11 Oldest Coaches In NFL (Updated 2020)

Spread the love

The National Football League is the highest level of pro American football, and the NFL season is one of the most beloved and anticipated sporting events in the United States. With every passing season, the coaches in the NFL get younger and younger, but there are some coaches who stuck around well past the usual retiring years. Some of them even came back to the NFL for a few years after retiring. With such long careers, many of the coaches on this list are some of the best in NFL history and are responsible for pioneering many aspects of today’s game.

Note: In the listed information for each coach, we only focused on these coaches’ careers within the NFL. Many of them have been coaching overall for much longer than stated.

As of March 2020, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

11. Joe Gibbs (November 25, 1940 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 67 years old in 2007
Years Active:  1973 – 2002; 2004 – 2007 (32 years)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (1973–1977); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978); San Diego Chargers (1979–1980); and Washington Redskins (1981–1992), (2004 –2007)

Joe Gibbsphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Keith Allison

Despite making our list for oldest NFL coaches, Joe Gibbs was actually one of the youngest coaches in the NFL when he first took on the position of the Washington Redskin’s head coach. Gibbs is best known for his time spent with the Redskins, during which they made eight playoffs, four NFC titles, and three Super Bowl titles.

Gibbs is responsible for creating an era of football dubbed by Steve Sabol as the most diverse dynasty in NFL history. Known for his strong work ethic and tendency to work long, hard hours, Gibbs is credited as being the pioneer of the single back, double or triple tight end set.

Did You Know?

After retiring from coaching football, Joe Gibbs went on to own an NHRA drag racing team and then a highly successful NASCAR racing team, Joe Gibbs Racing, which has taken the championship title in four Sprint Cups.


10. Paul Brown (September 7, 1908 – August 5, 1991)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 67 years old in 1975
Years Active:  1946 – 1975 (29 years)
Teams: Cleveland Browns (1946–1962), Cincinnati Bengals (1968–1975)

Paul Brownphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Paul Brown coached across different levels before he arrived at the NFL, where he founded the Cleveland Browns. Brown would later also be one of the co-founders of the Cincinnati Bengals. As a coach, Brown was known for being strict and controlling, but also for being one of the key icons in modern football.

Brown played an instrumental role in pioneering plenty of football tactics, including the modern face mask, the draw play, and the taxi squad. Additionally, Brown was the first coach in NFL history to routinely test his players on their playbook knowledge, hire full-time staff, and scout opponents using game footage. Brown also brought some of the first African American football players into his teams, helping break down the race barriers in sports.

Did You Know?

Paul Brown took home the NFL championship three times and was named UPI NFL Coach of the Year three times, AP NFL Coach of the Year twice, and Sporting News coach of the year three times.


9. Bruce Arians (October 3, 1952 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 67 years old in 2019 (will be turning 68 during the 2020 season)
Years Active:  1989 – 1992; 1996; 1998 – 2017; 2019 – Present (25 years)
Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (1989 – 1992); New Orleans Saints (1996); Indianapolis Colts (1998 – 2000; 2012); Cleveland Browns (2001 – 2003); Pittsburgh Steelers (2004 – 2011); Arizona Cardinals (2013 – 2017); and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019 – Present)

Bruce Ariansphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Bruce Arians has been a professional football coach for over 45 years, but has switched between coaching college teams and NFL teams. Since 1998, Arians has been solely coaching in the NFL. Arians did briefly retire following the 2017 season, but agreed to terms on a 4-year contract to come out of retirement and became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019.

Despite his fairly long NFL career, Arians record has been uneven. However, as an assistant coach, Arians won two Super Bowls.

Did You Know?

Bruce Arians is known for his trademark slogan “No risk-it, no biscuit,” which encourages aggressive play and risk-taking.


