – July 30, 2007) was an American football coach. He served as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the Stanford Cardinal football team, during which time ...more
- Donald Francis Shula (January 4, 1930 – May 4, 2020)) was an American former professional football coach and player who is best known as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, the team he led to two ...more
- Paul Eugene Brown (September 7, 1908 – August 5, 1991) was an American football coach and executive in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL). Brown was both ...more
- George Stanley Halas Sr. (; February 2, 1895 – October 31, 1983), nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was a player, coach, and owner involved with professional American football. He was the ...more
- Charles Henry Noll (January 5, 1932 – June 13, 2014) was an American professional football player, assistant coach and head coach. His sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of ...more
- Joe Jackson Gibbs (born November 25, 1940) is a retired American football coach, NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series team owner, and former NHRA team owner. He was the 20th and 26th head ...more
- Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau (April 9, 1898 – June 1, 1965) was a professional American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). Lambeau, along with his friend and fellow Green ...more
- Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells (born August 22, 1941), also known as "The Big Tuna", is an American former football coach who was a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons. He ...more
- Andrew Walter Reid (born March 19, 1958) is an American football head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). Reid was previously the head coach of the Philadelphia ...more
- Harry Peter "Bud" Grant Jr. (born May 20, 1927) is a former head coach and player of American football, Canadian football, and a former basketball player in the NBA. Grant served as the head coach of ...more
- Marvin Daniel Levy (born August 3, 1925) is a former American and Canadian football coach, front office executive, and author. He served as head coach in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the ...more
- Henry Louis "Hank" Stram (; January 3, 1923 – July 4, 2005) was an American football coach. He is best known for his 15-year tenure with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football ...more
- Anthony Kevin Dungy ( DUN-jee; born October 6, 1955) is a former professional American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). Dungy was head coach of the Tampa Bay ...more
- Daniel Edward Reeves (January 19, 1944 – January 1, 2022) was an American football running back and coach in the National Football League (NFL). During his 38 years in the NFL, Reeves participated in ...more
- William Laird Cowher (born May 8, 1957) is a former professional American football coach and player in the National Football League (NFL). In Cowher's 15 seasons as head coach of the Pittsburgh ...more
- James William Johnson (born July 16, 1943) is an American football broadcaster and former player, coach, and executive. He served as the head football coach at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater ...more
- Martin Edward Schottenheimer (; born September 23, 1943) is a former professional American football player and coach who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for 21 seasons. ...more
- Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips (September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013) was an American football coach at the high school, college and professional levels. He served as head coach in the National Football ...more
- George Herbert Allen (April 29, 1918 – December 31, 1990) was an American football coach in the National Football League and the United States Football League. He was inducted into the Virginia ...more
- Michael Edward Shanahan (born August 24, 1952) is a former American football coach, best known as the head coach of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL) from 1995 to 2008. During ...more
- Donald David Coryell (October 17, 1924 – July 1, 2010) was an American football coach, who coached in the National Football League (NFL) first with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1973 to 1977 and then ...more