Where Does Bud Grant Rank All-Time?

Apparently the folks from ESPN are going to start doing a countdown on their website of the twenty greatest coaches in the history of the National Football League. They will also be putting together an accompanying television series about the topic. The countdown on the website kicks off tomorrow with #20, while the television series will start on 4 June at 6 PM Central time.

Rick Reilly, formerly of Sports Illustrated and now of ESPN.com, has put together his own countdown of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and places Minnesota Vikings legend Bud Grant at #11.

The Norse God. He looked like the guy Hollywood hires to play a football coach. Always wore the expression of an Easter Island statue, even as Gary Cuozzo or Joe Kapp was fumbling away another Super Bowl. Maybe if he could've relaxed the rules a little on his players, like Chuck Noll, he would've won one of those four Super Bowls. Wasn't going to happen.

Well, I don't know if relaxing the rules on his players would have done any good. . .how many of those four Super Bowls would the team have even made if he had relaxed them? We'll never know either way.

There are many people that discount Grant's accomplishments as a head coach simply because he never won a Super Bowl. Those people tend to be really ignorant and stupid, and possess very little actual football knowledge. The facts are that the Vikings won nearly two-thirds of their games with Grant on the sideline, and they won 11 divisional championships in 18 seasons. They also brought home one National Football League championship and three National Football Conference championships.

The coaches that Reilly places Grant ahead of are the following:

20) Dan Reeves
19) Ray Flaherty
18) Tom Coughlin
17) Marv Levy
16) Hank Stram
15) George Allen
14) Jimmy Johnson
13) Sid Gillman
12) Curly Lambeau

The coaches ahead of Grant on the list are. . .

10) John Madden
9) Chuck Noll
8) Bill Walsh
7) Don Shula
6) Tom Landry
5) George Halas
4) Bill Belichick
3) Paul Brown
2) Joe Gibbs
1) Vince Lombardi

And, you know. . .as much as I'd love to do it, I'm really not sure if I could move Bud Grant ahead of any of the guys that are on the list ahead of him. Madden has the highest winning percentage for a coach in the Super Bowl era (.763, which is ridiculous), and all ten of those guys are legendary.

I think Bud Grant is at just about the right spot on Rick Reilly's list. It will be interesting to see how the actual list from ESPN compares to Reilly's. Since it is ESPN, I wouldn't be surprised to see them leave Grant off completely, but maybe they'll find a way to sneak him in there.

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