The National Football League is the highest level of professional football in the United States, and the NFL season is one of the most popular and anticipated sporting events in the United States.Here we discuss oldest coaches in NFL.
NFL coaches are getting younger with each passing season, but there are some who stay on the job past the typical retirement age. Some of them even returned 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 have made seminal contributions to many aspects of today’s game.
In the information listed for each coach, we focus only on those coaches’ NFL careers. Many of them have been training overall for much longer than specified.
This list is as accurate as possible as of August 2023 and will be updated as necessary.
Bruce Arians (October 3, 1952 – Present)
Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years in 2021
Years Active: 1989 – 1992; 1996; 1998 – 2017; 2019 – 2021 (25 years)
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 – 2021)
He coached professional football for more than 45 years, alternating between coaching college and NFL teams. Arians has coached exclusively in the NFL since 1998. Arians briefly retired after the 2017 season but agreed to a four-year contract to come back and become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019.
While Arians had a lengthy career in the NFL, his record was mixed. However, Arians won two Super Bowls as an assistant coach.
In March 2022, Arians announced his resignation as head coach of the Buccaneers. Arians now serves as the team’s senior football advisor.
Did you know?
Bruce Arians is known for his iconic slogan, “No Risk, No Cookie,” which encourages aggressive play and risk-taking.
Dick Vermeil (October 30, 1936 to present)
1- Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years old in 2005
2- Years Active: 1969 – 2005 (36 years)
Los Angeles Rams (1969, 1971-1973, 1997-1999); Philadelphia Eagles (1976–1982); and Kansas City Chiefs (2001–2005)
Dick Vermeil has coached at every level from high school to the major leagues and won Coach of the Year awards at each level. In the NFL, every team Vermeer faced had experienced a losing streak before joining him, and he led each of those teams to the playoffs.
Vermeer is known for his strong support of the team, both players and staff, as well as his emotional speeches and appearances in interviews and press conferences. While coaching various teams, Vermeer also served as a sportscaster for CBS and ABC.
Did you know?
Vermeer also holds the unofficial record title of an oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. Vermeer, who was 63 at the time, won two Super Bowls during his career.
Tom Coughlin (August 31, 1946 – Present)
1- Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years old in 2015
2- Years Active: 1984 – 2002; 2004 – 2015 (28 years)
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 Coughlin retired from coaching in 2015 but currently serves as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations. Known for his meticulousness, attention to detail and strict discipline, Coughlin earned the nickname “Colonel Coughlin” due to his strictness as a coach.
Coughlin won two Super Bowls and was awarded the New York Giants Ring of Honor. Outside of football, Coughlin is also a philanthropist. In 1996, he founded the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, referred to as the Jay Fund, which is dedicated to providing support to families whose children have cancer. As of 2017, they have helped more than 4,000 families.
Did you know?
Tom Coughlin has been the head coach for 20 of his 28 years.
Bill Belichick (April 16, 1952 – Present)
1 – Oldest Age While Coaching: 69 years, 11 months, 29 days (as of April 2022)
2 – Years Active: 1975 – Present (47 years)
3 – 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 Belichick has had an unusually long career as an NFL coach and will be entering his 48th season when the 2023 season begins. Belichick has been the head coach of the New England Patriots for more than 20 years, and his name has become synonymous with the franchise for a record number of years.
As head coach of the Patriots, Belichick led the team to a record six Super Bowl victories. Belichick is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history due to his impressive coaching record.
Did you know?
Bill Belichick is the longest-tenured active head coach in the NFL. He also holds the postseason record with 31 wins as a coach.
Gunther Cunningham (June 19, 1946 – May 11, 2019)
Maximum age during training: 70 years old in 2016
Years active: 1982 – 2016 (34 years)
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (1982–1984), St. Louis
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 Cunningham spent most of his NFL coaching career as an assistant coach, special teams coach or defensive coordinator. Cunningham briefly served as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
Cunningham began his career as a college football coach before moving to the Canadian Football League and joining the NFL in 1982. After 34 years in various coaching roles with various teams, Cunningham announced his retirement from the league. Cunningham left the NFL to serve as director of football oversight at analytics site Pro Football Focus.
Did you know?
Statistically speaking, Gunther Cunningham was not a very good coach, regularly finishing at the bottom of the league for most of his career.
