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ESPN's top 20 coaches of all-time (1 Viewer)

BassNBrew said:
Todd Andrews said:
Gibbs is a top 5 no question.
Probably being downgraded based on his second stint.
No doubt. He would have ranked higher on my list before he came back.
I don't know, he took a horrid team and patched it up while saddled with the legendarily clueless GM Vinnie Cerrato, making the playoffs twice in a strong division with a patchwork roster and an antiquated playbook/understanding of the game. That was because he was an incredible leader of men during a time when the locker room was a mess and the team culture was a complete and utter joke. He made chicken salad out of chicken ####, although just barely.It's not great, but it's far better than anyone other than Shanahan (WITH RG3) has been able to accomplish in the Redskins' recent history.
 
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BassNBrew said:
Todd Andrews said:
Gibbs is a top 5 no question.
Probably being downgraded based on his second stint.
No doubt. He would have ranked higher on my list before he came back.
I don't know, he took a horrid team and patched it up while saddled with the legendarily clueless GM Vinnie Cerrato, making the playoffs twice in a strong division with a patchwork roster and an antiquated playbook/understanding of the game. That was because he was an incredible leader of men during a time when the locker room was a mess and the team culture was a complete and utter joke. He made chicken salad out of chicken ####, although just barely.It's not great, but it's far better than anyone other than Shanahan (WITH RG3) has been able to accomplish in the Redskins' recent history.
If anything, for the above reasons, making the playoffs those 2 out of 4 years in the second goround shows how great he really was.

 
BassNBrew said:
Todd Andrews said:
Gibbs is a top 5 no question.
Probably being downgraded based on his second stint.
No doubt. He would have ranked higher on my list before he came back.
I don't know, he took a horrid team and patched it up while saddled with the legendarily clueless GM Vinnie Cerrato, making the playoffs twice in a strong division with a patchwork roster and an antiquated playbook/understanding of the game. That was because he was an incredible leader of men during a time when the locker room was a mess and the team culture was a complete and utter joke. He made chicken salad out of chicken ####, although just barely.It's not great, but it's far better than anyone other than Shanahan (WITH RG3) has been able to accomplish in the Redskins' recent history.
If anything, for the above reasons, making the playoffs those 2 out of 4 years in the second goround shows how great he really was.
Yeah, that was kinda my point. Is there any other case of a coach being gone from the league for so long and bringing a team to the playoffs?
 
BassNBrew said:
Todd Andrews said:
Gibbs is a top 5 no question.
Probably being downgraded based on his second stint.
No doubt. He would have ranked higher on my list before he came back.
I don't know, he took a horrid team and patched it up while saddled with the legendarily clueless GM Vinnie Cerrato, making the playoffs twice in a strong division with a patchwork roster and an antiquated playbook/understanding of the game. That was because he was an incredible leader of men during a time when the locker room was a mess and the team culture was a complete and utter joke. He made chicken salad out of chicken ####, although just barely.It's not great, but it's far better than anyone other than Shanahan (WITH RG3) has been able to accomplish in the Redskins' recent history.
If anything, for the above reasons, making the playoffs those 2 out of 4 years in the second goround shows how great he really was.
Yeah, that was kinda my point. Is there any other case of a coach being gone from the league for so long and bringing a team to the playoffs?
**** Vermeil

 
Greg Russell already pointed out the double standard. Jimmy Johnson builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Barry Switzer manages to succeed and it proves Jimmy Johnson is a genius. Tony Dungy builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Jim Caldwell manages to succeed and it proves that Tony Dungy was easily replaceable.

