Bill Belichick proclaims Paul Brown the greatest coach in pro football history

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Some would call Patriots coach Bill Belichick the greatest coach in NFL history, but Belichick does not believe he deserves that honor.

As part of the NFL’s unveiling of its 100th anniversary All-Time Team, Belichick said on an NFL Network that Paul Brown is the greatest coach in the history of the sport.

“He’s the greatest coach in the history of professional football, clear and simple. Everything I do today, Paul Brown did. It all started with Paul Brown. He took football from being a sport to a profession,” Belichick said.

Jim Brown, who was the first player named to the All-Time Team, was also part of the NFL Network program and recalled playing for Paul Brown.

“He was a genius. Every aspect of the game,” Jim Brown said. “I like great thinkers and he was as great as anyone I’ve run into.”

Paul Brown won a national championship at Ohio State and then took over the Cleveland Browns, a new franchise in the All-America Football Conference, in 1946. His Browns won the AAFC championship in each of the four years of that league’s existence, and after the AAFC folded the Browns joined the NFL and won the championship in their first year there as well. Brown would win two more NFL championships before leaving the Browns. He later founded the Cincinnati Bengals franchise and coached them for eight seasons.

92 responses to “Bill Belichick proclaims Paul Brown the greatest coach in pro football history

  1. Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated. Shula had the second greatest quarterback of the 1980s behind Joe Montana, and that quarterback set almost every NFL record there was at the time, and he couldn’t win one Superbowl? Yea some coach

  2. Crazy how the best coach in pro football history has a son who’s the worst owner in pro football history.

  3. Paul Brown didn’t leave the Browns, he was fired by Art Modell. Modell also fired Bill Belichick. And yet the blue ribbon committee will railroad Art into the Hall of Fame this year.

  4. That is because he is the greatest x and o coach that ever was.

    When everyone talks about coaching trees he is where it all started.

  5. Belichick is the greatest coach in the Super Bowl era. Dealing with Free Agency, Salary Cap, Ego’s the size of RI and a plethora of other issues nobody can even imagine. Nobody has gotten their teams to buy into the “All for one and one for all” like Belichick. Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, Marv Levy (underrated), Tom Landry, Bill Parcels all ahead of Shula.

  6. Paul Brown was the first coach to use game film to scout opponents, hire a full-time staff of assistants, and test players on their knowledge of a playbook. He invented the modern face mask, the practice squad and the draw play.

  7. Too bad his legacy will forever be connected to his son who is quite frankly the worst owner in professional sports. The apple fell far far away from the tree. Mike Brown is a laughingstock along with the rest of his family and should not be permitted to own a football let alone an NFL team.

  8. Not a Browns fan by any means, but Paul Brown was, indeed, the father of modern coaching. The Browns’ record their first ten seasons, including the four in the AAFC, was 105-17-4 and they played in their league championship game ALL ten seasons.

  9. George Halas and Sid Luckman
    Paul Brown and Otto Graham
    Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr
    Bill Walsh and Joe Montana
    Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

    Who’s next?

  10. Paul Brown’s QB was the greatest QB of all time too. Otto Graham took his team to the Championship game in every season he played.

    Not a bunch of the seasons that he played . . . the Championship Game in every single season that he played football.

    He won 70% of those Championship Games he played in. Won 7 out of 10 games against the toughest teams that professional football could scrape up to play against him.

  11. I THINK. It was 2010 or 2011. it was a road game, and Belichick walked off the bus towards the locker room with a fedora/hat as tribute to Paul Brown. Belichick had won one more game than Brown did in his coaching career, and was showing respect to his favorite coach.

  12. “Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated.”

    It is possible to recognize greatness without denigrating the achievements of others. I’m sure that Belichick, along with everyone else, is not interested in your uninformed opinions regarding Shula and Halas.

  13. KoolAidFree says:
    November 23, 2019 at 5:38 am
    Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated. Shula had the second greatest quarterback of the 1980s behind Joe Montana, and that quarterback set almost every NFL record there was at the time, and he couldn’t win one Superbowl? Yea some coach
    ++++++++++++++
    Maybe Belichick is jealous of all Shulas wins. And one of the few coaches to take 2 teams to a super bowl. And as I mentioned earlier taken more qbs to super bowl than any other coach. And only coach to go undefeated. Maybe Bill is still butt hurt from his 0-2 record vs Shula.

  14. Yet the NFL all but ignores Paul Brown. The only thing that commemorates him is his sons naming the stadium after him.