Pete Carroll (September 15, 1951-present)
Maximum age while training: 70 years, 6 months and 30 days (as of April 2022)
Active years: 1984-1999; 2010 – present (27 years)
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)
After leaving the NFL and coaching college football for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans for nearly a decade, Pete Carroll returned to the NFL in 2010 as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll, 70, is the oldest active coach in the NFL, with his coaching career dating back to 1973.
During his time as head coach of the Seahawks, Carroll led the team to two Super Bowl championships, four NFC West titles and six playoff titles. One of Carroll’s biggest accomplishments as Seahawks head coach came in the 2014 Super Bowl, when his team defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8. Carroll won seven consecutive Pac-10 championships (2002-08) and two national championships (2003-04) while coaching at USC, leading 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 a national college football championship.
Al Saunders (February 1, 1947-present)
Maximum age during training: 71 years old in 2018
Years active: 1983 – 2018 (36 years)
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)
Until recently, Al Sanders served as a senior offensive assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns. However, after Freddie Kitchens took over as head coach on January 12, 2019, it was announced that Sanders would not return. Al Sanders named the Browns’ interim head coach during the 2018 regular season before Kitchens was name head coach.
Sanders was name the NFL’s Offensive Coach of the Year in 2005 and helped develop two of the best and most recognized receiving corps in NFL history in the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers. Sanders has won one Super Bowl and five division titles.
Did you know?
Al Saunders was born in London and is the grandnephew of Ron Saunders, who played in the English Football League.
Marv Levy (August 3, 1925 to present)
1-Oldest age during training: 72 years old in 1997
2-Years active: 1969 – 1997 (28 years)
Philadelphia Eagles (1969); Los Angeles Rams (1970); Washington Redskins (1971-1972); Kansas City Chiefs (1978–1982); and Buffalo Bills (1986-1997)
Marvin Daniel Levy’s coaching career began in 1951 when he began coaching college football and basketball. Levy started coaching professional football as a special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and worked his way up through the ranks over time. Levy coached for several seasons in the NFL and Canadian Football League while working with various NFL teams.
Although he never won an NFL championship, he won four consecutive AFC titles and was named NFL Coach of the Year once by The Sporting News and twice as UPI NFL Coach of the Year. In 2011, Levi was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Did you know?
Marv Levy is known for creating the famous “K-Gun” offense under Jim Kelly.
George Halas (February 2, 1895 – October 31, 1983)
1- Oldest age while training: 72 years old in 1967
2- Years active: 1920 – 1967 (47 years)
Chicago Bears (formerly Decatur Staley/Chicago Staley)
George Halas, affectionately known as “Papa Bear,” is one of the NFL’s most legendary figures. Halas was one of the founders of the NFL and one of the founders and owners of the Chicago Bears, a team for which he played as a youth. Under Halas, the Bears became the first NFL team to practice every day and analyze opponent tape.
Halas has eight NFL titles (six as a head coach, officially the most won) and has 324 total wins, which ranks second in NFL history. Halas was one of the first people inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, retiring at the age of 72, and Halas held the record as the NFL’s oldest coach for more than 50 years; however, that record was removed in 2020 Romeo Crennel breaks.
Did you know?
George Halas made many contributions to the league, including the invention of the T-formation, the use of tarps on the field and the assistant coaches’ press box, and the idea of sharing revenue among teams.
Romeo Crennel (June 18, 1947-present)
1- Maximum age at training: 73 in 2020
2- Years active: 1981 – 2020 (39 years)
New York Giants (1981 – 1989, 1990 -1992); New England Patriots (1993 – 1996, 2001 – 2004); New York Jets (1997 – 1999); Cleveland Cavaliers (2000, 2005 – 2008); Kansas City Chiefs (2010 – 2012); Houston Texans (2014 – 2020)
On October 5, 2020, Romeo Crennel made history when he was appointed as the interim head coach of the Houston Texans; Crennel became the oldest head coach in NFL history at the age of 73, beating George ·The record held by Halas at 53 years old. Crennel held various coaching positions with the Houston Texans starting in 2014 before being named interim head coach. Although Crennel has not officially announced his retirement, his contract with the Texans has not been renewed as of this writing.
Clennell played baseball and football as a child and later played college football at Western Kentucky University. While earning his master’s degree in college, Clennell became the school’s defensive line coach in 1970. Clennell first became an NFL coach in 1981 as the special teams coach for the New York Giants.
Did you know?
Romeo Crennel had five Super Bowl wins as an assistant coach, two with the New York Giants and three with the New England Patriots.
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