8. Bill Belichick (April 16, 1952 – Present

Oldest Age While Coaching: 67 years old in 2019 (will be turning 68 before 2020 season)
Years Active:  1975 – Present (45 years)
Teams: Baltimore Colts (1975); Detroit Lions (1976 – 1977); Denver Broncos (1978); New York Giants (1979 – 1990); Cleveland Browns (1991 – 1995); New York Jets (1997 – 1999); and New England Patriots (1996; 2000 – Present)

Bill Belichickphoto source: Navy Live via Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rawad Madana

Bill Belichick has had an exceptionally long career as an NFL coach and will be entering into his 46th season when the 2020 season begins. Belichick has been head coach of the New England Patriots for over 20 years and his name has now become synonymous with the record setting team.

As Patriots head coach, Belichick has led the the team to a record six Super Bowl wins. Due to his impressive coaching record, Belichick is widely considered to be one of  the greatest coaches in NFL history.

Did You Know?

Bill Belichick is the longest-tenured active head coach in the NFL. He also has the record for playoff coaching wins with 31.


7. Pete Carroll (September 15, 1951 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 68 years old in 2019 (will be turning 69 during 2020 season)
Years Active:  1984 – 1999; 2010 – Present (25 years)
Teams: Buffalo Bills (1984); Minnesota Vikings (1985 – 1989); New York Jets (1990 – 1994); San Francisco 49ers (1995 – 1996); New England Patriots (1997 – 1999); and Seattle Seahawks (2010 – Present)

Pete Carrollphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Mike Morris

After leaving the NFL for nearly a decade to coach college football for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans, Pete Carroll returned to the NFL in 2010 as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. At 67 years old, Carroll is currently the oldest active coach in the NFL and his coaching career stretches all the way back to 1973.

During his time as head coach for the Seahawks, Carroll has led his team to two Super Bowls, four NFC West division titles, and six playoffs. One of Carroll’s greatest achievements as the Seahawks’ head coach came during the 2014 Super Bowl when his team had a 43 – 8 victory over the Denver Broncos. While Carroll was coaching for USC, he won seven consecutive Pac-10 titles (2002-08) and two national championships (2003-04), and led the Trojans to a 97-19 record.

Did You Know?

Pete Carroll is one of only three coaches in football history to win a Super Bowl and college football national championship.


6. Dick Vermeil (October 30, 1936 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years old in 2005
Years Active:  1969 – 2005 (36 years)
Teams: Los Angeles Rams (1969, 1971-1973, 1997-1999); Philadelphia Eagles (1976–1982); and Kansas City Chiefs (2001–2005)

Dick Vermeilphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via hshark

Dick Vermeil coached at every level from high school to the big leagues, and he won “Coach of the Year” awards for each of these levels. In the NFL, each team that Vermeil took on had a losing streak before going under his wing, and he coached them all to the playoffs.

Vermeil is known for being highly supportive of his team, both players and staff, and for his emotional speeches and appearances at interviews and press conferences. In between coaching different teams, Vermeil worked as a sports announcer for CBS and ABC.

Did You Know?

Vermeil has also earned the unofficial record breaking title of the oldest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. He was 63 at the time, and over the course of his career, Vermeil accumulated two Super Bowl wins.


5. Tom Coughlin (August 31, 1946 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years old in 2015
Years Active:  1984 – 2002; 2004 – 2015 (28 years)
Teams: Philadelphia Eagles (1984–1985); Green Bay Packers (1986–1987); New York Giants (1988–1990); Jacksonville Jaguars (1995–2002); and New York Giants (2004–2015)

Tom Coughlinphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Sgt. Mikki Sprenkle

Tom Coughlin retired from coaching in 2015, but is currently the Jacksonville Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations. Known for being very meticulous and detail-oriented as well as a strict disciplinarian, Coughlin was given the nickname Colonel Coughlin due to his rigidness as a coach.

Coughlin has won two Super Bowl championships and has been awarded the New York Giants Ring of Honor. Outside of football, Coughlin is a charitable man. In 1996, he founded the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, known more commonly as the Jay Fund, which is dedicated to providing support to families whose children have cancer. As of 2017, they have helped over 4,000 families.

Did You Know?

Tom Coughlin spent 20 of his 28 years coaching as a head coach.