  15. Belichick is the greatest of the Salary Cap era, a time when it is far harder to keep a team and its talent together.

    Think of his decision NOT to call a timeout in the SuperBowl against the Seahawks. How many other coaches today would have had the foresight and stones to do that?

  16. Too bad Paul’s genes didn’t pass down. As great of a coach and owner as he was his son, Mike, is that bad from a football perspective. From a business standpoint, Mike, had duped and swindeled the people of Cincinnati repeatedly

  17. BB is prob already the GOAT but he’s still ongoing! Brown is at least the greatest of his era, one of the greatest ever and def the most innovative – that’s as much as can be said given the gulf between now and even just the pre-Cap/FA 1980s, let alone going back to Brown’s era!

  18. Belichick knows how to coach and he knows his coaches. Both he and Brown deserve to be considered best NFL Head Coach ever.

  19. I agree with Bill. Bill Walsh comes from Pail Brown’s coaching tree which makes Paul Browns coaching tree massive considering all the coaches that came up under Bill Walsh.

    All Time NFL Team

    Head Coach: Paul Brown
    Offensive Coordinator: Bill Walsh
    QBs Coach: Andy Reid
    WRs Coach: Jon Gruden
    TIght Ends: Greg Roman
    Offensive Line: Bob McKittrick

    Defensive Coordinator: Bill Belichick
    Defensive Backs: Dennis Thurman
    Defensive Line: Jim Tomsula
    Linebackers: Mike Singletary

    Strength and Conditioning: Vince Lombardi

    West Coast/Bill Walsh Offense

    QB – Joe Montana
    HB- Jim Brown
    FB – Roger Craig
    TE- Ozzie Newsome
    SE – Randy Moss
    FL – Jerry Rice
    LT- Walter Jones
    LG – Larry Allen
    C -Mike Webster
    RG – Steve Hutchinson
    RT – Jackie Slater

    Defense 3-4

    RE – Justin Smith
    NT – Michael Carter
    LE – JJ Watt

    ROLB – Lawrence Taylor
    RILB – Patrick Willis
    LILB – Ray Lewis
    LOLB – Seth Joyner

    RCB – Deion Sanders
    FS – Ronnie Lott
    SS – Chet Brooks(my personal favorite)
    LCB- Rod Woodson

  20. KoolAidFree says:
    November 23, 2019 at 5:38 am
    Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated. Shula had the second greatest quarterback of the 1980s behind Joe Montana, and that quarterback set almost every NFL record there was at the time, and he couldn’t win one Superbowl? Yea some coach
    ———————-
    Super Bowl VIII. Dolphins over Vikings! Shula wins Super Bowl! There was football before you were born!

  21. Art Model Resume
    -Fired Paul Brown
    -Fired Bell Belichick
    -Caused Jim Brown to retire early
    -Traded Paul Warfield
    -Went Bankrupt as a modern day NFL owner (twice once in each city)

  22. I loathe Belicheat, but he is right about Paul Brown. Brown basically created the modern style of coaching. He did things that no one had done before, and his record of success speaks for itself. Brown was innovative and a winner. He truly is the greatest pro football coach of all time.

  23. “Paul Brown didn’t leave the Browns, he was fired by Art Modell. Modell also fired Bill Belichick.”

    Not only did he fire Belichick, but he called Kraft to warn him that if he hired Belichick, he would be making the biggest mistake of my life.

  24. “I agree with Bill. Bill Walsh comes from Paul Brown’s coaching tree”

    Doesn’t help Brown’s legacy that he went out of his way to blacklist Walsh around the league and spread so many unfounded rumors about him that Walsh had to go coach at Stanford before returning to the NFL with the 49ers. Eddie Debartolo was young and brash enough that Brown’s warnings didn’t faze him. All Walsh did was go on to win 3 SBs and he probably would have won at least a couple more if he hadn’t gotten worn down by Eddie’s constant temper tantrums.

  25. Many great coaches in NFL history but Paul Brown started it all for modern professional football. Belichick followed his path many years later and its nice that he acknowledges that.

  26. A lot of bitter Shula fans. Shula was great. But his perfect season got exposed when reporters examined it more closely during the Patriots run to an unprecedented 18-0. It was fun watching Mercury Morris and some of those other Dolphins wet themselves as 2007 unfolded.

