1. Who was the only coach and owner who was present at the beginning of the NFL and helped bring it into the modern TV age? The only man who could rightfully be called: Father of the NFL.
2. Who brought football coaching into the modern age. Didn’t care about skin color, but cared about most every detail of running a football team. Ran his organization like a business. Successful at every level of football coaching from high school to college to professional. Learned about timeliness and discipline from his father who was a railroad man.
3. Very tough man for a very tough city. Never thought the press needed to know everything about a man’s personal life. Thought players and coaches needed a life outside of football–he had many interests himself. Grew up in Cleveland. Who was this coach who led many Hall of Famers to a dynasty in the 1970s.
4. Little man who managed two superstar quarterbacks in two different cities to NFL championships. His people were Quakers. He worked towards results, not notoriety. Who was this cradle of coaches favorite who lived until age 91?
5. Very tough coach who was influenced by his tight knit family and the Jesuits at Fordham. Another coach who embraced diversity and mandated respect for everyone in the locker room. In fact, he mandated a lot of things. His team practiced fundamentals until they knew them in their sleep. He was so tough some players said they hated him while playing for him, but all seemed to love him for what he helped them become. Who was this coach who created a small city dynasty in the 1960s?
6. A master at coaching quarterbacks. This man was very good with his fists as a young man, but he looked like he walked off the country club on the sideline of a football game. Who was this man who many came to call the Genius?
7. Nebraska farm boy who was himself one of the top professional players when he coached and played to four championships in the 1920s for three different teams. He did not see a long term future in professional football so he went back to his family farm outside of Lincoln.
8. His daddy was in law enforcement in North Carolina. The family moved out west to California where he went to school and began his coaching career. He was a master at adaptation and although he had learned Don Coryell’s wide open offensive schemes, he based his game plan on the talent at hand. When he and his coaches prepared for games, they worked incredibly long hours developing master plans for victories. He was also a master at making adjustments during a game and was always willing to toss out things that weren’t working and incorporate the new. This coach was super competitive in everything he did. Who was this man who is also a member of the professional auto racing community?
9. His father was an exceptional football thinker who settled into a life time of scouting at the Naval Academy. This coach has always displayed a military mindset that mandates that each player focuses on doing his job and the team is always more important than any player. Although his coaching approach is somewhat old fashioned in our Super Star age, he is the most successful NFL coach of the 21st Century. Who is he?
10. A superb athlete and demanding coach, he competed against George Halas in the early days of professional football through World War II. He had a great eye for talent and brought some of the greatest football players of the era to his small city club. Newspapers from all over the world covered his David and Goliath sports story that featured a small city team winning championships against the big city teams. Who was this man?
2. Paul Brown
saw the importance of discipline in most every aspect of running a football team. He could have run General Motors.
3. Chuck Noll
was the Pied Piper of Hall of Fame players at Pittsburgh and the perfect coach for the Steel City.
4. Weeb Ewbank
lived a joyful life and was always prepared to let his players take the top billing in the papers. But he was vastly underestimated as a tremendous coaching talent and manager of men who built teams from the ground up.
5. Vince Lombardi
wanted his men to become the best they could be and he drove them to it. Like the Jesuits, he believed each person’s talent should be developed for maximum use.
6. Bill Walsh
was a dashing figure on the side lines and he knew how to develop quarterbacks. He focused on what his players could do and coached them to become consistent. Despite his outward appearance, Walsh was boxer all his life and he took every loss personally.
7. Guy Chamberlin
stepped off a Nebraska farm to become one of the best athletes and coaches in professional football. He played end on offense and defense. He was extremely fast and although the early football’s bloated rugby ball shape made it difficult to develop a passing game, the end around was used liberally–he excelled at it. On defense he was known as a disruptor of the first order. He was tall, lean, and mean on the field.
8. Joe Gibbs
just seemed to be smarter, more hardworking, and more adaptable than most other coaches. If there was a plan that could spring victory from defeat, Gibbs was generally the man who could come up with it.
9. Bill Belichick
has a military no-nonsense coaching persona that has made old fashion management schemes seem new again. Everyone in Belichick’s Patriot’s organization is responsible for their piece of the pie–no excuses.
10. Curly Lambeau
‘s name is well known because the Packers named their stadium after him, but not much is understood about him now. He learned coaching on the job and he managed and willed his team to greatness. He was a scrapper and his fight was needed to keep the Green Bay franchise alive. He is credited with managing the only surviving small city professional football team in the game. Few men were his coaching equal.
Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press
Images by Bill Potter, Copyright Sporting Chance Press, Inc.
This is our classic book on NFL Coaches that we published in 2014. Sporting Chance Press’s Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey now available–published March 2014! Pillars examines the football lives of the top ten coaches in NFL history. Available from select bookstores, Amazon or here for immediate shipment. Ask your local bookstore and library to carry this great book!