As for John Fox... no way was he essentially a .500 career coach. He took over a 1-15 team and went 71-57 with them (55.5%), including 5-3 in the playoffs with two NFCCG appearances and one SB appearance, before ownership pulled the rug out from under him, gutted the team, and let him take the fall for a lame-duck franchise. He then took over a Denver Broncos squad drafting #2 overall and got them to 8-8 and the divisional round of the playoffs. All without Peyton Manning. Yes, Manning makes a difference, but again... Manning is not the only Hall of Fame QB in history. Tony Dungy's record with his HoF QB is better than Bill Belichick's with Brady, or Mike Shanahan's with Elway. Dungy's record *WITHOUT* his HoF QB is better than Belichick's without Brady or Shanahan's without Elway, too.
The fact that people feel it's necessary to add this "perspective" (hey, perhaps his record would have been worse if he hadn't played with one of the top 5 QBs of all time) to qualify Dungy's place in history and not, say, Belichick's or Walsh's is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about how people hate on Tony Dungy.
I wouldn't call what Indy was a dynasty; one title over a decade, despite all of those 12+ win seasons, is not a dynasty. But I have been consistent in this regard, and that is another coach coming in and winning with a team that had already won (like Switzer did with Dallas) is more of an indication of the great talent said team had than it was of the previous coach's greatness. In the case of Dungy, how much control did he have over player personnel in Indy? Caldwell being able to step in and win 14 games in his first season said a lot about a) Peyton Manning's greatness, and b) Bill Polian.

I agree that Fox was better than his record was in Carolina, and that is my point: you can't always look at a record and say, "That is the story." Often times, other factors play a huge part in a good coach's record not being as good, or vice versa. Hell, most think Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach, but not that great of a head coach, yet he still went 34-22 in Dallas, which was considered disappointing despite being, record wise, their best coach in the last 15 years. That is what I meant when I said I was giving perspective on Dungy (as I think he was a very good coach, but not great).

 
Just curious as to what coaches do or don't get credit for. The Colts already had Peyton, Edge, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne before Dungy ever got to town. The offense was already the second highest scoring team in the league. The defense improved over time, but the offense was already top shelve.

Jimmy Johnson reaped the benefit of trading Herschel Walker. The Cowboys got back 5 players, 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks, a 3rd rounder, and a 6th rounder. That netted the Boys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland (among others). Does that make Johnson a great coach?

 
Just curious as to what coaches do or don't get credit for. The Colts already had Peyton, Edge, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne before Dungy ever got to town. The offense was already the second highest scoring team in the league. The defense improved over time, but the offense was already top shelve.

Jimmy Johnson reaped the benefit of trading Herschel Walker. The Cowboys got back 5 players, 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks, a 3rd rounder, and a 6th rounder. That netted the Boys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland (among others). Does that make Johnson a great coach?
Jimmy Johnson was the first NFL coach to have won a National Championship in college and then went on to win a Super Bowl.

He built a college dynasty at Miami and brought along some coaches from there to Dallas.

He had the burden of succeeding the Cowboys only head coach in their history, Tom Landry, so that added pressure. Also the talent on the Cowboays wasn't loaded, his first year they only won one game.

One aspect of Johnson I feel is under rated is his defensive philosophy.

He was in the same division as Joe Gibbs and the Washington massive O-Line that Gibbs had in place. Johnson developed a rotation with his D-Line to match up against the much larger O-Line of Washington so instead of his D-Line being worn down by a bigger and stronger O-Line he wore out the bigger O-Line with faster and fresher D-Linemen.

Russell Maryland was not considered the best first pick in the history of the draft but he fit the scheme that Jimmy Johnson and his Defensive Coordinator Butch Davis installed with a heavy rotation on the D-Line. Maryland, Jim Jeffcoat, Charles Haley, etc, all were rotated and that gave the Boys an edge defensively. Norv Turner was hired as the offensvie coordinator and the offense with Emmit Smith and Troy Aikman and Irvin, etc took off.

He did have an influx of talented personnel hit the beach at the right time but he has to get credit for assembling a great coaching staff and for installing sound offensive and defensive schemes.

He didn't do it alone but he certainly deserves credit because he did bring everything together. If anything Barry Switzer fell into a tub of butter with talent and schemes already in place, Jimmy built the team from the ground-up.

