I’d like to see who ends up being ranked above him. ESPN is ranking the greatest head coaches of all time, and they ranked New England Patriots sleeveless-hoodie-wielding genius Bill Belichick has the seventh greatest head coach of all-time. I’m probably complaining too much and being too much of a homer here, but I think ESPN snubbed Belichick a little bit here. My opinion might change based on who they rank above BB, but I have a hard time trying to come up with six coaches better. Who do I have thus far? Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, and Don Shula. I’d put him in the top five depending on where you have Chuck Knoll and George Halas, but Belichick’s five career Super Bowl appearances are too good to pass up on.
Those SB appearances and three SB wins also need some context as far as history goes. It is much harder these days to keep a team together in the salary cap era, in the days of mass free agency, and when the level of competition has become so dense these days. The fact that the Patriots were able to win three Super Bowls in the span of four seasons is just remarkable in this era, and they came awfully close twice against the New York Giants.
In each year, Belichick’s teams have been winners, and he is only surpassed by Shula and Tom Landry as far as playoff games coaches in. While it is true that he benefited a ton from having Tom Brady, it takes more than even a legendary QB to win an SB (just ask Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphins teams, you need help). As the GM of the Patriots, Belichick did more than a good job at adding those pieces, and I think that deserves a bonus.
I don’t want to go on a long rant or anything here, because I don’t like to take lists too seriously. Seventh is certainly a great spot to be in, but Belichick should honestly be somewhere in the top five. I would rank him fourth behind Lombardi, Brown, and Shula, and I think those three spots are clearly defined. If you think Belichick is the best head coach of all time, then you probably need to take a look at the other guys who came before him. But if you think that Belichick isn’t a top five coach, then you need to realize that it is extremely difficult to win three Super Bowls in four years and to appear in five overall. Only Noll has won more SBs and only Shula has been in more.
Am I being too kind to Belichick? Is the so-called “asterisk” enough to bump Belichick outside of the top five? Have your say in the comments section, and I’d really love to hear from you guys on a subject like this.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.