ESPN's putting together a list of the top 20 NFL coaches of all time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vince Lombardi, and they're getting pretty far along. Yesterday they unveiled what their panel of 22 called the fourth greatest coach in history, and that happens to be Papa Bear, George Halas.
From ESPN's article announcing the selection (With a video):
When "Papa Bear" was done coaching for good after the 1967 season, his 324 total victories were far and away the most in history. That record stood for 27 years until Don Shula surpassed it in 1993. It's safe to say Halas' mark of 40 seasons as a head coach, seven more than anybody else, will never be broken. Under Halas' coaching, the Bears finished with a losing record the same number of times they won a championship -- six. And throughout his coaching tenure, he was one of the most influential owners as the league evolved from its humble beginnings.
And go ahead and read Mike Ditka's story at the bottom. You'll thank yourself.
They also put together a pretty nice pictorial of Halas' coaching tree, which you'll find right over here - it includes both Dick Vermiel, Marv Levy and Gregg Williams.
The only qualms I have about this selection is... Only fourth? You almost have to think they put Lombardi first, and they've already released Don Shula as third. (And Belichick was already released as 8th.)