 
Greg Russell already pointed out the double standard. Jimmy Johnson builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Barry Switzer manages to succeed and it proves Jimmy Johnson is a genius. Tony Dungy builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Jim Caldwell manages to succeed and it proves that Tony Dungy was easily replaceable.

As for John Fox... no way was he essentially a .500 career coach. He took over a 1-15 team and went 71-57 with them (55.5%), including 5-3 in the playoffs with two NFCCG appearances and one SB appearance, before ownership pulled the rug out from under him, gutted the team, and let him take the fall for a lame-duck franchise. He then took over a Denver Broncos squad drafting #2 overall and got them to 8-8 and the divisional round of the playoffs. All without Peyton Manning. Yes, Manning makes a difference, but again... Manning is not the only Hall of Fame QB in history. Tony Dungy's record with his HoF QB is better than Bill Belichick's with Brady, or Mike Shanahan's with Elway. Dungy's record *WITHOUT* his HoF QB is better than Belichick's without Brady or Shanahan's without Elway, too.
The fact that people feel it's necessary to add this "perspective" (hey, perhaps his record would have been worse if he hadn't played with one of the top 5 QBs of all time) to qualify Dungy's place in history and not, say, Belichick's or Walsh's is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about how people hate on Tony Dungy.
I wouldn't call what Indy was a dynasty; one title over a decade, despite all of those 12+ win seasons, is not a dynasty. But I have been consistent in this regard, and that is another coach coming in and winning with a team that had already won (like Switzer did with Dallas) is more of an indication of the great talent said team had than it was of the previous coach's greatness. In the case of Dungy, how much control did he have over player personnel in Indy? Caldwell being able to step in and win 14 games in his first season said a lot about a) Peyton Manning's greatness, and b) Bill Polian.

I agree that Fox was better than his record was in Carolina, and that is my point: you can't always look at a record and say, "That is the story." Often times, other factors play a huge part in a good coach's record not being as good, or vice versa. Hell, most think Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach, but not that great of a head coach, yet he still went 34-22 in Dallas, which was considered disappointing despite being, record wise, their best coach in the last 15 years. That is what I meant when I said I was giving perspective on Dungy (as I think he was a very good coach, but not great).
I place far less emphasis on titles than others. As Billy Beane was so fond of pointing out, you can have the best plan ever, but the playoffs are such a tiny sample size that chance still rules the day. Dungy got one title, but most importantly, the team won 12+ games for 7 straight years, which is unbelievable. You win 115 games in a decade, with a title to boot, and in my book you're a dynasty. For whatever that's worth.

 
Just curious as to what coaches do or don't get credit for. The Colts already had Peyton, Edge, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne before Dungy ever got to town. The offense was already the second highest scoring team in the league. The defense improved over time, but the offense was already top shelve.

Jimmy Johnson reaped the benefit of trading Herschel Walker. The Cowboys got back 5 players, 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks, a 3rd rounder, and a 6th rounder. That netted the Boys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland (among others). Does that make Johnson a great coach?
When I evaluate coaches, I try to avoid giving and taking away credit based on factors outside of their control. I think it's too much of a slippery slope to try to parse who gets what percentage of credit for what moves. When I evaluate coaches, I look strictly at total record, with a slight (but not dominating) weighting towards playoff performance (being sure to reward 1-and-done appearances more than missing the playoffs entirely- because going 0-4 in the playoffs is a lot more impressive than missing the playoffs for 4 straight years). I'll also grade on a little bit of a curve early on in their career based on the shape of the franchise they inherited (i.e. I won't penalize coaches for going 5-11 while trying to turn around a woeful franchise, or reward them for going 14-2 when inheriting a superpower). Which obviously explains why I tend to be a lot more forgiving of guys like Schottenheimer or Dungy.

Beyond that, as I said, I think it becomes too much of a slippery slope.

 
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Not sure if already posted, but Belichick ranked #7.

