The 5 best head coaches in the history of the Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur with Mike McCarthy
Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur with Mike McCarthy / Michael Owens/GettyImages

When discussing the Green Bay Packers, you think about stability, consistent success, and championships. There are several factors that make the Packers a legendary franchise, from Hall of Fame quarterback play to historic moments to the passionate fanbase.

We also have to talk about the head coaches.

You only have to take a trip down Lombardi Avenue, Mike McCarthy Way, or Holmgren Way to get an idea of the rich history of the Packers' franchise and the importance of their greatest coaches.

Hiring the right coach can change the direction of the entire franchise. They shape the culture, identity, and philosophy of the team while making the most challenging decisions on gameday. Maintaining the same coach for several years brings stability and continuity. The Packers, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers, have a long history of giving their coaches time rather than firing them after a tough season.

Criteria for selection

The great Vince Lombardi once said: "Winning is not a sometime thing. It's an all-time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Wins are the most important currency for an NFL head coach. It doesn't matter how much effort your team gives, how well they played, or how unlucky they may have been—all that matters is finding a way to win. Wins and losses play a key role in our rankings.

However, it's important to go even deeper. Some victories count for more than others. Wins in the regular season mean nothing if you can't replicate it in the playoffs. The best coaches know how to win championships.

Winning is a theme of our rankings, but other factors also play a role, including leadership, longevity, and memorable moments.

The top 5 head coaches in Packers history

5. Matt LaFleur (2019-present)

Matt LaFleur has made a dream start to his NFL head coaching career. Under his watch, the Packers have reached the playoffs four times in five seasons. He has just one losing record to his name and Green Bay has played in two NFC Championship Games.

LaFleur became the first coach in NFL history to win 13 games for three straight years, and he broke a league record for most victories in his first three seasons as a head coach (39).

Many pointed to Aaron Rodgers as the reason for LaFleur's success, but Rodgers won two league MVP awards in LaFleur's offense. In the Packers' first season without their Hall of Fame quarterback, LaFleur and first-year starter Jordan Love navigated several challenges to lead the league's youngest roster to the NFC Divisional Round, with Love reaching an MVP level late in the season.

LaFleur's resume speaks for itself. He is an outstanding play-caller, and with his scheme and leadership, he has gotten the best out of his quarterbacks.

However, the next step is to win a championship. The Packers have come up short in the biggest games. LaFleur has enjoyed tremendous regular-season success, but he must now show he can take this team back to the Super Bowl.

4. Mike McCarthy (2006-2018)

Mike McCarthy arrived in Green Bay at an interesting time. Even with Hall of Famer Brett Favre leading the offense, the Packers had just gone 4-12. Further complicating things was that first-round Aaron Rodgers was entering his second season on the bench, and it was only a matter of time before he replaced Favre as the starter.

Under McCarthy, it didn't take long for the Packers to return to the top of the NFC North. In only his second season with the team, McCarthy helped the Favre-led Packers reach the NFC Championship Game.

The McCarthy-Rodgers combination became a highly successful one. Between 2009 and 2016, they made the playoffs in eight straight seasons, a franchise record, and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. McCarthy's offense was consistently among the league's best, with Rodgers winning two MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP during their time together.

McCarthy helped develop Rodgers during the three seasons he sat behind Favre, rebuilding his mechanics. Perhaps McCarthy's greatest strength was his leadership. His teams often overcame adversity and challenging situations, which included winning three straight road playoff games en route to a championship.

In 13 seasons with the Packers, McCarthy won 125 games, the second-most in franchise history. His .618 win percentage ranks fifth. With nine playoff appearances, six NFC North titles, a Super Bowl win, and a street named after him in Green Bay, McCarthy is one of the team's greatest coaches of all time.

3. Mike Holmgren (1992-1998)

The Packers have enjoyed three decades of winning football, and it all started under Mike Holmgren. Prior to his arrival, Green Bay had made the postseason only once in 19 years and had endured a nine-year drought. Alongside general manager Ron Wolf and quarterback Brett Favre, Holmgren led the Packers to years of dominance in the NFC.

Holmgren's Packers made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons between 1993 and 1998 and played in two Super Bowls, winning one. He won three NFC Central titles, while Favre took home three MVP awards in Holmgren's offense.

He only stayed in Green Bay for seven seasons but left the team in a far better position than when he arrived, success that has continued ever since. Holmgren finished with a 75-37 record. He ranks fourth in franchise history for head coach wins and third in winning percentage.

Like McCarthy, Holmgren is now a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and has a street named after him.

2. Curly Lambeau (1921-1949)

Curly Lambeau is one of the most important people in not only the history of the Packers, but the entire sport. His use of the forward pass in his Packers offense helped the game become what it is today.

Lambeau was a co-founder of the team, a star player, and then a head coach for 29 seasons. No Packers coach has more wins than Lambeau's 226, and his record also ranks sixth all-time in the entire NFL.

During his incredible three-decade run as head coach, the Packers went 209-104-21 with a .631 win percentage and won six NFL championships. He checks every box of a legendary coach. Lambeau enjoyed sustained success over almost 30 years, a run that will never be beaten.

Lambeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1970, and the stadium was renamed from City Stadium to Lambeau Field.

There isn't much more Lambeau could've achieved during his time in Green Bay, and he would be top of our rankings if not for another legendary Packers head coach.

1. Vince Lombardi (1959-1967)

Vince Lombardi isn't just the greatest Green Bay Packers head coach, he is the greatest head coach in NFL history. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him. Lombardi was an inspirational leader, but his legacy goes beyond the NFL. He is one of the most famous names in all of sports.

"The object is to win fairly, by the rules, but to win," said Lombardi.

Lombardi's Packers didn't just win. They dominated.

Lombardi's team won five championships in just nine seasons, including the first two Super Bowls. He finished with an outstanding 89-29-4 record in the regular season, and his 9-1 playoff record is hard to believe. The only postseason game Lombardi lost was in his first NFL Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.

The famous power sweep was an unstoppable play. It was all about executing blocks perfectly, and when teams game-planned to stop it, Lombardi would make necessary adjustments.

The season before Lombardi arrived, the Packers had only won a single game, extending their playoff drought to 14 years. During that run, Green Bay failed to win more than six games in a single season. Lombardi changed everything, with his team becoming one of the greatest in NFL history.

He is a Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and every year, each NFL team competes for the Lombardi Trophy. He is the greatest NFL coach of all time.

The 5 best head coaches in Packers history by total wins



Years with Packers



Curly Lambeau




Mike McCarthy




Vince Lombardi




Mike Holmgren




Mike Sherman