Thanks to parity and hard salary-cap rules, few jobs are more tough and pressure-packed than coaching in the NFL. Gone are the days (for the most part) of coaches staying with one franchise for a decade or more; in are the days of the modern NFL landscape where coaches are regularly fired after just one or two seasons on the job. As a result, it’s increasingly difficult for head coaches to last long enough to be considered one of the all-time greats.
For this list, we only accounted for coaches and coaching statistics that occurred after the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, which we felt leveled the playing field. Unfortunately, this means we had to exclude guys like Vince Lombardi, George Halas, Curly Lambeau, and Paul Brown. A handful of current head coaches do have a chance to enter the discussion of the best head coaches in NFL history (only one current coach made this list).
Guys like Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks all have a chance to earn NFL legend status. But none of them are there quite yet. Here is our ranking (in descending order) the 12 best head coaches in NFL history since the (AFL/NFL merger).