NFL head coaches are asked to do a lot. They not only have to prepare more than 50 players for a game every single week, but have to work in coordination with the dozens of other coaches, trainers, and assistants on their staff. It results in them working 17-19 hours per day with one day off per week.
Even on their day off, they’re thinking about football and trying to determine the best path forward to success. There are only so many hours in a week and their job is to maximize all of them to the best of their ability. If they don’t, chances are there’s someone else waiting for the opportunity right behind them.
And for the NFL head coaches that get the opportunity, they aren’t given much time to figure things out. The average head coach only lasts about four seasons before getting fired or leaving – and that’s being generous, thanks to a handful of head coaches that keep their job for 10+, even 20+ years at a time.
Which NFL Head Coaches Have At Least 170 Wins?
Of the 32 NFL head coaches in the league right now, only eight have more than 10 years of head coach experience. Seven NFL head coaches are currently doing so for the first time, four of them are doing so for a second year, and three are doing it for a third year. 10 others have between 3-5 years experience.
The point I’m trying to make is most head coaches won’t even have a chance at coaching 170 games in the NFL before someone new comes in – let alone WINNING 170 games in the NFL. It’s something only a handful of NFL head coaches will ever have the opportunity to do – especially in the league today.
With that said, there are 15 NFL head coaches that have 170 wins as of December 3, 2022 – two of which are currently coaching in the NFL. The real question is how many of those 15 NFL head coaches can you name? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answer for you below – let’s see how many you can get right!
15. Mike Shanahan – 170 wins
Mike Shanahan won 170 regular season games during his 20-year career as an NFL head coach. He retired with a 138-86-0 record in 14 seasons with the Denver Broncos, 24-40-0 record in four seasons with the Washington Redskins, and an 8-12-0 record in two seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders.
Shanahan achieved at least 10 wins on eight occasions – seven of which came with the Broncos. He highlighted his career with back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1997 and 1998 with Denver, going 26-6 in those two years (33-6 including the playoffs). He had 178 wins in the NFL, including playoffs.
14. Tom Coughlin – 170 wins
Tom Coughlin retired with 170 regular season wins and 182 total wins (including playoffs) during his 20-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1995 and 2015. He had a 102-90-0 record in 12 seasons with the New York Giants and a 68-60-0 record in eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Coughlin finished with at least 10 wins on seven occasions, including a career-best 14-2-0 record in 1999 with Jacksonville. His career was highlighted by his two Super Bowl championships with the Giants – both with Eli Manning as his QB – in 2007 and 2011. His team put an end to the Patriots’ perfect season.
13. Bill Parcells – 172 wins
Bill Parcells retired with a 172-130-1 regular season record and 183-138-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 19-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1983 and 2006. The Hall of Famer had 77 wins with the Giants, 64 wins with the Cowboys and Patriots, and 48 wins with the Jets.
Parcells won two Super Bowl championships with the Giants in 1986 and 1990, while also leading the Patriots to an AFC Championship in 1996. His team finished with at least 10 wins on nine occasions and he only suffered five losing seasons in 19 years. He was also a two-time AP Coach of the Year.
12. Jeff Fisher – 173 wins
Jeff Fisher retired with a 173-165-1 regular season record and 178-171-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 22-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1994 and 2016. While he has the 12th-most wins in NFL history, he’s also tied for the most losses – along with all-time great Dan Reeves.
Fisher won 142 games with the Houston Oilers-Tennessee Titans before spending five miserable seasons with the St. Louis Rams-Los Angeles Rams. His teams finished with at least 10 wins on six occasions, with his 13-3-0 Titans winning the AFC Championship in 1999. He had a 5-6-0 record in the playoffs.
11. Chuck Knox – 186 wins
Chuck Knox retired with a 186-147-1 regular season record and 193-158-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 22-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1973 and 1994. His team finished with at least 10 wins on nine occasions – including the first five years under his leadership.
Knox was a three-time AP Coach of the Year, but he never won an AFC Championship, NFC Championship, or Super Bowl in his career. His team usually played great during the regular season, but couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most. You could make a case for him in the Hall of Fame.
10. Dan Reeves – 190 wins
Dan Reeves retired with a 190-165-2 regular season record and 201-174-2 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 23-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1981 and 2003. His team finished with at least 10 wins on nine occasions, including a career-best 14-2 record in 1998 with Atlanta.
Reeves never won a Super Bowl championship, but he did win three AFC Championships with the Denver Broncos and one NFC Championship with Atlanta Falcons – the famous 14-2 season. He was a two-time AP Coach of the Year and could certainly make a case to be included in the Hall of Fame.
9. Chuck Noll – 193 wins
Chuck Noll retired with a 193-148-1 regular season record and 209-156-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 23-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1969 and 1991 – all of which with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His team dominated the 1970s, winning four Super Bowls during that time.
Noll led the Steelers to back-to-back titles in 1974 and 1975, and then again in 1978 and 1979. The Steelers finished with at least 10 wins on eight occasions under his leadership – including five-straight between 1972 and 1976. Before becoming head coach, he was a defensive backs and defensive line coach.
