A general manager of a football team typically controls player transactions and represents the players in contract discussions.
They are ultimately responsible for making the team which is pivotal in deciding NFL lines. General managers are also responsible for hiring and firing coaching staff.
Below we outline 10 of the most famous general managers to have graced the NFL scene.
Davis was the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders for 39 years. The Raiders became huge under his management, especially in the 70s and 80s. In total, they won 3 Super Bowls under his management.
He is the only executive in the history of the NFL to have been an assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, and owner.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Belichick was technically a head coach rather than a general manager, but he held all the responsibilities of one.
He led the New York Giants as a defensive coordinator to 2 Super Bowl wins and then got a further 6 wins as the general manager for the New York Giants later in his career.
He is considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history and is the longest-tenured active head coach. He won the AP NFL Coach of the Year 4 times during his career.
Polian was the general manager for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1992. There he led the team to participate in 4 straight Super Bowls.
He later went on to be the general manager and team president of the Indianapolis Colts and was responsible for the 1998 draft of Peyton Manning.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015 and won NFL Executive of the Year 6 times in his career.
Beathard was the general manager of the Washinton Redskins from 1978 to 1988 and then the San Diego Chargers from 1990 to 2000. During his career, he was a part of teams that went to the Super Bowl 7 times and won 4.
He led the Redskins to 2 Super Bowl wins and the Chargers’ first division title in more than a decade.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
Young was the general manager of the New York Giants from 1979 to 1997 and won the NFL Executive of the Year award a record 5 times.
As a general manager, he put focus on the drafting process and led the Giants to 2 Super Bowl wins.
He had more success in the 80s than in the 90s due to his opposition to free agency. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
Jones was the owner, president, and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys since 1989.
He was the face of the team and built one of the best teams of the 90s.
In total, he led the team to 3 Super Bowl victories and won NFL Executive of the Year in 2014.
He was considered somewhat controversial for immediately firing Tex Schramm (see later in this list) and Tom Landry as soon as he bought the Cowboys.
Finks was the general manager for the Calgary Stampeders in 1957 before transferring to the NFL.
He became the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings in 1964 and led them to their first NFL Central Division Championship 4 years later. He managed to create a powerful defensive line in the team.
Later, he would use the same techniques to manage the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Newsome previously played for the Cleveland Browns from 1979 to 1990 and is seen as one of the greatest tight ends of all time.
He was honored with 3 Pro Bowls and was named to an All-Pro team 6 times.
In 1999 he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 2002 he would become the first general manager for the Baltimore Ravens and would see the team win 2 Super Bowls.
Wolf was the general manager for the Green Bay Packers from 1991 to 2000 and is credited for most of their success as they saw little in the previous 2 decades.
He saw them win 3 Super Bowls and would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Schramm was the original president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1989. He is responsible for hiring Tom Landry.
The Cowboys won the most games of any team in the 1970s and won 20 consecutive seasons.
The team began to be known as ‘America’s Team’ and would go on to see 5 Super Bowls and win 2 of them.
Schramm would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
Each of these general managers managed to put their team on the map and allow them show their full potential.