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I recently posted an article about NFL Head Coaching Trees ( http://www.armchairgm.com/NFL_Head_Coaching_Trees) chronicling the likes of Bill Walsh, Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson, but also shedding light on coaches like Bill Cowher who are gaining ground over time.
Teams look to successful organizations for future leaders of theirs and only the best are chosen. Coaches that develop coordinators that receive head coaching positions are coaches that leave an impact upon their staff and organization and also should be considered the top minds in the game.
Here are the top five when it comes to developing future leaders in the NFL
1. Mike Holmgren
- Mike Holmgren has developed more head coaches than any current head coach but in recent years former disciples such as Steve Mariucci, Ray Rhodes and Mike Sherman have left head coaching positions. In addition to Mariucci, Rhodes and Sherman, three current head coaches have come off of Holmgren's staffs. Holmgren has posted a .613 winning percentage winning Super Bowl XXXI and three NFC Championships. His teams have made the playoffs 12 out of the 16 years he has coached.
- Jon Gruden served as Wide Receivers Coach under Holmgren and has posted a .556 winning percentage between two NFL Franchises, winning Super Bowl XXXVII. His teams have made the post-season 5 out of the 10 years he has coached.
- Dick Jauron served as Defensive Backs Coach under Holmgren and led the 2001 Chicago Bears to a NFC Central Title.
- Another member of this list, Andy Reid served as Quarterbacks Coach under Holmgren and has posted a .611 winning percentage as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, losing Super Bowl XXXIX and reaching the NFC Championship Game four times. His teams have made the playoffs 6 out of the 9 years he has coached.
- Seattle Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn is being considered for the opening in Washington this off-season.
2. Tony Dungy
- A total of four current head coaches have come from his former staffs in Tampa Bay, equally 1/8 of the league. Dungy has posted a .661 winning percentage between two franchises and won Super Bowl XLI. The 2002 Tampa Bay World Champion team was largely one of his making. His teams have made the playoffs 10 out of the 12 years he has coached.
- Herm Edwards served as Defensive Backs Coach under Dungy has coached two NFL Franchises, making the playoffs four out of the seven years he's coached.
- Rod Marinelli served as Defensive Line Coach under Dungy and led the Detroit Lions to a four win improvement this season.
- Lovie Smith served as Linebackers Coach under Dungy and has posted a .563 winning percentage as Head Coach of the Chicago Bears, losing Super Bowl XLI to Dungy's Colts.
- Mike Tomlin served as Defensive Backs Coach under Dungy and posted a 10-6 record, winning the AFC North in his first year as Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Tampa Bay Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and Indianapolis Assistant Head Coach Jim Caldwell were both considered for Head Coaching openings this off-season.
3. Bill Belichick
- Belichick has developed two current NFL Head Coaches while posting a .611 winning percentage between two franchises and won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and are favorites to win XLII. He has posted a .711 winning percentage during his time as Head Coach of the New England Patriots, and his teams have made the playoffs 7 out of the 13 years he has coached.
- Romeo Crennel served as Defensive Coordinator for Belichick and led the Cleveland Browns to a 10-6 record this season, narrowly missing a wild card berth.
- Eric Mangini served as Offensive Coordinator for Belichick and led the New York Jets to a wild card berth last season.
- New England Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels was pursued for Head Coach openings but chose to remain in New England.
4. Andy Reid
- Reid has also developed two current NFL Head Coaches while posting a .611 winning percentage. Unlike Belichick however, Reid has lost three NFC Championships rather than winning three Super Bowls. The Philadelphia Eagles lost Super Bowl XXXIX to Belichick's Patriots but have reached the post-season 6 out of the 9 years Reid has coached. Reid served as Quarterbacks Coach under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay.
- Brad Childress served as Offensive Coordinator under Reid and led the Minnesota Vikings to an improved 8-8 record this year, narrowly missing a wild card berth.
- John Harbaugh served as Defensive Backs Coach under Reid and was recently hired as Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens.
- Former Eagles Linebackers Coach Steve Spagnuolo and Defensive Backs Coach Leslie Frazier are being considered for Head Coach openings this off-season.
5. Tom Coughlin
- Coughlin has developed two current NFL Head Coaches while posting a .536 winning percentage and has reached the post-season 7 out of the 12 years he has coached with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants. He has won four division titles between the two teams.
- Dick Jauron also served under Coughlin as Defensive Coordinator and led the 2001 Chicago Bears to a NFC Central Title.
- Tony Sparano served under Coughlin as Tight Ends Coach and was recently hired as Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins.
- New York Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is being considered for mulitple Head Coach openings this off-season.
Honorable Mention- Jim Fassel
- Fassel has been out of coaching since 2003 but is currently considered the front-runner for the Washington opening. Fassel posted a .523 winning percentage, reaching the Super Bowl, and making the playoffs 3 out of the 7 years he coached the New York Giants.
- John Fox served as Defensive Coordinator under Fassel and has posted a .531 winning percentage as Head Coach, leading the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
- Sean Payton served as Quarterbacks Coach under Fassel and has also posted a .531 winning percentage, leading the New Orleans Saints to the NFC South title last season.