4. Gunther Cunningham (June 19, 1946 – May 11, 2019)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 70 years old in 2016
Years Active:  1982 – 2016 (34 years)
Teams: Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (1982–1984), San Diego Chargers (1985–1990), Los Angeles Raiders (1991-1994), Kansas City Chiefs (1995–2000, 2004-2008), Tennessee Titans (2001–2003) Detroit Lions (2009 –2016)

Gunther Cunninghamphoto source: prideofdetroit.com

Gunther Cunningham spent most of his coaching career in the NFL as an assistant coach, a special teams coach, or a defensive coordinator. Cunningham did briefly serve as a head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs during 1999 and 2000 seasons.

Cunningham began his career as a college football coach and then moved on to the Canadian Football League before he joined the NFL in 1982. After 34 years working various coaching jobs for different teams, Cunningham announced that he was retiring from the league. Cunningham left the NFL to work for the analytics-based website Pro Football Focus as its director of football oversight.

Did You Know?

Statistically, Gunther Cunningham was not a very good coach and often ranked at the bottom of the league for most of his career.


3. Al Saunders (February 1, 1947 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 71 years old in 2018
Years Active:  1983 – 2018 (36 years)
Teams: San Diego Chargers (1983 – 1988); Kansas City Chiefs (1986–1998, 2001-2005); St. Louis Rams (1999–2000, 2008); Washington Redskins (2006–2007); Baltimore Ravens (2009–2010); Oakland Raiders (2011-2014); Miami Dolphins (2015); and Cleveland Browns (2016–2018)

Al Saundersphoto source: Fox News

Until very recently, Al Saunders was working as the senior offensive assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns. However, after Freddie Kitchens took over as head coach on January 12, 2019, it was announced that Saunders would not be returning. Before Kitchens was named head coach, Saunders was appointed as the interim head coach for the Browns during the 2018 regular season.

Saunders was named the NFL Offensive Coach of the Year in 2005 and helped develop two of the most renowned and best receiving corps in the history of the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers. Saunders has one Super Bowl championship to his name and five division titles.

Did You Know?

Al Saunders, who was born in London, is the great-nephew of Ron Saunders, who played for the English Football League.


2. Marv Levy (August 3, 1925 – Present)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 72 years old in 1997
Years Active:  1969 – 1997 (28 years)
Teams: Philadelphia Eagles (1969); Los Angeles Rams (1970); Washington Redskins (1971–1972); Kansas City Chiefs (1978–1982); and Buffalo Bills (1986–1997)

Marv Levyphoto source: celebritynetworthwiki.org

Marvin Daniel Levy’s coaching career began in 1951 when he began coaching college football and basketball. Levy began coaching professional football as a special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, gradually rising in rank as time went on. Between working with different teams in the NFL, Levy spent some seasons coaching in the United States Football League and the Canadian Football League.

Although he has never won an NFL championship, he has four consecutive AFC Championship titles to his name and has been named Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year once and UPI NFL Coach of the Year twice. Levy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

Did You Know?

Marv Levy is known for his creation of the famous no-huddle offense known as the Jim Kelly-led K-Gun.


1. George Halas (February 2, 1895 – October 31, 1983)

Oldest Age While Coaching: 72 years old in 1967
Years Active:  1920 – 1967 (47 years)
Teams: Chicago Bears (formerly Decatur Staleys/Chicago Staleys)

George Halasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Fondly nicknamed “Papa Bear”, George Halas is one of the most legendary figures in the NFL. Halas was one of the NFL’s founders and also one of the founders and owners of the Chicago Bears, a team that he played for in his youth. Under Halas, the Bears became the first team in the NFL to have daily practice and to analyze film of their opponents.

Halas has eight NFL championship titles to his name – six championships as a head coach, officially the most held – and a whopping 324 total wins, the second highest in all of NFL history. Halas was one of the first inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and retired at 72 years of age, making Halas the oldest coach ever in the NFL.

Did You Know?

George Halas provided a number of contributions to the league, including the invention of the T-Formation, the usage of tarp on the fields and press boxes for assistant coaches, and the idea of shared revenue between teams.


Spread the love

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *