Every team finally has a head coach, so what better time to rank all 32 teams’ skippers? Last year, Bill Belichick was voted a unanimous No. 1 by the Metro sports staff. This year, finally, he’s been unseated by Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson.
The editors of Metro’s three papers dish on the results of this year’s survey. The rankings are as follows:
1. Doug Pederson, Eagles (Last year 24)
Evan Macy, Metro Philadelphia Sports Editor: Big balls Doug should have been NFL coach of the year. He overcame a bevy of huge injuries to key players (Carson Wentz, Jason Peters and more). He also beat Bill Belichick by going for it twice on fourth down — including the now legendary “Philly Special” pass to Nick Foles on fourth and goal at the 2. His job security is now without question and he’s gone from unqualified to Super Bowl champion in two years.
Matt Burke, Metro Boston Sports Editor: For the record, “Philly Special” was an illegal formation. Nonetheless Doug deserves No. 1.
2. Bill Belichick, Patriots (last year 1)
Burke: Pederson outcoached Belichick in the Super Bowl. But let’s be real – Opening Day 2018 every GM in the NFL would rather have Belichick leading their team than a guy with two years experience as an HC.
3. Sean McVay, Rams (Last year 30)
Macy: I am sore about this because he didn’t deserve coach of the year over Pederson, but he did do a hell of a job turning around the Rams.
4. Doug Marrone, Jaguars (last year 25)
Burke: Marrone is one of the more underrated head coaches in the game. His stint in Buffalo was solid, and he nearly beat the Patriots in Foxboro with Blake Friggin’ Bortles.
5. Mike Zimmer, Vikings (last year 17)
Macy: He reminds me of Pederson, coaching a team that wasn’t expected to be this good this fast that overcame injury issues..
6. Pete Carroll, Seahawks (last year 5)
Joe Pantorno, Metro New York Sports Editor: Injuries didn’t make 2017 any easier for the Seahawks. But Carroll is the kind of coach that any player will go to war for. With a healthy roster next year, Seattle will be back near the top of the NFC again.
7. Sean Payton, Saints (last year 14)
Macy: He has Brees coming back and two of the best running backs in the country — I expect New Orleans to be among the NFC’s best again.
8.Mike McCarthy, Packers (last year 4)
Macy: I don’t know how I feel about McCarthy. He is great with Rodgers healthy and awful without him. But he has won a Super Bowl. Is he a good coach?
9. Ron Rivera, Panthers (last year 15)
Burke: The Panthers were a play away from beating the Saints. The Saints were a play away from beating the Vikings. Carolina is not that far away from true contention.
10. Mike Tomlin, Steelers (last year 2)
Burke: Tomlin flat-out cost his team wins over New England in December and Jacksonville in January. He had the better talent in both games, and couldn’t get it done.
11. Dan Quinn, Falcons (last year 3)
Macy: Props to Quinn for somewhat recovering from the worst loss in NFL history in Super Bowl LI last winter.
12. Anthony Lynn, Chargers (last year 31)
Macy: Lynn’s team played in a difficult conference last season but had a chance at a playoff spot. He’ll need to get one to save his job next season.
13. Andy Reid, Chiefs (last year 7)
Macy: I expected better things from Reid last season. He had all the tools for a contender in the AFC but for whatever reason things fell apart down the stretch. He will always be a good coach, but I’m not sure he’ll ever be great.
14. Todd Bowles, Jets (last year 27)
Macy: I am confused. He is a top 15 coach? What has he ever done? Most of the other guys (Lynn the exception) have made playoff runs or won Super Bowls. Love that he’s from Temple but #Overrated.
Pantorno: This guy was able to get a roster filled with no-names that were destined to win a game or two at most and go 5-11. His players bought into his system and he was able to get the most out of close to nothing.
Burke: Bowles took the Jets from 4-12 in 2014 to 10-6 in his first season in New York. This past August, every NFL pundit out there predicted the Jets would have the worst record in the league after dumping nearly all their veterans last spring. Instead, the Jets beat the Jaguars, Bills and Chiefs this past season (all playoff teams) and were never embarrassed. The Jets are far from a train wreck, when in all honesty they should have been.
15. Sean McDermott, Bills (last year 28)
Pantorno: After his decision to bench Tyrod Taylor and basically concede a loss while in the midst of a playoff race, McDermott should be lower than this.
16. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers (last year 23)
Burke: Give the guy a capable quarterback and he’s proven he can win.
17. John Harbaugh, Ravens (last year 10)
Macy: He’s got a championship but seems to get struck hard with the injury bug every year. I think he’s better than 17th.
18. Bill O’Brien, Texans (last year 6)
Macy: DeShaun Watson, if he’s healthy, gives O’Brien the opportunity to leap much higher the next time we do one of these.
19. Mike Vrabel, Titans
Burke: Vrabel is as brash as they come and the former Patriots linebacker will surely give this talented team a kick in the ass.
20. Jon Gruden, Raiders
Burke: Here is Gruden from 2003-09 in Tampa Bay: 45-51. He hasn’t proven he can guide a winning team since George W. Bush’s first term.
21. Jason Garrett, Cowboys (last year 9)
Macy: How many more years does “the clapper” have left? He gets a pass for an ugly 2017 due to Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. No payoffs in 2018 will surely mean a new head coach in Big D.
22. Adam Gase, Dolphins (last year 8)
Macy: When the Eagles had the Fins in town for joint practices last spring I was not impressed by the shy, young and subtle Gase.
23. Pat Shurmur, Giants
Pantorno: Shurmur has a lot to prove in 2018 where he’ll be close to the very top or at the very bottom of this list come next year. Taking over an offense with the aging Eli Manning, hard-to-handle Odell Beckham Jr. and an offensive line that needs a complete overhaul, he has his work cut out for him.
Burke: Shurmer did the most with the least this past season as Vikings OC. I fully expect him to eventually be a success in New York.
24. Jay Gruden, Redskins (last year 16)
Pantorno: As one of the reasons why Kirk Cousins is a free agent, Gruden played a large part in setting the Redskins back another five years or so unless Alex Smith plays like an MVP.
25. Matt Patricia, Lions
Burke: In Patricia’s last two games as Patriots defensive coordinator, the Pats were lit up by Nick Foles and Blake Bortles. Ugly with a capital “U.”
26. Frank Reich, Colts
Macy: I like Reich a lot as a coach and he did one hell of a job with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles this season — but with Pederson calling plays and designing the offense, what exactly did Reich do?
27. Marvin Lewis, Bengals (last year 22)
Macy: Somehow still employed.
Pantorno: I feel like the Bengals are just afraid to go searching for a head coach. It has to be the reason why Lewis is still here.
28. Steve Wilks, Cardinals
Macy: Their roster is a mess. He’s got his work cut out for him with Carson Palmer retired.
29. Matt Nagy, Bears
Pantorno: The Bears are going to be the Bears next season barring the coming-out party of Mitch Trubisky. I’d expect to see him right around here next year.
30. Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers
Burke: Koetter should count his blessings that Jon Gruden opted to return to Oakland instead of Tampa Bay. Had Gruden had more nostalgia for this place, Koetter would be the one out of a job and Jack Del Rio would still be employed by the Raiders.
31. Vance Joseph, Broncos (last year 26)
Pantorno: I’m not sure how a team with such a solid defense could perform this badly. Maybe signing a quarterback will save Joseph’s job.
32. Hue Jackson, Browns (last year 32)
Macy: The Browns have assets. They need to finally win.