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Sacco Sez: Where Mike Shanahan's run with the Broncos ranks among the coaching greats


With the recent passing of Don Shula, pro football has lost a great Hall of Fame coach at the age of 90.

Shula is the sport's all-time leader in wins, ahead of a pack that includes the legendary George Halas of Chicago.

Those who worked closely with Coach Shula every day bear testament to his greatness, character and total devotion to football and the National Football League.

But without taking anything away from his magnificent record, there have been many other great coaches, defined by wins, winning percentage or by a combination including longevity with one team.

I was doing some math relating to the Broncos' legendary coach Mike Shanahan, and I came up with some figures that look at things slightly differently and point out what Broncos Country has long felt — that Mike also is one of the greatest coaches of all time.

I came up with the initial figures myself, but reached out to the Elias Sports Bureau for confirmation.

Elias confirmed my figures and went a bit deeper, so what follows is another list, one that places Mike Shanahan fourth.

There is great nobility to being a long-time assistant, particularly with one team.

But there is nothing like being the head coach and winning the Super Bowl.

Multiple times.

So if you combine the two and look for the greatest ever, Mike is near the very top.

I looked at coaches with at least 200 wins with one franchise, combining those as head coach and assistant coach, with the caveat that the coach had to win two or more Super Bowls as head coach.

On that basis, here is the list.

  1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: 280 wins and six Super Bowl wins
  2. Don Shula, Miami Dolphins: 274 wins and two Super Bowl wins
  3. Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys: 270 victories and two Super Bowl titles
  4. Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos: 221 wins and two Super Bowls
  5. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers: 209 wins and four Super Bowls
  6. George Seifert, San Francisco 49ers: 208 wins and two Super Bowls

That is the total list of coaches who have at least 200 total victories with one franchise, including the playoffs, as head coach and assistant, as well as at least two Super Bowl wins as head coach.

And of course, Broncos fans are well aware that Shanahan's Super Bowl wins came back to back, and that his run included the distinction of going undefeated for a calendar year.

So when the press, fans and voters are discussing new coaches for entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, high on the discussion list should be Mike Shanahan, who made his mark in the Mile High City.

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