Tom Brady cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all-time by leading the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to win his fifth Lombardi Trophy on Sunday in Houston. Bill Belichick, who has been on the Patriots’ sideline for every one of Brady’s Super Bowl wins, may have simultaneously cemented his legacy as the NFL’s greatest coach, if he hadn’t done that already.
Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry would have to be considered among the other candidates for the title, while former NFL lineman and current football analyst Ross Tucker made the case for Redskins legend Joe Gibbs on Tuesday.
“Who’s the best coach in the history of the NFL?” Tucker, who played for both Belichick and Gibbs, asked during an interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
Belichick was the consensus response.
“Here’s the thing,” said Tucker, who retired in 2007 after suffering a serious neck injury during a Redskins preseason game. “I’m not saying this is against Belichick. I played for him. He’s probably the most impressive coach, game plan-wise that I’ve played for, but, for me, I look at what Gibbs did … three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks that are not Hall of Famers. Like, that is crazy and will never be duplicated. So I understand Belichick’s had more sustained success. I’ll also say this, though. Then Gibbs came back [in 2004 after retiring in 1992] and went to the playoffs with Mark Brunell and Jason Campbell-slash-Todd Collins the year I was on the team. And I don’t know, he probably went to the playoffs one year with [Jay] Schroeder, too, so that’s at least five different quarterbacks that Gibbs took to the playoffs, three of which he won Super Bowls with, none of whom are really even close to being Hall of Famers.
“As great as Belichick is, he’s doing it with a guy that’s clearly the best quarterback of all-time, and even Bill Walsh had it with [Joe] Montana. I’d even give some props to [Bill] Parcells for turning around four different teams, but to me, I’m still going with Gibbs.”
(Indeed, Gibbs coached the Redskins to the NFC championship game during the 1986 season with Schroeder as his quarterback.)
“I just think it comes down to hardware when you start listing greatest of all-time,” Junkies host Jason Bishop countered.
Belichick passed Shula for the most Super Bowl appearances as a coach (seven) and Steelers legend Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl titles as a coach (five) with Sunday’s win. Gibbs won three Super Bowls in four tries.
Junkies host J.P. Flaim pointed out that Brady was “more of a game manager” early in his career and the Patriots went 11-5 under Belichick in 2008, the year Brady suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1.
“Look, all I want is for Brady and Belichick to break up, like, tomorrow, for three years, so we can see both those guys do it other places,” Tucker said, speaking on behalf of all non-Patriots fans who are sick and tired of seeing the duo hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
After Tuesday’s interview, Tucker suggested that Belichick may well be the best NFL coach of all-time, he still considers Gibbs’ winning three Super Bowls with Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien at quarterback as “the most impressive coaching accomplishment.”
Post columnist Thomas Boswell touched on Belichick’s status as the greatest of all-time during his weekly chat on Monday, mentioning that he’d “still debate” that claim. After a reader asked him which coaches he’d consider instead, Boswell made the case for another former Redskins coach:
Vince Lombardi also won five NFL championships. Who cares that only two of them were called Super Bowls. It is exactly the same thing. The title in the top pro league.
Lombardi did it in the span of seven years. Is that bad? Isn’t the fact that it took fewer attempts a good thing?
Yes, there is a huge problem of vastly different eras. But I watched all those great Packer teams on TV growing up. They were fabulous and had that same never-beaten champion feel about them.
Lombardi coached many fewer games: 96-34-6, and 9-1 in postseason. But doesn’t that .728 career percentage matter?
I am not saying Lombardi is better. Look at the length of time for Belichick’s superiority and the need to get through at least three rounds of playoffs to be a champion.
I am just trying to be troublesome. Or respectful.
Also, is there a tiebreaker for Better Character?
It’s called The Lombardi Trophy for a reason.
And I am pretty sure the NFL is never going to name it the Belichick Trophy.
But I get the G.O.A.T case for Bill. It’s probably correct. But don’t forget it’s still 5-to-5 in NFL titles.