Belichick: Lieutenant turned general

ESPN celebrates the 100th anniversary of Vince Lombardi's birth with the "Greatest Coaches in NFL History" series, saluting the finest innovators, motivators, tacticians, teachers and champions ever to stalk the sidelines. Follow along as we reveal our list of the top 20 coaches of all time and document the lineage of the league's most influential coaching trees.

ESPN.com explores the coaching impact and influence of Bill Belichick in the feature below, followed by short biographies of his assistants who went on to become NFL head coaches.

Two of Belichick's most prominent assistants, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis, are more significantly aligned with Parcells. Crennel coached alongside Parcells at Texas Tech from 1975 to 1977 and served as a Parcells assistant for 15 years with the Giants, Patriots and Jets. Weis, the former Notre Dame and current Kansas head coach, never became an NFL head coach. He worked as an assistant to Parcells for eight seasons and to Belichick for five seasons.

Belichick's role as a developer of talent shouldn't be minimized, though. Consider some of the personnel from his tenure as head coach of the Browns. Future NFL executives Ozzie Newsome, George Kokinis, Vince Newsome, Terry McDonough, Scott Pioli, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Tannenbaum and Phil Savage were on staff, as were future college head coaches Kirk Ferentz and Pat Hill. Saban and Mangini, as mentioned above, were also Belichick assistants in Cleveland.

Special thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau for research assistance in compiling this project.