    As one commenter pointed out in reference to the genius of not calling a timeout at the end of SB 49, Belichick has a lot of genius moments — concrete examples of calls / maneuvers we could point to and say “wow!” Deliberately taking the safety in that 2003 regular season game against the Broncos is another one that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in Mile High. Teaching Malcolm Butler to prepare for that slant pass on the goalline …

  27. Shula won ALOT of games. If Bill doesn’t catch him no one ever will. Think how long Bill has dominated and Shula is still 5 seasons ahead of him at the very least. But he was nothing special from the late 70’s on. Could never win the big one with Marino. I think it’s sad how he attacks Belichick at every turn. I wonder if he’s senile now. Certainly classless these days.

  28. The fans from other teams jealous of what Belichick has done and are bashing him need to seek therapy. As a fan of football Any rational observer cannot discount the job he has done with the Patriots and Giants. New flash-everyone cheats. Indy and Atl piping in noise. Denver salary cap. Pitt tripping players or gaining advantage by the steroid year.-and so on… Just get over it and give credit where credit is due. Every team in the NFL would have loved to have this guy running their team for last 20years.

  29. I totally agree with Paul Brown being the best. He made football what it is today and won championships while he was innovating. I don’t understand the hate against Shula. Yes, he underachieved with Marino at the end of his (Shula’s) career, but people seem to forget what he did with the Dolphins before Marino and with the Baltimore Colts. Would the 72 Dolphins have been undefeated without him? I have always gone back and forth between Brown and Shula being the best.

  30. Besides being the best coach of the salary cap era BB is also the greatest general manager even if he doesn’t have the title.

    There is no question-except for Kraft/Brady issue- that BB calls all the football team shots for the Patriots.

    In general Kraft-has kept his nose of the actual running of the team-except for the Brady/Garroplolo stuff.

  31. Very classy by BB as pee usual, but Brown didn’t have to deal with a cheating commissioner or owners who collude to try to slow Brown down, nor the cap or a quest for parity.

    Brown got all the rules changed he wanted, while the NFL moves the goalposts on BB based on what he does.

    As Gil Brandt said recently, BB is the most amazing human being he has ever been around in the professional world.

    Brown is the greatest pioneer no doubt, BB the greatest coach (and everyone knows it).

  32. KoolAidFree says:
    November 23, 2019 at 5:38 am
    Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated. Shula had the second greatest quarterback of the 1980s behind Joe Montana, and that quarterback set almost every NFL record there was at the time, and he couldn’t win one Superbowl? Yea some coach
    =========================================
    Those Marino/Shula offenses were all one dimensional. Marino never had a running game other than 1 year when he had a 1000 yd rusher. One of the Great passing offenses of all time but hard to go all the way when you cant run the ball too….

  33. New flash-everyone cheats. _______

    Thanks for at least admitting he’s a blatant cheater, even though you go on to try and justify it.

  34. TribeOfOne says:
    November 23, 2019 at 10:36 am
    New flash-everyone cheats. _______

    Thanks for at least admitting he’s a blatant cheater, even though you go on to try and justify it.

    0 3 Rate This

    ——————-

    The word gets thrown around far too much. Based on dork Millennials, Brown, Halas, Lombardi, toolbag Shula, etc, all were cheaters.

    Being creative in the competitive nature of football is not cheating.

    I suppose Dean Smith “cheated” because he devised “four square”, a form of keep away, leading to the invention of the shot clock.

    No one ever talked about “cheating” until Millennials came along during the obvious roid era of the late 90s and Lance Armstrong.

    Peyton Manning used HGH past 2014. HE CHEATED. Factually cheated.

  35. It’s ridiculous that in the past some Pats fans on here have said they think the Lombardi Trophy should be renamed the Belichick Trophy.
    Then I remind them that the only way he’ll have it named after him is if it’s done posthumously.

  36. No one ever talked about “cheating” until Millennials came along during the obvious roid era of the late 90s and Lance Armstrong.____________

    Blah blah blah. Cause nobody ever got shot over cheating in a game of cards in the old west, right? Integrity is the issue, it’s not a generation issue.

  37. Tom Landry is the greatest coach ever he was offensive and defensive coordinator his teams ran like Precision for decades.
    Shula is the second greatest coach, Belichick is just sore from choking away his undefeated season

  38. danielsong39 says:
    November 23, 2019 at 6:52 am
    George Halas and Sid Luckman
    Paul Brown and Otto Graham
    Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr
    Bill Walsh and Joe Montana
    Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

    Who’s next?

    ——–

    Jon Gruden and Derek Carr

    Open your eyes

  39. Bill chooses his words wisely. He knows he’s the best coach ever, and he is right. But he is also right in that he’s not the greatest.

