ESPN is counting down the top 20 NFL coaches of all time in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vince Lombardi (June 11). Mike Shanahan made the list at No. 19.

Shanahan’s crowning achievement, and the one that is primarily responsible for him being on this list, is winning back to back Super Bowls as the head coach of the Broncos. Denver took the title on Super Bowls XXXII (1997 season) and XXXIII (1998).

At the time, he became the fifth head coach in the first 33 years of the Super Bowl to take back-to-back titles. What was a relatively commonplace occurrence has become quite rare. In the 14 seasons since Shanahan’s double, only Bill Belichick has managed to repeat.

Since then, Shanahan has been unable to win another ring. His Broncos got as far as the AFC title game just once in his last 10 seasons in Denver. One of the reasons cited for the lack of ultimate success is that Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway retired after the second title. One of the frequent criticisms of Shanahan is that he never won a Super Bowl without Elway, one of the best quarterbacks who ever played the game.

That is true, of course. But it also should be noted that as great as Elway was he never was able to win it all until Shanahan was his head coach. Shanahan brought in Terrell Davis and the Broncos’ effective running game helped push Elway and the rest of the team over the top.

Shanahan still has a chance to add to his legacy with Robert Griffin III as his quarterback. It is widely believed that if Shanahan can add another ring with Griffin he will wind up with a bronze bust in the Hall of Fame. We will see if he can pull it off.