I've taken the liberty of applying an NFC North-centric focus to ESPN's cross-platform ranking of the top 20 coaches in NFL history, positioning it as a battle between George Halas (Chicago Bears) and Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers). Three members of the 22-person voting committee have now revealed their ballots, and Halas is atop two of them with Lombardi leading the other.
NFC West colleague Mike Sando joined analyst Herm Edwards in giving top honors to Halas, while columnist Rick Reilly named Lombardi No. 1 and Halas No. 5. (I was not a member of the committee, but am debating a post on the merits of Halas vs. Lombardi. Thoughts?)
Sando: Halas was a straightforward choice at No. 1 for me. He coached the Chicago Bears for 40 seasons, won six championships and had only six losing seasons. The Hall of Fame credits him as the first coach to use game films for preparation. Along with Ralph Jones, his coach from 1930 through 1932, and consultant Clark Shaughnessy, Halas perfected the T-formation attack with the man in motion," Halas' Hall of Fame bio reads. "It was this destructive force that propelled the Bears to their stunning 73-0 NFL title win over Washington in the 1940 NFL Championship Game and sent every other league team scurrying to copy the Halas system.
We've already noted that former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant checked in at No. 15. I've neglected to mention that former Packers coach Curly Lambeau has appeared on all three known ballots, a reasonable hint that he will be showing up at some point in the countdown. ESPN.com will continue daily reveals Friday and conclude June 11.