Updated listing:

* No. 20 Tony Dungy

* No. 19 Mike Shanahan

* No. 18 Sid Gillman

* No. 17 Marv Levy

* No. 16 Hank Stram

* No. 15 Bud Grant

* No. 14 Tom Coughlin

* No. 13 Jimmy Johnson

* No. 12 John Madden

*No. 11 Bill Parcells

* No. 10 Curly Lambeau

* No. 9 Joe Gibbs

* No. 8 Tom Landry

* No. 7 Bill Belichick

 
I think it is fair to say that both Brown and Walsh each created something. I'm sure Walsh didn't just completely copy what Brown did nor did his creation evolve with absolutely no influence from Brown.

The greats learn from others and then add their own improvements.

 
I think it is fair to say that both Brown and Walsh each created something. I'm sure Walsh didn't just completely copy what Brown did nor did his creation evolve with absolutely no influence from Brown.The greats learn from others and then add their own improvements.
I'm not really sure what parts of the West Coast Offense people are attributing to Walsh when they say he created it.

 
Greg Russell already pointed out the double standard. Jimmy Johnson builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Barry Switzer manages to succeed and it proves Jimmy Johnson is a genius. Tony Dungy builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Jim Caldwell manages to succeed and it proves that Tony Dungy was easily replaceable.

As for John Fox... no way was he essentially a .500 career coach. He took over a 1-15 team and went 71-57 with them (55.5%), including 5-3 in the playoffs with two NFCCG appearances and one SB appearance, before ownership pulled the rug out from under him, gutted the team, and let him take the fall for a lame-duck franchise. He then took over a Denver Broncos squad drafting #2 overall and got them to 8-8 and the divisional round of the playoffs. All without Peyton Manning. Yes, Manning makes a difference, but again... Manning is not the only Hall of Fame QB in history. Tony Dungy's record with his HoF QB is better than Bill Belichick's with Brady, or Mike Shanahan's with Elway. Dungy's record *WITHOUT* his HoF QB is better than Belichick's without Brady or Shanahan's without Elway, too.
The fact that people feel it's necessary to add this "perspective" (hey, perhaps his record would have been worse if he hadn't played with one of the top 5 QBs of all time) to qualify Dungy's place in history and not, say, Belichick's or Walsh's is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about how people hate on Tony Dungy.
I wouldn't call what Indy was a dynasty; one title over a decade, despite all of those 12+ win seasons, is not a dynasty. But I have been consistent in this regard, and that is another coach coming in and winning with a team that had already won (like Switzer did with Dallas) is more of an indication of the great talent said team had than it was of the previous coach's greatness. In the case of Dungy, how much control did he have over player personnel in Indy? Caldwell being able to step in and win 14 games in his first season said a lot about a) Peyton Manning's greatness, and b) Bill Polian.

I agree that Fox was better than his record was in Carolina, and that is my point: you can't always look at a record and say, "That is the story." Often times, other factors play a huge part in a good coach's record not being as good, or vice versa. Hell, most think Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach, but not that great of a head coach, yet he still went 34-22 in Dallas, which was considered disappointing despite being, record wise, their best coach in the last 15 years. That is what I meant when I said I was giving perspective on Dungy (as I think he was a very good coach, but not great).
I place far less emphasis on titles than others. As Billy Beane was so fond of pointing out, you can have the best plan ever, but the playoffs are such a tiny sample size that chance still rules the day. Dungy got one title, but most importantly, the team won 12+ games for 7 straight years, which is unbelievable. You win 115 games in a decade, with a title to boot, and in my book you're a dynasty. For whatever that's worth.
That's a fair point, but many would argue that being that great every year and only managing one title is major underachieving when it comes to postseason play. Kind of the NFL version of that Atlanta Braves team that won like 449 divisions in a row and only managed one World Series championship.

