If you haven’t seen ESPNs newest list in this offseason of lists, you should take a look at what they’re up to – in honor of the anniversary of what would have been Vince Lombardi’s 100th birthday, the sports network is counting down the top 20 coaches of all time.
With six of the 20 already named, the debates have already begun. So far, here is how the network has it:
- No. 20 — Tony Dungy: Quiet inspiration
- No. 19 — Mike Shanahan: Make it a double
- No. 18 — Sid Gillman: Airing it out
- No. 17 — Marv Levy: Manager of egos
- No. 16 — Hank Stram: Winner, innovator
- No. 15 — Bud Grant: Model of consistency
- No. 14 — Tom Coughlin: Two Super rallies
So far, that’s a pretty good list, but in my opinion, the notion that Tom Couglin should be listed above Bud Grant, the longtime Minnesota Vikings coach is questionable at best.
Here is what Bud Grant accomplished in 18 seasons:
Between 1967 and 1985, Grant was the head coach of the Vikings for a total of 259 games, earning a 158-96-5 – a win percentage of 62 percent.
Grant’s teams reached the playoffs 20 times, played in 10 championship games and won four championships.
Coughlin, who has coached 17 seasons, has these numbers to show for his career:
Between 1995 and 2012, Coughlin has coached 272 games, with a record of 151-121-0 for a 55 percent clip.
Coughlin led the wild-card Giants on an improbable 2007 postseason run that culminated with a stunning victory over the previously unbeaten and heavily favored New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
History repeated four seasons later. With Coughlin again on the hot seat, the Giants eked out the NFC East title with a 9-7 record, then went on an out-of-the-blue run to a Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Patriots.
The only major difference between these two coaches – other than the eras in which they have done their work – is the fact that Coughlin has won two Super Bowls, while Grant could never win the big one – losing four in total.
So, is it fair to rate Coughlin a tick ahead of Grant? Probably. Winning the big games will make a difference.
However, what interests me even more is where Vince Lombardi will stack up and whether any other Packers coaches make the cut.
Curley Lambeau? Mike Holmgren? What about Mike McCarthy (is it too soon to consider him?
You can jump over to ESPN to check out the list. As the list develops, the usual debates will continue … we’re sure about that.