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After watching last night’s game against the Houston Texans there should be no objections to this. Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach of all time and possibly the greatest in any sport. If someone makes a list of everything that a coach could do during his career, Belichick has checked it off and probably done it more than once. The first and probably the most important aspect of Belichick’s career is winning four NFL championships. A normal Hall of Fame career has a coach or player winning one, maybe two. In Belichick’s case, he has won four and been to an amazing six super bowls. That stat right there should be enough to put him as the greatest coach of all time, but Lombardi has five championships including two Super Bowls. There is a compelling argument to be made about Lombardi, but he only coached for a decade. While his coaching career was dominant, I believe a key aspect of great coaches is longevity and Lombardi falls short. In addition, half of his career came before the Super Bowl era when the NFL was nowhere near as competitive as it is today. Therefore, winning seasons are that much more difficult now than they were in the 1960’s.
Furthermore, Belichick has only had 1 losing season since his time in New England but did have four in his five seasons in Cleveland. Cleveland has been shown to be an impossible place to win, no matter who they bring in, so it is possible to give Belichick some slack for that, but honestly that is his only blemish on his resume. Whatever he learned in Cleveland obviously worked and has made him into the coach he is today. Since his time in New England, he has had only 1 losing season in New England and that was his first. From 2001-2015 he won at least 9 games every year and missed the playoffs only twice (one of them being when he went 11-5). In addition, with his tendencies to cut his very talented players who are asking for a lot of money makes this even more impressive. No matter who he brings in and what talent he has on the team he is able to have a winning product on the field and compete for a title. Even when his star quarterback, Tom Brady, isn’t able to play he finished an entire season at 11-5 and is currently 3-0 without Brady during his suspension this year. Not to mention, when his backup, Garoppolo, gets hurt they end up blowing out the Texans at home. That record without Brady is the main reason that he should be considered a great coach of not only in football but all sports.
What would Phil Jackson’s records be without Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan? Would Popovich be able to be this good without Duncan? Yes, Phil made the playoffs ever year, but over half of the teams make the playoffs. Popovich may be the closest example to Belichick, but winning 4 NFL titles is much more impressive for me than seeing 5 NBA titles. Many players and coaches have that many rings in the NBA, but who in the NFL does besides Brady and Belichick. Ultimately, Belichick must be looked at as the greatest coach of all time in the NFL and has an argument to be regarded as the best American sports coach of all time.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.