We have had this discussion before about certain coaches, like Schottenheimer (what would his playoff legacy be if several kickers hadn't gagged up field goals in the postseason?), but I think with Dungy, his overly conservative nature rubbed me the wrong way at times, and I do wonder if more of his teams might have gone further had he been more aggressive. Remember that Indy/Pittsburgh playoff game in '05 where he was gonna punt early in the 4th quarter down 21-3 and Peyton waved the punting unit off the field and basically said, "No, we are going for this," and he got the first down and the Colts then scored a TD shortly thereafter. Granted, the Colts still lost the game, but they were only in it till the end cause Peyton had to usurp his authority and show some aggression. I guess that is why I tend to give Peyton so much credit for those 12+ win seasons, as the Colts defense was rarely dominant throughout all of those seasons, while Peyton has pretty much shown that his offense will dominate no matter who his head coach is.

 
Just curious as to what coaches do or don't get credit for. The Colts already had Peyton, Edge, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne before Dungy ever got to town. The offense was already the second highest scoring team in the league. The defense improved over time, but the offense was already top shelve.

Jimmy Johnson reaped the benefit of trading Herschel Walker. The Cowboys got back 5 players, 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks, a 3rd rounder, and a 6th rounder. That netted the Boys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland (among others). Does that make Johnson a great coach?
Ask Phil Jackson.

Also, Does Dungy deserve some credit for helping to built the Bucs team that won the SB under Gruden?

 
And they announced that Lombardi will be #1, last night during the 'Lombardi Legacy' special.

So now it's down to Shula, Halas and Walsh for 2-3-4. I would personally put it as:

2. Halas

3. Shula

4. Walsh

My guess is that ESPN will put it like this:

2. Walsh

3. Shula

4. Halas

We'll see, I guess.

 
Just curious as to what coaches do or don't get credit for. The Colts already had Peyton, Edge, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne before Dungy ever got to town. The offense was already the second highest scoring team in the league. The defense improved over time, but the offense was already top shelve.

Jimmy Johnson reaped the benefit of trading Herschel Walker. The Cowboys got back 5 players, 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks, a 3rd rounder, and a 6th rounder. That netted the Boys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland (among others). Does that make Johnson a great coach?
True, Jim Mora created that team, he was a great coach for three teams in 2 leagues but had some bad luck along the way.

 
They did all of the top 5 last night:

5. Noll

4. Halas

3. Shula

2. Walsh

1. Lombardi
I agree with e comments further up the thread - Paul Brown has got to be top 3, either No. 1 or 2 with Lombardi.

No. 3 has to be Halas.

After that let the debate begin.

To me Shula has to be No. 4. The Dolphins of course had their unbeaten season but the truth is they were nearly unbeatable for two years running 1972-1973, winning two Super Bowls. Not only that but he had a similar streak almost a decade before with the 1967 Colts, a team that was undefeated (but twice tied) until the final game of the year, when they lost to the Rams, a team with just one loss and they did not make the playoffs. That's how it was then. The next year the 1968 Colts went 15-1, shut out the Browns in the NFL Championship game and then ran into the Namath led Colts, where frankly he just got outcoached by the man he replaced in Baltimore, Weeb Ewbank, no shame there.

Just two years later he takes an awful expansion franchise in the Dolphins, turns them around the very first year from 3-10-1 to 10-4 and in the playoffs. For 20 out of 22 seasons he had two different teams that won at least 10 games. He won by creating an offense around Johnny Unitas, then by having the only offense in history with two 1,000 yard runners, both of whom could and would be in the backfield at the same time; then he changes with the times and creates the most prolific passing attack in history with Dan Marino, all while producing some of the most consistently excellent defenses around 3-4 decades. In 1982 he took a team QB'd by David Woodly (5TD/8INT) all the way tio the Super Bowl, a game his team was winning in the 4th despite arguably the worst QB performance in a SB ever (4/17/97/1/1).

After that I'd say Landry, then Walsh, then Noll, then Grant, then Knox, then Lambeau.

And Schottenheimer absolutely belongs in the top 20.

 
Greg Russell already pointed out the double standard. Jimmy Johnson builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Barry Switzer manages to succeed and it proves Jimmy Johnson is a genius. Tony Dungy builds up such an amazing dynasty that even Jim Caldwell manages to succeed and it proves that Tony Dungy was easily replaceable.

