Ranking NFL coaches is a difficult proposition because so many X factors exist in the success and failure. Sometimes an average coach is in the right environment and he thrives and sometimes a good coach is in a toxic environment that even the best couldn’t dig their way out of. One thing is for sure, though, the better your head coach the higher the chance you’ll have at winning. Below is the current standings:
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
The Patriots’ run under Belichick is legendary in status and while ranking 32 coaches is difficult, agreeing on who is #1 is not. Belichick has been AP Coach of the Year 3 times, won 4 Super Bowls, and been to the playoffs 12 out of 15 seasons.
2. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Reid’s run in Philadelphia was a very good one but more impressive perhaps is how quickly he turned the Chiefs into a playoff team. Anytime you can be successful in multiple environments, you show your abilities will shine anywhere. Injuries bit the Chiefs last year but expect Reid to lead his troops to a rebound year.
3. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
It would be foolish to condemn both Payton and the Saints based on one bad season. The Saints rebounded from their post Bountygate season to make the playoffs and in 2009 they rebounded from 7-9 to win a Super Bowl. Payton is likely the best offensive mind in the game. His offense has been in the top 5 every year except for one since he coached the Saints and they were #1 in the NFL last season. He’s been AP coach of the year and led his team to the playoffs 5 times in 8 seasons.
4. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Any coach that survives the retirement of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to maintained success deserves credit. He’s been to the playoffs 6 times since 2008 and he has won a Super Bowl.
5. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Just when the Steelers looked like they might be falling apart we saw a big resurgence from Ben Roethlisberger last year in part thanks to the explosion of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Make no mistake, though, Tomlin plays a huge part in keeping this team competitive despite the big drop off defensively. He’s been to the playoffs 5 times with a Super Bowl title since 2007.
6. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
His player friendly style has worked wonders both at USC and in Seattle. While anyone could win with the talent he’s assembled he deserves a lot of credit for cultivating and maximizing those players. His run the last two years with two Super Bowl trips and one title has been dominant.
7. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
How he rebounded from cancer tells you all you need to know about his toughness. The Colts seem to be on the verge of really big things.
8. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams
Fisher is a fantastic coach that knows how to assemble a roster and get the most out of his players. His Achilles heel in St. Louis remains his inability to get consistent healthy quarterback play, though. Maybe Nick Foles can change that; and if he can the Rams are a team to take very seriously.
9. John Fox, Chicago Bears
Fox has had successful stops in Carolina and Denver. The Bears are elated to have someone of his quality and he should be able to turn things around quickly.
10. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
His improbable two Super Bowl title runs have kept him in New York much longer than anyone expected. He knows how to get his squad up for the most important games, that’s for sure.
11. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals were a Super Bowl contender before the injury of Carson Palmer. Arians has done a fantastic job there after being a very successful assistant coach for a long time. And he deserves that job based on how he filled in for Pagano in Indianapolis.
12. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
One could argue McCarthy has underachieved a little bit considering his quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. He’s still an excellent offensive mind, though, and there’s no question his 94-49-1 record speaks for itself.
13. Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions
He’s a disciplinarian that runs a tight ship and has Super Bowl experience with the Colts. His first season in Detroit was promising.
14. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
He catches some heat and he’s been fortunate to hang on to his job as long as he has but he is a premiere defensive coach. Unfortunately he’s never had enough talent to really take this team to the next level, but he’s still an above average coach.
15. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers defense has been dominant the last couple of years and Rivera has greatly benefited from a weak division. He’s been a gutsy coach that seems to have a great feel for the game.
16. Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
His turnarounds of both the Texans and Penn State are nothing short of remarkable. But can he compete at the top?
17. Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
The Charges have been ok under McCoy, but he’s been a bit of a disappointment and hasn’t really shown that he’s an upgrade over Norv Turner.
18. Rex Ryan, Buffalo Bills
Ryan is a good coach who had success in New York for a while despite poor quaterback play, but can he turn around a team in Buffalo with the same exact problems?
19. Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders
Will he able to succeed where it seems like everyone else fails? He’s got a good history as a defensive guy, but for this team to win Derek Carr will need to develop.
20. Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos
This is a good fit for a prolific offense. His stint in Houston was mediocre at best but he’ll be working with more talent.
21. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
The jury is still out on Kelly but he certainly seems to have blown up his roster. And as explosive and exciting as his style has been at times, the team still hasn’t won a playoff game in two seasons with him. A lot of talk without results. It’s hard to see the Eagles being better this year unless Sam Bradford can stay healthy and productive.
22. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Quinn is as solid as it comes in terms of coaching defense. The Falcons will need it as they were 32nd overall last season. We’ll see how he does as a head coach, though, there are a lot of unknowns.
23. Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns
A solid effort to get the Browns to 7-9 last year but with Hoyer gone it could be worse this year.
24. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Garrett has underachieved and like Romo he cannot get it done in the postseason.
25. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
He did an admirable job last season considering the Adrian Peterson situation. It remains to be seen if he’s the right man for that job, though.
26. Todd Bowles, New York Jets
He’s had a couple good years with elite talent as a defensive coordinator in Arizona. A lot of unknowns exist on how he’ll do as a head coach in a new environment, though.
27. Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
His credibility took a big shot as unbelievably the Bucs regressed last year. The future of his head coaching career now rests on the arm of Jameis Winston. I’d be nervous.
28. Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
He’s 23-25 since 2012 with no trips to the playoffs. He’s a mediocre coach for an average football team.
29. Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans
Last season was a disaster in Tennessee. He’ll be looking for a new job soon if results don’t improve.
30. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Not only was Gruden’s team a disaster on the field last season, there were issues off the field surrounding the management of RGIII. I’m not sure any coach could succeed in this environment.
31. Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers
Really have to question his qualifications here and based on the offseason he’s really set up to fail.
32. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
7-25 since 2013 speaks for itself, unfortunately.