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Instant Debate

Best coach in NFL history? Bill Belichick has some stiff competition

With the Patriots' 41-16 win over the Broncos on Sunday night, Bill Belichick reached 270 total NFL wins (regular season and postseason). That ties him with Tom Landry for third-most in league history, behind only Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). Not bad company, eh? Belichick also owns the most Super Bowl rings of any head coach with five -- and that's not counting the two he collected as Giants defensive coordinator. Clearly, New England's head man has reached rarified air over the last couple decades. And his immense success in the salary cap era brings one simple question to mind ...

Who is the best NFL coach of all time?

When sizing up coaches, it's all about winning. The numbers make this no comparison. Don Shula's win total is so much higher than any other coach, and he's had the only perfect season -- from Week 1 through winning Super Bowl VII -- in NFL history. Others have accomplished a lot, but it's hard to make an argument for another coach. Bill Belichick might have far fewer wins than Don Shula and George Halas, but winning championships is what this game is all about. Belichick has five and he's done it with constant rule changes, free agency, salary cap, etc. With everything the league has put in place to ensure parity, Belichick has figured out ways to keep winning consistently. There's a reason the title trophy is named after Vince Lombardi. The iconic leader spent just 10 years as a head coach in the league and accomplished many feats: 96-34-6 regular-season record, a 9-1 playoff record, five championships and the first two Super Bowl wins. There are many other head coaches -- including Bill Walsh, whom I'd consider runner-up in this debate -- who have done a lot in the NFL, but the amount Lombardi accomplished in a relatively short period of time is what is most impressive. To have 300-plus wins in the National Football League is remarkable. You think about those who have coached or are on the sidelines today, and you just don't see that type of consistency and longevity. If you think about the league in 2017, I don't think there's a coach who could withstand all the ups and downs of Shula's career, including what he was able to do with the Baltimore Colts and later the Miami Dolphins. Despite the success that others behind Shula have had, it's hard to rank someone in front of him based on production. This goes back to my Texas roots, but when I think of the greatest coach in history, I immediately settle on Tom Landry. He was the head coach of one team (the Dallas Cowboys) for 29 consecutive seasons, 20 of which were winning seasons, and led the Cowboys to five Super Bowls in the 1970s, winning two. There would be no "America's Team" mantra without Landry.

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