8. Marty Schottenheimer – 200 wins
Marty Schottenheimer retired with a 200-126-1 regular season record and 205-139-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 21-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1984 and 2006. His team consistently performed well in the regular season, but consistently played poorly in the playoffs.
Schottenheimer led his teams to at least 10 wins on 11 occasions, including a career-best 14-2-0 record in 2006 with the San Diego Chargers – his final season as head coach. Despite his success at the pro level, he never won a Conference Championship or Super Bowl due to his downfalls in the playoffs.
7. Paul Brown – 213 wins
Paul Brown retired with a 213-104-9 regular season record and 222-112-9 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 25-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1946 and 1975. He enjoyed a majority of his success right out of the gate with the Cleveland Browns, wasting no time stacking wins.
He led the Browns to four-straight AAFC Championships in his first four years as head coach. The following year, in 1950, he led the team to an NFL Championship. They later won two more NFL Championships in 1954 and 1955. His team had at least 10 wins on eight occasions in his career.
6. Curly Lambeau – 226 wins
Curly Lambeau retired with a 226-132-22 regular season record and 229-134-22 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 33-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1921 and 1953. He spent a majority of his career (29 years) with the Green Bay Packers, achieving 209 wins with the team.
During his time with Green Bay, he helped lead the Pack to six NFL Championships – a three-peat between 1929 and 1931, and then again in 1936, 1939, and 1944. In an era where teams only played 14 games, he led the Packers to six seasons of at least 10 wins, including four-straight between 1929-1932.
5. Andy Reid – 242 wins
Andy Reid currently has a 242-137-1 regular season record and 261-153-1 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 24-year career as a head coach in the NFL since 1999. He’s one of two active NFL head coaches on this list and could make a push for 300 wins – depending on how long he coaches for.
Reid has led his teams to at least 10 wins on 16 occasions – including the past seven seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’ll likely continue that streak this season with his team sitting at 9-2 on the year. So far, Reid has won one NFC Championship, two AFC Championships, and one Super Bowl championship.
4. Tom Landry – 250 wins
Tom Landry retired with a 250-162-6 regular season record and 270-178-6 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 29-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1960 and 1988 – all of which with the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first head coach in franchise history and it stayed that way for a while.
Landry led the Cowboys to at least 10 wins on 16 occasions, including six consecutive seasons between 1968 and 1973, and seven consecutive seasons between 1975 and 1981. His team won five NFC Championships and two Super Bowl championships (1971 and 1977). He’s now a Hall of Famer.
3. Bill Belichick – 296 wins
Bill Belichick currently has a 296-149-0 regular season record and 227-162-0 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 28-year career as a head coach in the NFL since 1991. 23 of those years (and counting) have been with the New England Patriots and it has been a match made in heaven so far.
He went just 36-44 with the Cleveland Browns before beginning his tenure with the Patriots – where he has won 260 games. During his 23 years with the Patriots, he has won nine AFC Championships and six Super Bowl championships – the most all-time. He will be the all-time leader in wins in a few years.
2. George Halas – 318 wins
George Halas retired with a 318-148-31 regular season record and 324-151-31 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 40-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1920 and 1967 – all of which with the Chicago Bears. He was the first head coach in franchise history and the only one for 40 years.
Halas was a two-time AP Coach of the Year and five-time NFL Champion before being inducted into the Hall of Fame as an owner/coach in 1963. His longevity and influence on the game will be remembered forever as his legacy lives on through the Bears’ historic franchise – which is currently on the up-and-up.
1. Don Shula – 328 wins
Don Shula retired with a 328-156-6 regular season record and 347-173-6 overall record (including the playoffs) during his 33-year career as a head coach in the NFL between 1963 and 1995. He first broke onto the scene with the Baltimore Ravens, leading them to a 71-23-4 record in nine seasons.
After winning an NFL Championship in Baltimore, Shula later began a career with the Miami Dolphins – where he coached for the next 26 years. He won five AFC Championships, including back-to-back Super Bowl championships and a perfect season in Miami. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
NFL Head Coaches That’ll Join This List Eventually
The 15 coaches listed above are some of the greatest NFL head coaches of all-time, but it only tells part of the history of the sport. For example, there are 43 head coaches with at least 100 wins and 104 head coaches with at least 50 wins. Ron Rivera, coach of the Carolina Panthers, is three wins away from 100.
As for that coveted 170 club, there are four NFL head coaches closing in on that mark. Pete Carroll has 158 wins, Mike Tomlin has 158 wins, Mike McCarthy has 151 wins, and John Harbaugh has 144 wins. And don’t forget about Lovie Smith (90 wins), Sean McVay (58 wins), and Sean McDermott (58 wins).
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While there are a lot of new head coaches in the league, it looks like a lot of them are here to stay. As they continue to win, they’ll continue to climb their way up the all-time wins list. For now, we can just sit around and wait for Bill Belichick to finally take the throne – he’s just 32 wins away from Don Shula.
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