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Top 10 Head Coach and Quarterback Tandems

Top 10 Head Coach and Quarterback Tandems

01/13/2018
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As the Archivist of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jon Kendle spends his days reading about the history of the game. As the Patriots take the field this weekend, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will attempt to secure their 26th postseason victory together as head coach and the Starting quarterback. In this article, Jon ranks his top ten greatest tandems.

News, or should I say, rumors, are swirling that “The Patriots Way” has a chink in its armor. Media outlets around the country have been reporting discourse between what is, in my opinion, the greatest head coach and quarterback tandem in NFL history, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

My job as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Archivist is to preserve and interpret the world’s greatest collection on pro football information. I spend every day immersed in the more than 40 million pages of documents and six million images being cared for in the world-class Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research & Preservation Center.

Typically, I just present the facts! But, the Hall’s production team has asked me to weigh in my expert opinion on who are the greatest coach-quarterback tandems in NFL history. This is a topic that can be debated for a lifetime and I know many will disagree with me. However, when you debate greatest of all-time quarterbacks and coaches, there is one stat that I weight above all the rest. Victories! When you look at Belichick and Brady’s regular and postseason win-loss record, the number of division, conference and league championships they’ve won and finally their longevity together, in my mind it’s clear.  

Separately, both Belichick and Brady have each built a legacy that rivals the greatest of all-time at their respective positions. Together, they have built something that very few head coach and quarterback duos can even come close to matching. So, if Belichick and Brady are at the top of my list, who have they passed along the way to reign supreme as the all-time head coach and quarterback combination in pro football history?

Here are my top ten coach and quarterback tandems:

 

1.Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Years – 18 (2000-2017)

Regular Season Record – 196-55, .781%

Postseason Record – 25-9, .735%

Division Championships – 15

Conference Championships – 7

Super Bowl/League Championships – 5

 

2.Paul Brown and Otto Graham, Cleveland Browns (AAFC/NFL)

Years – 10 (1946-1955)

Regular Season Record – 105-17-4, .861%

Postseason Record – 9-3, .750%

Division Championships – N/A*

Conference Championships – 10

Super Bowl/League Championships – 7

 

3.Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers

Years – 9 (1959-1967)

Regular Season Record – 77-23-4, .770%

Postseason Record – 9-1-0, .900%

Division Championships – N/A*

Conference Championships – 6

Super Bowl/League Championships – 7

 

4.Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers

Years – 14 (1970-1983)

Regular Season Record – 107-51-0, .677%

Postseason Record – 14-5-0, .737%

Division Championships – 8

Conference Championships – 4

Super Bowl/League Championships – 4  

 

5.Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

Years – 11 (1969-1979)

Regular Season Record – 85-29-0, .736%

Postseason Record – 13-7-0, .650%

Division Championships – 8

Conference Championships – 5

Super Bowl Championships – 2

 

6.Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers

Years 10 (1979-1988)

Regular Season Record – 75-36-0, .676%

Postseason Record – 10-4-0, .714%

Division Championships – 6

Conference Championships – 3

Super Bowl Championships – 3

 

7.Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Years – 11 (2007-2017)

Regular Season Record – 106-32-0, .768%

Postseason Record – 8-6-0, .571%

Division Championships – 6

Conference Championships – 2

Super Bowl Championships – 1

 

8.Don Shula and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins

Years – 13 (1983-1995)

Regular Season Record – 116-68-0, .630%

Postseason Record – 6-7-0, .462%

Division Championships – 5

Conference Championships – 1

Super Bowl Championships – 0

 

9.Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

Years – 11 (1986-1996)

Regular Season Record – 99-52-0, .656%

Postseason Record – 9-8-0, .529%

Division Championships – 6

Conference Championships – 4

Super Bowl Championships – 0

 

10.Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

Years – 7 (2002-2008)

Regular Season Record – 85-27-0, .758%

Postseason Record – 7-6-0, .538%

Division Championships – 5

Conference Championships – 1

Super Bowl Championships – 1


*The NFL had only two conferences, no divisions.

So, there you have it. The facts backing up my opinion. And who knows, in five years there might be another coach-quarterback tandem joining my list of all-time greats. Now, let the debate begin! Who’s on your all-time list of coach and quarterback duos and who do you see as an up and coming tandem? 

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