Chuck Noll: The greatest coach of all time.

Granted, he didn’t create an offense that revolutionized the game, neither did he go undefeated for a season.  He didn’t have a signature outfit nor a hoo-rah speech that Companies around the globe now use.  He was a very humble, detailed oriented, passionate leader that didn’t feel the need to say much but when he did… he did so with authority.

Debating who the greatest coach of all time is can be opinionated and full of emotion.  As a fan, we tend to be biased, we want our team/coach to win… so for the sake of argument, we will use numbers (here’s that whole sales thing again).  To narrow the list down to six, I am only going to use coaches who have won multiple championships, have appeared in multiple Super Bowls and have a .500, or better, coaching record.

Having said this, let the argument be made for Don Shula….. the Undefeated Season.  I was actually quite surprised to find out that Shula had made it to 6 Super Bowls but won only two.  Now granted, he won them back to back and has an undefeated season under his belt.  Nonetheless, he coached for 33 years, yet two rings?  Sorry Shula, you are last on this list.  His coaching record is impressive, .678, but he came out short on the big stage…

Moving on up, Tom Landry… notorious for his hats and suits on game day.  He was a dominant figure on the sidelines, always ready to play.  His career record is .607 and went to 5 Super Bowls.  However, just as Shula, he had an under .500 record in the Super Bowl, losing three out of the five.  His 70’s Cowboys would’ve been a Dynasty…  but Chuck Noll was creating one of his own during the same decade.

Next on the list, Bill “Hoody” Belichick.  Bill and his Patriots, shocked the world when they beat the  heavily favored Rams in 2001, on their way to their first super bowl win.  That marked the beginning of his legacy as one of the best in the game.  His Patriots are the last team to win back-to-back championships, 2003 & 2004 .  Under his leadership, the Patriots have become  perennial contenders in the AFC and are always considered a threat in the playoffs, finishing second in most wins in a decade.  He also has an undefeated season under his belt… Regular season that is.  His 2007 Patriots finished the season 18-0 only to lose to the NY Giants in Super Bowl XLII.  That’s the reason he’s not higher on this list, he’s 3-1 in the big game.

Going up the ladder of greatness…. Bill Walsh, the innovator.  He revolutionized the game of Football as we know it today thanks to his short and medium ranged passing philosophy, also known as the West Coast Offense.  His 49ers dominated the 80’s, winning three Super Bowls rings in a ten-year span; he’s 3-0 in Super Bowl games and finished his career with a .609 winning record.  He’s also regarded as a great mentor, having influenced many other coaches throughout the NFL with his philosophies and study of the game.   Bill Walsh is arguably the most influential coach the NFL has ever seen, which made his ranking 3rd, all that much difficult.

Now, this is very, very tough.  The Great Motivator… Vince Lombardi, takes the number two spot.  If you don’t know anything about football, know this…. once a upon time, there was a man who believed that the greatest moment in a man’s life is when he lay exhausted in the field of battle… Victorious.  Know that this man’s teachings, processes and work ethic transcended the game of Football.  His philosophies are taught around the world in Corporate America just as much as in Pewee Football.  Know that this man was greater than life and got the very best out of every man he tutored.  He was the Great Motivator, the Great Vince Lombardi ( The championship Trophy is named after him).  He only coached for 10 years and won two Super Bowls.  His coaching record is an astonishing .738 and won  back-to-back championships in 1966 and 1967.  In many ways, he’s the greatest of all time but we decided to use numbers as our measuring stick… so here’s to number one.

Chuck Noll.  And I am not picking him just because he coached for the Steelers, his numbers speak for themselves.  Art Rooney in his book “My 75 years in the NFL” refers to Noll as a “Renaissance Man”.  He was a man of conviction, a man of values.  Religion, Family and Football, in that order, is how he lived his life.  He’s mostly ignored in most “best coach ever” discussions because he was a very reserved man.  He respected the media and knew they had a job to do, but he never played to them.  Therefore, It’s easy to ignore the fact that he took over a franchise that had only a handful of winning seasons in its 30 plus years of existence (he became the Steelers Head Coach in 1969)  It’s also easy to over look how he was able to build the dynasty teams of the 70’s, through the draft.  Chuck Noll is the only coach in NFL history to win four Championships.  He’s 4-0 in Super Bowls and his Steelers of the 70’s have the most players in the Hall of Fame than any other team on any decade.  He’s the only coach in the history of the NFL to win back-to-back championships twice in a ten year window.  He coached for 23 years and finished his career with a .566 record.

In closing, Chuck Noll is the greatest of all time.  Not only is his record impressive, his championships, but the manner of how he achieved success.  He never deviate from his priorities, he didn’t allow football to consume him.  It drove him, it pushed him, but it never defined him….God, Family and Football.  HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!

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4 Responses to “Chuck Noll: The greatest coach of all time.”

  1. Gave me goosebumps! Nice blog. Go Steelers!!!

  2. Bill Young Says:

    Lombardi won championships in 61, 62, 65, and the first Super Bowls in 66, 67. The only coach with 5 championships (including 3 in a row), and they were all in one decade, and the highest winning percentage all time. You want numbers? There’s numbers, brother.

    • It wouldn’t be fair to count Lombardi’s first three championships since they were not attained during the Super Bowl Era. I will agree his coaching winning percentage is impressive; however, in football terms, he didn’t do it long enough. His coaching style transcended the game of football and his era, but he didn’t coach long enough to make the percentage weigh in that much in this ranking. He didn’t even break one hundred wins…. sorry man, i still think Chuck Noll is deserving. 23 years coaching, almost 200 wins and 4 Super Bowl rings… back-to-back twice in an era where competition was better. The Cowboys had a dynasty worthy team, they were always in the hunt. Raiders were a great team also… who did Vince Lombardi’s Packers played against?

  3. Very impressive… wasn’t sure what to think about when you said you were blogging but I must say I am impressed my friend. Nicely done. Everyone will always be biased towards their team and what they’ve done in past NFL seasons, thats just natural. I will continue to follow along.

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