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Belichick fourth-fastest to join 200-win club

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By Kevin Fishbain

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick couldn’t really ask for a better way to earn his 200th career victory. On Thanksgiving night, the Pats crushed their rival Jets 49-19, thanks in part thanks to a 35-point second quarter.

New England has won five in a row and is en route to another AFC East division title and its 10th consecutive season with double-digit wins. The sustained success in Foxborough has helped Belichick became the fourth-fastest coach to reach 200 career wins, doing it in 307 games.

“It’s been a privilege and a great opportunity to coach the players that won those games. I never made a block, didn’t make a tackle, didn’t throw a pass, didn’t kick a ball, the players won them,” Belichick told reporters after the game. “It’s a privilege to coach this team for Mr. (Robert) Kraft, the Kraft family, the Patriots’ organization, and the players that are on it. It’s nice, but it’s really more of a reflection of what the players have done.”

Here is a look at the coaches who have reached 200 career wins (including playoffs) the fastest:

1. Don Shula / 286 games — Shula coached in 526 career games, also an all-time high, and he moved quickly to his 200 wins. Shula, who won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1972-73, did not have a losing season until 1976 after beginning his career with the Baltimore Colts in 1963. He reached his 200th win halfway through the 1981 NFL season, and went on to coach for 17 more seasons on his way to the all-time wins record of 347.

2. George Halas / 287 games — “Papa Bear” didn’t lose many games in his career (151, including playoffs), and if the NFL’s regular season was longer than 12 games, he certainly would have reached the 200-win total quicker. Halas coached until 1967, finishing with 324 career wins in 40 seasons.

3. Curly Lambeau / 300 games — The all-time great Packers coach won six NFL championships in his 33 seasons as a head coach, a career that began in 1921. He notched his 200th win in the 1946 season, when the Packers went 6-5. He would have only one other winning record (1947) until his final season, when he went 6-5-1 with the Redskins in 1953.

4. Bill Belichick / 307 games — Belichick had only one winning season with the Browns in his first head-coaching stint, going 11-5 in 1994, but leaving Cleveland with a record of 37-45. He has not had a losing season with the Patriots since a 5-11 mark in his first year in 2000, winning 16 playoff games and three Super Bowls.

5. Tom Landry / 325 games — Landry, who won two Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys, had a winning record every season from 1966-85, reaching 10 regular-season victories in every campaign but four over that span. Landry had quite the coaching career, considering it started with an 0-11-1 campaign in 1960. He reached the 200-win mark in 1980. Landry coached for eight more seasons, finishing his career with 270 wins.

6. Marty Schottenheimer / 339 games — In his last NFL season, Schottenheimer got to 200 wins when the Chargers posted a 14-2 mark but lost their first playoff game. Schottenheimer hasn’t been in the NFL since that 2006 season, and better playoff success certainly would have gotten him to 200 wins faster — he has a 5-13 playoff record. Schottenheimer had only two losing seasons in his NFL head-coaching career and has 205 career wins.

7. Chuck Noll / 347 games — A four-time Super Bowl champion, Noll, who coached in 366 games, began his head-coaching career with a forgettable 1-13 season in Pittsburgh, but after going 11-3 in 1972, Noll did not record another losing season until 1985. In 1990, Noll got to 200 wins, and coached one more season, going 7-9 in ’91. He had a 16-8 playoff record.

8. Dan Reeves / 373 games — Reeves reached four Super Bowls, though he never left with a ring. He had sustained success in his career, though, with the Broncos, Giants and Falcons. With three games left in the 2003 season, Reeves was fired from his post in Atlanta, just a few weeks after he got his 200th win, a 27-7 victory over the Giants. Reeves’ 201 wins has him seventh all-time, though that ranking won’t last long with Belichick soon to move past him.

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