    There are key differences between “greatest” and “best”.

    Babe Ruth may forever be the greatest baseball player, but he was not the best. Paul Brown will always be the greatest ever, but he’s no longer the best.

  40. he certainly was but he likely wouldn’t last two seasons on a modern football team. There is no way he would suffer this current group of entitled fools for a minute

  41. Good choice. Who remembers those ESPN ads with the McGinty brothers who had to dress up as Paul Brown for Halloween?

  42. Paul Brown founded the Bengals and got them off to a superb start and as GM his Bengals went to two Super Bowls where they barely lost to the 49ers who were led by Bill Walsh, a student under Paul Brown. Unfortunately Mike Brown did not inherit his fathers’ football genius and is destroying the team he founded.

  43. steaksandwichandsteaksandwich says:
    November 23, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Paul Brown was the first coach to use game film to scout opponents, hire a full-time staff of assistants, and test players on their knowledge of a playbook. He invented the modern face mask, the practice squad and the draw play.
    —————————-

    Brown also was the first coach to use players to bring in plays from the sideline (guards) and was the first to experiment with radios in QB’s helmets. And the original draw play was actually a broken play that Marion Motley turned into a touchdown. Brown saw it on film and made it into a regular play.

  44. Let’s account for rule changes have been put in after Belichick took advantage of the previous rulebooks.

    Secondly, look what Belichick did at the end of a couple of Super Bowls: he let (made) the players play 60 minutes. Final precise drive in 36, goal line defense and no timeout against Seattle in 49,

    He makes commenters and journos look foolish.

  45. TribeOfOne says:
    November 23, 2019 at 10:36 am
    New flash-everyone cheats. _______

    Thanks for at least admitting he’s a blatant cheater, even though you go on to try and justify it.

    —-
    Made up completely fabricated cheating, the kind Belichick is often accused of doing, doesn’t count.

    I bet you’re getting mad now aren’t ya boy!

    🙂

  46. toolbag Shula, etc, all were cheaters.

    —-
    Oh Shula is by far one of the biggest cheaters this sport has ever seen. I do not acknowledge him as one of the greats for that very reason.

  47. Brown also was the first coach to use players to bring in plays from the sideline (guards) and was the first to experiment with radios in QB’s helmets

    —————-

    Brown was a cheater!

    It just has to be true!

  48. I bet you’re getting mad now aren’t ya boy!

    🙂

    No ma’am. Not in the least. Have fun juggling those asterisks.

  49. Bill Belichick is being as honest as he can, based on what he’s seen. I think part of the reason Bill Belichick the coach is so good is because he has Bill Belichick the General Manager. So as far as pure coaching, I was too young to know how good Paul Brown was. The best coach I ever saw as Joe Gibbs. He won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s and none of them were HOFers. That’s just ridiculous. Belichick is one of the greatest coaches, and he might even be #1, but he’s heads and shoulders above all the GM’s.

  50. Jim Brown proves that if you do bad stuff towards women for a few decades, it’s cool if you stop in the 90’s (at least stuff he’s been arrested for) and everyone just ignores it.

  51. Vasteelerfan says:
    November 23, 2019 at 9:47 am
    I would agree especially since he never cheated like BB.

    ———-

    He also never tripped an opposing player in a return play

  52. I’m a huge admirer of Bill Belichick (although certainly not a Pats fan) and I agree with him that Paul Brown was the greatest HC of all time. It went beyond just coaching because Brown was also an innovator and it can be argued that he was instrumental in modernizing the game as such.

    I would rank Belichick and Tom Landry behind Brown at the #2 and #3 slots respectively.

  53. Paul Brown’s QB was the greatest QB of all time too. Otto Graham took his team to the Championship game in every season he played.

    Not a bunch of the seasons that he played . . . the Championship Game in every single season that he played football.

    He won 70% of those Championship Games he played in. Won 7 out of 10 games against the toughest teams that professional football could scrape up to play against him.

    All that I said above was true. What is also true is that Bill Belichick is the greatest of the modern day coaches. Yeah, I think he cheated, I think all coaches cheat if they think they can get away with it. Having Brady as your QB is a great help but how often do people notice all of the latter round QB picks (besides Brady) that Belichick has made into NFL grade QBs. The greatest part of Bills coaching game is that it is so successful at the details.

    I will always think that Brown was the greatest coach ever. Belichick is not just the greatest coach in the modern era, he is head and shoulders above all of his competition in this day and age.

