Coaching is perhaps the most important part of a football game and that's why it's also one of the most difficult to master. It's not unusual to see teams bounce from one coach to the other in hopes of finding the guy who can finally make the most of the talent they have.
There have been countless dynasties throughout the history of football. And even if the players rightfully get plenty of the credit, none of that would have been possible without some of the smartest NFL coaches by their sides. Those are the guys who get the blame when things don't go right, so they might as well get their flowers when they lead them to the top.
I mean, obviously, a playmaker can turn a broken play into a winning drive and talented players will always find the way of making an impact but the coaches are the ones making the calls, picking the personnel, and putting them in the position to be great.
Until this day, many football masterminds have fought their way to a head coaching jobs in the league. However, just a handful of them can brag about their long, sustained success. Today, we're going to mention them as we walk you through the list of the top 15 NFL coaches with most wins.
15. Paul Brown - 166
Not many people remember but there was a time when the Cleveland Browns were the best team in football. That was thanks to two guys: Otto Graham and his coach Paul Brown, arguably the biggest revolutionary in football.
Brown was the first to use film to scout rivals and develop tactics and schemes that are still used today. He was also the first to have a staff of assistants and played a huge part in breaking the color barrier for African American players. He also coached the Bengals and won 4 AAFC titles and 3 NFL titles.
14. Mike Shanahan - 170
Even though his last stint as coach and Executive Vice President of the Washington Football Team (then known as Redskins) didn't go as well as he'd like, Mike Shanahan is still one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the NFL.
Shanahan served as the head coach of the terrifying Denver Broncos from 1995 to 2008, leading them to 3 Super Bowl titles. He had a 20-year career before his tenure in Washington ended in 2013.
13. Tom Coughlin - 170
Tom Coughlin has dedicated his entire life to football. He started off as a graduate assistant at Syracuse University in 1969 before becoming one of the best coaches in the NFL during his stint with the New York Giants.
Coughlin came off a solid 7-year tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars but his time in the Big Apple is what made them legendary. He led the Giants to 3 Super Bowl victories and is now a part of the team's Ring of Honor.
12. Bill Parcells - 172
Not many head coaches have been inducted to the Hall of Fame but Bill Parcels is one of them. He served as a coach for 19 years, thriving with the New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys.
He became a legend for turning struggling teams into perennial contenders. He led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins and was the NFL's Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1994. He's the only coach in NFL history to ever take 3 different franchises to the Conference Championship game.
11. Jeff Fisher - 173
Well, it's pretty safe to say that Jeff Fisher's coaching career was far more successful than his days with the pads on. His defensive expertise and well-documented experience as a defensive coordinator granted him a head coaching job with the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans).
Fisher's teams were known for their suffocating defense. Even so, they've also struggled to score and, regardless of his 173 career wins, he didn't find much success in the playoffs. He did lead the Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999 but they lost to the Rams. Ironically, he coached the Rams later and followed them in their transition from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
10. Chuck Knox - 186
Chuck Knox's coaching career started with multiple offensive-line coaching gigs. It surely reflected that on his head coaching style, as his teams were incredibly dominant on the ground. He was even called 'Ground Chuck' for the way his teams rushed the ball.
Knox had a career .559 winning percentage in the regular season, but it was significantly worst in the playoffs. He went 7-11 and never won a Super Bowl but he's still a part of the Seattle Seahawks' Ring of Honor.
9. Dan Reeves - 190
Dan Reeves is one of the few people that can brag about having a great career as a player and as a coach. He was tied to the NFL for almost four decades and is one of the most respected and beloved head coaches in the history of the game.
Reeves coached the Cowboys, Broncos, Giants, and Falcons. He was the youngest coach in NFL history after soaking in as much as he could from his mentor Tom Landry. He was a winner in both the regular season and playoffs but lost 4 Super Bowls as a coach, the only stain on his remarkable resume.
8. Chuck Noll - 193
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the best franchises in football history and they owe a lot of that to Chuck Noll. He turned them from a struggling team into a dynasty during his 23-year tenure as head coach.
Under Noll's command, the Steelers became the strongest dynasty on earth by racking up 4 Super Bowl wins in 6 years. He retired with a .667 winning percentage in the playoffs and orchestrated some of the most physical and terrifying defenses and rushing attacks the league has ever seen.
7. Marty Schottenheimer - 200
There are fewer coaches with a higher football IQ than Marty Schottenheimer. Even so, he may be one of the unluckiest head coaches ever. In fact, he's the only coach to reach the 200-win plateau whose team never won an NFL Championship or Super Bowl. He did win one in the United Football League, for what it's worth.
Schottenheimer's team constantly followed the same trend: they dominated throughout the regular season and then underperformed in the playoffs. In fact, he holds a 6-13 postseason record, which is unimpressive, to say the least.
6. Andy Reid - 219
For years, Andy Reid was mistreated and underrated as a head coach. His tenure as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers (where he won a Super Bowl) granted him a chance to be a head coach elsewhere but he didn't find the postseason success everybody expected.
Reid's teams have been known for their offensive explosiveness and domination throughout the regular season. He couldn't lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl win but eventually orchestrated the offensive juggernaut the Kansas City Chiefs are nowadays. Finally, he's getting the recognition he deserves after that Super Bowl LIV title.
5. Curly Lambeau - 226
Perhaps you've heard about Lambeau Field. Well, in case you were wondering where that name came from, it's because of Earl 'Curly' Lambeau, who served as the Green Bay Packers' head coach for 30 years.
Lambeau wasn't only the best coach in the league, he was also one of the best players in the NFL. He served as a player-coach and was in control of everything that happened on the team. He played quarterback and wide receiver but mostly halfback. As a coach, he led the Packers to six titles and retired with a .624 winning percentage.
4. Tom Landry - 250
Tom Landry was a football mastermind. He excelled at taking care of details and is the one we should thank for some of the defensive schemes that have dominated the league and are still used today, such as the Flex Defense.
Landry was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for 28 years, putting together 20 winning seasons in the meantime. He also led his 'Doomsday Defense' to a couple of Super Bowl wins and has the second-most playoffs wins in NFL history with 20. He's one of the best NFL coaches ever.
3. Bill Belichick - 279
The man, the legend, the one and only Bill Belichick. Once it's all said and done, he'll end up as the winningest coach in NFL history, as he only trails George Halas and Don Shula and has shown no signs of wanting to retire any time soon.
Belichick put together the legendary New England Patriots dynasty. Next to Tom Brady, his great defensive teams won 6 Super Bowls (and counting). He's been named Coach of the Year three times thus far. The Patriots are having a tough time without Brady under center, but it's only a matter of time before he turns them around again.
2. George Halas - 318
There was a time when the Chicago Bears were the team to beat in football. That was all thanks to George Halas, who was the founder, owner, and head coach of the team during four different stints.
Under his command, his teams won 6 NFL Championships. He was also a two-time Coach of the Year. Halas' impact on the sport can still be felt this day. He was a pioneer in breaking down film sessions, hold daily practices, and even share TV revenue with the players. The game wouldn't be what it is today without him.
1. Don Shula - 328
Don Shula is the winningest coach in NFL history. That shouldn't come as a surprise if you consider that he only had 2 losing seasons over his 33-year coaching career, all thanks to the physical, hard-nosed defenses he put together over the years.
Shula also holds the record for being the coach of the only team with a perfect season. His Miami Dolphins were tough as nails and won 2 Super Bowls under his watch after also winning 1 NFL Championship with the Baltimore Colts. He holds the record for most games coached (526), consecutive years as head coach (33), and was constantly trying to make the game fairer and more entertaining.