As part of our project on the all-time greatest NFL coaches, Rick Reilly offers us a look at his top-20 ballot. This is an NFC East post because he ranked former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs as the No. 2 greatest coach of all time, behind only Vince Lombardi. Rick's reasoning has to do with the well-established fact that Gibbs won "three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of whom are in the Hall of Fame. That's like crossing the Pacific in a Little Mermaid floatie."
I haven't seen the final list, and we're going to reveal the overall top 20, one per day, starting tomorrow on the site. We'll obviously post as the NFC East-relevant ones come up. But while I appreciate Rick's case for Gibbs, it's hard for me to believe he'll end up ranked ahead of guys like Paul Brown, Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry and Don Shula. Maybe. We'll see.
The rest of the NFC East-relevant coaches on Rick's list are Landry at No. 6, Jimmy Johnson at No. 14, George Allen at No. 15, Tom Coughlin at No. 18 and Ray Flaherty at No. 19. (Dan Reeves is No. 20, but not because of anything he did with the Giants.)
Rick's list does not include former Giants and Cowboys coach Bill Parcells:
Lot of people are going to file a grievance over that. Fine coach, fun guy, but his regular-season coaching record was only .570, which ranks below most of the coaches in my top 20. Plus, Parcells' stature was blown up because he did his best work in New York, which is the scuba mask of the world. Everything you do in New York looks one-third bigger than it really is.
Nor does it include current Redskins coach Mike Shanahan:
Like Parcells, Shanahan is a wizard, but both his Super Bowls came with one quarterback, Elway. He has won one playoff game in the 13 years since. Needs to prove it.
One man's opinion, and one of the sweet parts about this project is that you can go here and make your own top 20. It's not as easy as it looks!