  54. Best coach is Bill Walsh without a doubt. Brown might’ve created some stuff but that’s not the most important thing. ON top of it, he bad mouthed Walsh for no reason. That takes a lot from his shine and speaks for the person.

  55. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl it’s time to change the Lombardi trophy to the Belichick. Rename the AFC trophy after Brown. Rename the NFC trophy after Lombardi.

    Enjoy the games everyone!!

  56. Considering there is absolutely no way to prove who is the Greatest HC in NFL history, it’s best to resort to name calling, personal attacks, and incoherent ramblings against someone other than your choice. The mindless bashing of Shula is pathetic.
    The argument for Shula can’t be avoided.
    Most wins
    Only Undefeated Team in history
    Two Super Bowl Championships
    Six Super Bowl Appearances
    Took two franchises to the SB.
    Three NFL Championship Appearances
    One NFL Championship
    Went to SB3 with a backup QB
    Went to SB7 and went undefeated with a backup QB, a strong defense, and first ever team with 1000 yard backs.
    Went to SB 17 with David Woodley at QB
    Went to SB 19 with the most prolific passing attack the league had seen.

    As far as not winning with the SB with Marino, they were together for 12 years (Marino missed the 93 season), made the playoffs 7 times. Take time to remember, or perhaps learn, that the Dolphins could not make it past the Bills. The same Bills that had a HOF GM, HC, QB, RB, two WR’s, a DE, and countless Pro Bowl players. There four year run was the most impressive the AFC East has ever seen.

    Don’t forget the WFL. Fresh off of a 5 year run with two titles, three straight SB’s, and 5 years in playoffs, the Dolphins lost Csonka (HOF), Warfield (HOF), and Kiick. Imagine any team losing your best offensive playmakers at the same time.

    And should there be shame in losing SB’s to HOF’s like Landry, Gibbs, and Walsh? Shula was one for the Ages. Make sure you know the whole story before you bash the guy behind your own agenda. His Greatness cannot he denied.

  57. OldTime Football says:
    November 23, 2019 at 8:44 am

    KoolAidFree says:
    November 23, 2019 at 5:38 am
    Notice Bill didn’t say George Halas, and he didn’t even wanna mention Shula who I think is vastly overrated. Shula had the second greatest quarterback of the 1980s behind Joe Montana, and that quarterback set almost every NFL record there was at the time, and he couldn’t win one Superbowl? Yea some coach
    ———————-
    Super Bowl VIII. Dolphins over Vikings! Shula wins Super Bowl! There was football before you were born!
    =========================================================
    He was talking about not winning one with Marino as QB.

  58. Browns fan here. BB is the goat. But so classy to give props to Brown. Hated to see Belichick leave with browns when the rat left to Baltimore. Good for you Bill. You deserve it. One day I hope my browns come back.

  59. I was late for this party…Brown was the best until Otto Graham retired. He couldn’t find another QB since, giving up on HOFers YA Tittle, and Len Dawson. He could have had John Unitas but let him get away.

    Brown and his Brown’s should have won more Championships, but he gave away too many great players to other teams.

  60. Not disagreeing about Paul Brown. Just feel the need to add that when he was ready to give up coaching the Bengals, he chose Bill Johnson over Bill Walsh who was the Bengals offensive coordinator at the time. He then made efforts to prevent Walsh from coaching in the NFL again. Had he swallowed his pride, Walsh would have been the coach of the Bengals and you’d be calling it the Cincinnati offense instead of the West Coast offense because he invented it in Cincinnati. Worse, he then had a son named Mike and hired him to run the team.

    To be honest with you, other than bringing a team to Cincinnati, Paul Brown had done very little for the Bengals.

  61. @8oneanddones

    “Belichick is probably the greatest NFL historian.”
    ————

    Dick LeBeau was in the league for 59 years, he would probably be a better historian

  62. Dolphins fan here. BB is the greatest of all time! We hate to admit but records speak for himself. Wondered how many super bowl Marino, Manning, Brees, and Rodgers would have won if they had BB as their coach. How many Brady would have won if he was playing against BB defense?

  63. he chose Bill Johnson over Bill Walsh

    Imagine, Cleveland could have had Belichick and Cincinnati Walsh. Ohio might have dominated pro football for 40 years.

  64. And if you ask Shula who the greatest coach is, he’d say Paul Brown as well. Shula played for Brown in Cleveland and attributes all of his coaching success to him as well.

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