Who’s the greatest coach in NFL history? Any answer would have to consider the likes of Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, George Halas, Don Shula, Bill Walsh and Chuck Noll. But Patriots owner Robert Kraft says his coach has them all beat.
Kraft said today that he believes Patriots coach Bill Belichick will be remembered as the best coach the league has ever seen.
“I think he’ll go down as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, because he’s really competing in the era of the salary cap,” Kraft said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “When I bought the team, it was the beginning of the salary cap, and I think a lot of great coaches had difficulty understanding how to balance the economics of the game and the budgets. His product knowledge is so great.”
Kraft raises an interesting point about the turnover of NFL rosters these days: Belichick is going for his fourth Super Bowl ring, which would tie him with Noll for the most ever, but Noll did it with the Steelers at a time when franchises could keep the nucleus of a great team together for a decade. The Patriots have only three players on this year’s roster — Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk and Matt Light — who were with the Patriots when they won the first Super Bowl under Belichick.
In fact, what Belichick has done in building the Patriots dynasty at a time when there really aren’t dynasties in the NFL is so different than what any of those great coaches of the past did that it’s hard to even compare them. But Kraft has a good point when he suggests that Belichick’s achievement surpasses them all, because it comes at a time when it’s harder to build a dynasty than it ever has been before.
“I think we’re privileged to have him as a head coach,” Kraft said. “I think he has done an outstanding job.”
And if he earns another Super Bowl ring this year, he may have done the most outstanding job that any coach has ever done.