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Great coaches of the NFC East

Some notable coaches in NFC East history

The NFC East was once known for its great, super bowl winning coaches

Tom Landry - This Hall of Famer coached 29 years in Dallas, accumulating a .605 win percentage, and collecting a dozen NFC East division titles, 5 NFC championships, and two super bowl wins along the way.

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Jimmy Johnson - in his five seasons in Dallas, he won back-to-back division championships, leading to two Lombardi trophies before falling victim to Jerry Jones’ ego. Jimmy Johnson was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bill Parcells - Though Parcells arguably had his best seasons as a head coach with the New York Giants, where he accumulated a .611 win percentage and two super bowl wins, he also coached for four years in Dallas, achieving a .531 win percentage and two playoff appearances. He is in the Hall of Fame.

Tom Coughlin - I’m not personally a big fan of Coughlin’s, but he is widely respected for his hard-nosed coaching style, his .531 win percentage with the Giants, and the two Lombardi Trophies his squads brought home by defeating the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII AND XLVI.

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Looking deeper into Giants history, there were a string of successful coaches from 1925 to 1930 who put together a string of winning seasons, with Leroy Andrews achieving a win percentage of .828 in 30 games. His Giants were the 1927 league champions by dint of having the best record in the league that season (11-1-1).

Steve Owen - Because of how long ago he coached, Owen may be the most successful NFL coach that you’ve never heard of. Coaching the Giants from 1931 to 1953, in his more than two decades, Owen’s teams won 151 of 268 regular season games, a win percentage of .602, and along with it, two league championships (1934, 1938) and a Coach of the Year award (1950), though he had limited success in playoff games, with a 2-8 record. He is in the Hall of Fame.

This photo reminds me of Bruce Arians, somehow

Jim Lee Howell - Another successful Giants coach, Howell coached his teams to a 53-27-4 record (.663 win percentage), and a league championship in 1956.

Here’s a picture of Jim Lee Howell & Tom Landry together in New York in 1959

Eagles coaches have been a less distinguished lot when it comes to winning championships compared to the men who have led the Cowboys and Giants over the decades. There have been some notable coaches, however.

Greasy Neale - From 1941 to 1950, Neale accomplished a .590 win percentage, and led his team to two NFL Championships in 1948 and 49, and picked up a Coach of the Year award in ‘48 as well. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Buck Shaw - though he coached the Eagles for only three seasons, he was responsible for leading the team to its final NFL Championship in the pre-super bowl era in 1960, and he was named Coach of the Year by both AP and UPI that season. At 61, Shaw was the oldest coach to win an NFL championship in the 1900s. He retired after that magical 1960 season, saying that he wanted to go out while he was ahead. Buck Shaw is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Buck Shaw celebrating the 1960 championship with some of his players

Dick Vermeil - A look at his NFC East record and accomplishments doesn’t make Vermeil’s name leap off the page, but, he took over a team that had spent about 15 years in a morass of losing football following Buck Shaw’s retirement, and Vermeil re-energized them. I remember well when Vermeil was hired to coach the Eagles in 1976, and it was akin to the recent hiring of Sean McVay by the Rams, signalling a break with the past, and introducing new energy and a new style of football. Vermeil has gone on to have continued success with the Rams and Chiefs, as well as in broadcasting. Vermeil is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.

Andy Reid - Andy Reid, who, despite his .583 winning percentage in his 13 seasons in Philly, and despite his 10-9 playoff record with the Eagles, had been questioned for not being able to succeed in winning a Super Bowl. Adding that accomplshment in Kansas City a few months ago probably cemented him as one of the top coaches in the league, and he is likely to one day get a gold jacket and a bronze bust in the Hall of Fame for his coaching accomplishments.


The Redskins have been a franchise that has enjoyed success in bunches, separated by decades of frustration. One of the early periods of success came in the late 30s and early 40s.

Ray Flaherty - Redskins fans always remember #33, Sammy Baugh, but often know nothing of his coach, Ray Flaherty, who led the team to two league championships (‘37 and ‘42) and who played on the 1934 champion Giants team. In 7 seasons as the head coach, Flaherty led the Redskins to a .720 win percentage, and he is on the list of the “80 Greatest Redskins”.

The two coaches that followed Flaherty in the war years, Dutch Bergman and Dudley DeGroot, coached the team to a combined record of 20-8-2. Each of them took the Redskins to the league championship game, though both of those teams lost. Both men spent the majority of their professional lives in college sports.

Dud DeGroot on the left and Dutch Bergman on the right

Vince Lombardi - The Redskins spent most of the years between the end of WWII and 1968 mired in mediocrity, or simply downright bad. It was a time that was, in many ways, similar to the Dan Snyder era, in which the Redskins employed nine head coaches — some of them quite successful outside of Washington — only one of whom (Dick Todd) could produce a winning season (5-4 in 1951). The hiring of Vince Lombardi in 1969 broke that cycle. In his single season as head coach of the Redskins, Lombardi led the team to a 7-5-2 record. It would be the last season Lombardi ever coached, as he died of lung cancer in September of 1970, but he restored a sense of pride in Washington, and ushered in an era of raised expectations and restored success that would include two great Redskins coaches. Lombardi’s Packers teams won 8 championships (2 super bowls and 6 league championships in the pre-SB era); he is in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, the Redskins Ring of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the NFL’s championship trophy is named in his honor.

George Allen - though he never won a Super Bowl, George Allen spent seven seasons as the Redskins head coach, compiling a .691 win percentage, and building on the foundation that had been laid by Lombardi. After more than twenty years of terrible football that had preceded Lombardi, Allen, taking over in 1971, gave Redskins fans something to cheer about again, and was largely responsible for creating the rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys that lasted for at least the next twenty years. Allen is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joe Gibbs - Similar to Dick Vermeil, who had been hired by the Eagles five years earlier, “St. Joe” was a young, little-known coordinator who was displayed passion, hard work and dedication. Bobby Beathard says that Jack Kent Cooke was initially opposed to his hire, but Beathard went to bat for him. Between 1981 and 1992, Gibbs compiled a .674 win percentage, with four NFC Championships and 3 Super Bowl victories. As every Redskins fan knows, Joe Gibbs is the only coach to win 3 super bowls with 3 different quarterbacks. A dozen years after his initial retirement, he answered the call to help a Redskins franchise in trouble, returning to the head coaching job in 2004 and leading the team for 4 seasons, leading to two playoff appearances. Gibbs is in the Redskins Ring of Fame, NFL Hall of Fame, and was recently nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.