As for John Fox... no way was he essentially a .500 career coach. He took over a 1-15 team and went 71-57 with them (55.5%), including 5-3 in the playoffs with two NFCCG appearances and one SB appearance, before ownership pulled the rug out from under him, gutted the team, and let him take the fall for a lame-duck franchise. He then took over a Denver Broncos squad drafting #2 overall and got them to 8-8 and the divisional round of the playoffs. All without Peyton Manning. Yes, Manning makes a difference, but again... Manning is not the only Hall of Fame QB in history. Tony Dungy's record with his HoF QB is better than Bill Belichick's with Brady, or Mike Shanahan's with Elway. Dungy's record *WITHOUT* his HoF QB is better than Belichick's without Brady or Shanahan's without Elway, too.
The fact that people feel it's necessary to add this "perspective" (hey, perhaps his record would have been worse if he hadn't played with one of the top 5 QBs of all time) to qualify Dungy's place in history and not, say, Belichick's or Walsh's is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about how people hate on Tony Dungy.
I wouldn't call what Indy was a dynasty; one title over a decade, despite all of those 12+ win seasons, is not a dynasty. But I have been consistent in this regard, and that is another coach coming in and winning with a team that had already won (like Switzer did with Dallas) is more of an indication of the great talent said team had than it was of the previous coach's greatness. In the case of Dungy, how much control did he have over player personnel in Indy? Caldwell being able to step in and win 14 games in his first season said a lot about a) Peyton Manning's greatness, and b) Bill Polian.

I agree that Fox was better than his record was in Carolina, and that is my point: you can't always look at a record and say, "That is the story." Often times, other factors play a huge part in a good coach's record not being as good, or vice versa. Hell, most think Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach, but not that great of a head coach, yet he still went 34-22 in Dallas, which was considered disappointing despite being, record wise, their best coach in the last 15 years. That is what I meant when I said I was giving perspective on Dungy (as I think he was a very good coach, but not great).
I place far less emphasis on titles than others. As Billy Beane was so fond of pointing out, you can have the best plan ever, but the playoffs are such a tiny sample size that chance still rules the day. Dungy got one title, but most importantly, the team won 12+ games for 7 straight years, which is unbelievable. You win 115 games in a decade, with a title to boot, and in my book you're a dynasty. For whatever that's worth.
That's a fair point, but many would argue that being that great every year and only managing one title is major underachieving when it comes to postseason play. Kind of the NFL version of that Atlanta Braves team that won like 449 divisions in a row and only managed one World Series championship.

We have had this discussion before about certain coaches, like Schottenheimer (what would his playoff legacy be if several kickers hadn't gagged up field goals in the postseason?), but I think with Dungy, his overly conservative nature rubbed me the wrong way at times, and I do wonder if more of his teams might have gone further had he been more aggressive. Remember that Indy/Pittsburgh playoff game in '05 where he was gonna punt early in the 4th quarter down 21-3 and Peyton waved the punting unit off the field and basically said, "No, we are going for this," and he got the first down and the Colts then scored a TD shortly thereafter. Granted, the Colts still lost the game, but they were only in it till the end cause Peyton had to usurp his authority and show some aggression. I guess that is why I tend to give Peyton so much credit for those 12+ win seasons, as the Colts defense was rarely dominant throughout all of those seasons, while Peyton has pretty much shown that his offense will dominate no matter who his head coach is.
Small bit of trivia, I don't think many people realize Tony Dungy played QB in college and even threw a handful of passes while a player in the NFL. He is the only NFL player since the merger to intercept a pass and throw an interception in the same game. Who knows how long it was before that happened otherwise but it was probably quite a few years. He must have had had a serious injury because he had two really good seasons with the Steelers, then he got traded and was out of football after just 1 more season.

As a coach, really what he did in Tampa with almost no legitimate quarterbacking and the defenses he built there was maybe as impressive as what he did in Indy. For whatever reason the 2006 championship does not seem like one of the more impressive SB runs but it was just that, a championship. I think more people credit it to the Colts improved defense at the end rather than Manning.

 

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