There have been many all-time greats that have played the game of football in college as well as the NFL.
As great as these players become, most of us forget sometimes about the men that shape them into the players they become, their coach.
There have been many great coaches in the history of football and while there are numerous whom are worthy of a top 10 ranking, I am going to do a countdown of the 10 best to ever walk the sidelines.
10. Joe Gibbs:
Joe Gibbs began his coaching career in the college ranks before becoming an NFL assistant in 1973. He was an integral part of the San Diego Chargers' high-powered "Air Coryell" offense led by quarterback Dan Fouts.
In 1981, he was named head coach of the Washington Redskins, which was his first head coaching opportunity. Gibbs spent two different stints with Washington, from 1981 to 1992 and again from 2004 to 2007. During his stay in our nation's capital, he compiled a career record of 171-101. He was a two-time AP Coach of the Year winner, three-time Sporting News Coach of the Year, two-time Pro Football Weekly Coach of the Year, and one time UPI Coach of the Year.
Gibbs also led the Redskins to four NFC Championships and three Super Bowl Championships. Joe Gibbs was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
9. Knute Rockne:
Knute Rockne is basically what Notre Dame football is all about. Nobody can talk about the Irish unless the name Rockne pops up in the conversation. Rockne coached the Irish from 1918 to 1930, his only coaching experience. A brilliant career that was cut short due to a plane crash in March, 1931, that claimed his life would have possibly been unmatched if not for his untimely death.
During his time in South Bend, he compiled a 105-12-5 record while winning three National Championships. He also had five undefeated seasons. Knute Rockne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
8. Bill Belichick:
Bill Belichick may just be the best coach in football today. He coached the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995, but since being named head coach of the New England Patriots in 2000, he has dominated the NFL. He was named to the 2000's NFL All-Decade Team as well as a three-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner.
He has coached the Patriots to five AFC Championships and three Super Bowl Championships. He also coached the Patriots to the first ever 16-0 regular season in 2007. Belichick has compiled a 175-97 regular season record as well as an impressive 17-7 playoff record during his career.
7. Don Shula:
Don Shula began his coaching career in 1960 as the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. In 1963 he became the head coach of the Baltimore Colts. He coached the Colts through the 1969 season, leading them to a Super Bowl before taking over the Miami Dolphins in 1970, where he would stay until his retirement following the 1995 season.
Coach Shula has the most regular season wins in NFL history, compiling a 328-156-6 record and also went 19-17 in the playoffs. He was a four-time NFL Coach of the Year and named to the 1970's NFL All-Decade Team. He won 14 division titles, five AFC titles, and one NFL Championship, while coaching in six Super Bowls, winning two. He also coached the Miami Dolphins to a perfect 17-0 season, the only team to ever go undefeated and win the Super Bowl.
6. Chuck Noll:
Chuck Noll began his coaching career as a defensive assistant with the San Diego Chargers in 1960 before moving to the Baltimore Colts in 1966 to coach the defensive backfield. In 1969 he was named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a coaching legend was born.
In his 23 seasons in Pittsburgh, coach Noll had 15 winning seasons, going 193-148-1 and 16-8 in the playoffs. He won two separate NFL Coach of the Year awards while leading the Steelers to 11 division championships, four AFC Championships, and four Super Bowl Championships, the most ever by a coach. Coach Noll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
5. Vince Lombardi:
Vince Lombardi spent 11 seasons as an NFL head coach which seems very short by today's standards, but he made the most of his time on the sidelines. He spent the majority of his career coaching the Green Bay Packers but also had a short stay in Washington. He never had a losing season during his career, compiling a 96-34-6 record while going 9-1 in the playoffs.
He captured the 1959 AP NFL Coach of the Year award and coached the Packers to five NFL Championships and two Super Bowl Championships. The Super Bowl trophy bears his name in his memory. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 (one year after his death), Packers Hall of Fame in 1975, and the Redskins Ring of Fame in 1997.
4. Joe Paterno:
Joe Paterno very well could be considered by many as the face of college football. He spent more that 60 years as a coach at Penn State which started as an assistant before being named head coach in 1966, where he would stay until the 2011 season. During his career he won 15 different national coach of the year awards (AFCA (5), Walter Camp Coach of the Year (3), Eddie Robinson Coach of Year (3), Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year (2), Home Depot Coach of the Year, and Sporting News College Football Coach of the Year).
He was also a three-time winner of the Big Ten Coach of the Year award. He led the Nittany Lions to two national championships and three Big Ten titles during his career while winning more games (409) than any coach in Division IA/FBS history and also most bowl wins (24). He compiled a career record of 409-136-3.
3. Tom Landry:
Tom Landry spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants before being named the head coach of the expansion Dallas Cowboys in 1960. After failing to win a game in his inaugural season in Dallas, who could have foreseen the Hall of Fame career that would unfold.
He won three separate Coach of the Year honors in 1966 and added another in 1975. During his 29 seasons in Dallas, he led the Cowboys to 13 divisional titles, five NFC titles and two Super Bowl titles. He also coached the Cowboys to 20 consecutive winning seasons as well as 20 playoff wins, most by any coach in history. He compiled a 250-162-6 record during his career. Coach Landry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1993.
2. George Halas:
George "Papa Bear" Halas was the owner of the Chicago Bears from 1920 to his death in 1983. He also served as head coach of the Bears for three different stints from 1933-1942, 1946-1955, and 1958-1967. He also was coach of the Decatur Staleys/Chicago Staleys.Chicago Bears from 1920-1929.
During his career he won six NFL Championships and was named to the 1920's NFL All-Decade Team. He won three different coach of the year honors in 1963 and 1965 and compiled a 318-148-31 record and 6-4 in the playoffs. Halas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
1. Paul "Bear" Bryant:
Paul "Bear" Bryant is the face of Alabama Crimson Tide football. He was an assistant at Alabama from 1936-1940 before being head coach at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A & M. In 1958, he was named head coach at Alabama. He would coach the Tide until 1982 and during his career was the face of success, compiling a 323-85-17 record while going 15-12-2 in bowl games.
Coach Bryant also won one SWC Championship, 14 SEC Championships, and 6 National Championships. He was a three-time AFCA Coach of the Year winner and a 12-time SEC Coach of the Year. Coach Bryant was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
There is the complete rundown. There are numerous coaches who were good enough to make the list but only room for ten. This is a topic that can be debated of who is the best of all time. These coaching greats are the symbol of what Hall of Fame football is all about.