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Bill Walsh ranked 4th in John Clayton’s list of coaches who won Super Bowl

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Cue more controversy

ESPN’s John Clayton put a story out where he lists every coach who won a Super Bowl in relation to Bill Belichick. The parameters were simple: coaches who had won Super Bowls (not AFL or NFL titles), the impact on the sport the coach had, and Clayton also stated that regular season success was a factor.

Vince Lombardi ranks at number 1. A solid and understandable choice. Where things get interesting is number 2: none other than Bill Belichick followed by Chuck Noll and finally former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh. From there, the rankings continue to number 31, with other 49ers Super Bowl winning coach, George Seifert at 16, but let’s look at that Walsh ranking. Here’s what Clayton said about it:

Walsh changed the game. He established a West Coast offense that advanced the NFL from a running-oriented league in the 1970s into the start of a passing league that featured routes that were run like basketball plays. He was perhaps the smartest and most innovative coach in NFL history.

Ok, that’s a good assessment, but before Belichick and Noll?

Belichick’s numbers speak for themselves. He’s going to his seventh Super Bowl (as is his quarterback) and has been able to provide an answer on the field for anything thrown at him. On the flipside, with every Belichick compliment comes controversy. Spygate, deflategate, you name it. While they get swept under the rug after each outbreak, there’s no denying the shadiness to it all.

Walsh had his own share of controversy, the best known was when the microphones would go out if the 49ers received the kickoff. That said, Walsh also has an offense that he invented in Cincinnati that is now used in some way shape or form throughout the entire NFL, either in name, philosophy or concept. Former 49ers receiver Dwight Clark was shocked when Walsh would predict he’d be wide open after catching a ball, and quarterback Joe Montana has made examples of how Walsh could pinpoint how plays went bad.

Noll is an argument I’m not going to go into, but I think overall, innovation to the game should have been a factor in ranking coaches. We don’t know what the New England system is, since anyone who leaves the organization sans Bill O’Brien hasn’t seen much success outside of it. It may be a bit unfair to Walsh, who was reportedly running the show for much of his tenure in San Francisco, to be at number 4. But I’m just trying to stir up an argument.

What would you rank the 31 coaches at?