NFL head coaches power rankings: Belichick reigns supreme - Metro US

NFL head coaches power rankings: Belichick reigns supreme

With football inactive at the moment, the combine winding down and free agency over a week away, Metro’s staff has to get it’s NFL fix someone.

So here’s a look at the current crop of NFL skippers–with rankings compiled as an average from the Metro sports staff. How’s does your coach measure up?

1. Bill Belichick, Patriots:Belichick is a freak. As an Eagles fan I hate him for “Spygate,” but as a football fan there’s no denying he’s just plain brilliant. He’s probably No. 1 with or without Malcolm Butler. Standby for more Belichick love from Matt.(Evan Macy, Metro Philadelphia sports editor)

Line up 10 NFL fans and ask them to describe Belichick in one word. Nine will say, “cheat.” Then ask them if they could have any coach in the NFL, who would they choose? The Hoodie in a landslide.(Matt Burke, Metro Boston sports editor)

2. John Harbaugh, Ravens:Harbaugh has a better postseason win percentage (10-6, .667) than he does in the regular season (72-40, .643.) He has a Super Bowl title and his coaching tree includes five other coaches on this list.(EM)

The No. 2 coach on our list can’t figure out the formations that the No. 1 coach on our list trots out. There’s a big gap from 1 to 2, but Harbaugh’s always a tough out.(MB)

3. Bruce Arians, Cardinals: Maybe I’m a bit biased (he’s from the town over from where I grew up in Lancaster and coached at Temple from 1983-88) but the 2015 NFL coach of the year has to have pretty high stock (EM).

This is where Evan and I begin to differ. The man’s lifetime postseason record is an unflattering 0-1. Did you know “Arians” is German for “Mornhinweg?” (MB)

4. Pete Carroll, Seahawks:He’s a fantastic coach who has created a defensive juggernaut of historic significance with the Seahawks, but he made the single worst play call in the history of sports. That’s got to cost you a few spots in the rankings. (EM)

Easily your No. 2 coach if not for his 10 p.m. brain fart on the day of Feb. 1, 2015. His defensive scheming is simple, but absolutely effective. (MB)

5. Mike McCarthy, Packers:If not for Brandon Bostick (who was recently dropped by Green Bay), McCarthy and the Packers would have been in the Super Bowl instead of Seattle, and perhaps he’d be ranked higher. His offensive acumen is impressive. (EM)

It’s easy to look good when you’ve got Aaron Rodgers. Not-so-fun fact: the year before he got the Packers job, he was the OC for the 49ers and that year’s San Fran team finished dead last in points scored and yards gained. (MB)

6. Mike Tomlin, Steelers:The list of Steelers head coaches since 1969 only contains three names — Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin. He took over one of the NFL’s most historic franchises in 2007 and has won a Super Bowl title and Coach of the Year honors during his tenure. (EM)

There were hot seat rumblings in Pittsburgh midway through last season, but Tomlin righted the ship and got the Steelers into the postseason. It’s a shame he couldn’t get along with LeGarrette Blount though. (MB)

7. Chuck Pagano, Colts:At just age 54, Pagano has made 12 stops as a college and professional football coach. As the headmaster in Indy, he’s led the Colts to three straight 11-5 seasons and has advanced farther in the postseason every year. (EM)

The jury is still out on Pagano. He’s a defensive guy, but five different teams hung 30 or more points on his defense this past year. It’s good to have Andrew Luck. (MB)

8. Chip Kelly, Eagles:This isn’t just a homer pick — Kelly is changing football. His high-paced offense may have some dissenters, but it’s the future of the NFL. Winning 20 games in your first two NFL seasons isn’t bad either, especially considering the Birds went 4-12 before he signed on. (EM)

I’m on board with Evan, here. You always get the sense that anything is possible when Philly has the ball. But we may be too generous here. Three December losses … THREE DECEMBER LOSSES! (MB)

9. Ron Rivera, Panthers:He followed up a 12-win season in 2013 (and Coach of the Year honors) by taking the 6-8 Panthers to the postseason where they actually won a game. He’s excelled at every level and he has a bright NFL future. (EM)

After 12 wins in the 2013 season, “Riverboat Ron” and the Panthers took a step back. But this team has incredible “bounce-back year” buzz already for 2015. (MB)

10. Sean Payton, Saints:Bounty-gate will follow him always, but you can’t take away the 2009 season and what it meant to New Orleans. By the way, he’s just 51 and coaches in the lackluster NFC South. Stock is looking up. (EM)

It seems as though Payton has been in New Orleans forever. It’s actually since 2006, but that’s great tenure in the NFL. It seems like things are starting to go South here – the reason the former Super Bowl winner is only at No. 10. (MB)

11. John Fox, Bears:What do you make of a coach like John Fox? In four seasons with the Broncos he won four division titles. He also took the Panthers to three playoffs as well as a Super Bowl in 2003. Maybe he’s the right man to turn things around in Chicago. (EM)

John Elway bought him a bunch of shiny new toys in Denver and Fox broke nearly all of them. But never forget: this man won a playoff game, a real life NFL playoff game, with Tim Tebow as his quarterback. (MB)

12. Jim Caldwell, Lions:With the Colts, he set a record with 14 wins his rookie year. Now in Detroit, he’s already taken the Lions to the playoffs in a tough NFC North. (EM)

So far, so good for Caldwell in Detroit. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Colts when they won it all in 2006 and he was the OC with the Ravens in 2013 when they claimed glory. (MB)

13. Jason Garrett, Cowboys:Believe it or not, Garrett was born in Abington, just outside of Philly. But that’s his only redeeming quality to Eagles fans. He’s been painfully average as Jerry Jones’ golden boy, going 8-8 in three straight seasons before last year’s NFC East title. (EM)

Jerry Jones isn’t a patient man. Chan Gailey was gone after 32 games. Dave Campo, done after 48. Wade Phillips, out after 56. Garrett has now coached 72 Cowboys games. At the very least, he has staying power. (MB)

14. Tom Coughlin, Giants:This is a tough call. He’s won two Super Bowls — something few have ever done as an NFL head coach. And his Giants have a bright future. But he’s had New York mired in second or third for three straight seasons. (EM)

As Evan points out, it’s tough to get a read on modern day Coughlin. You wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants go 3-13 this coming season or 12-4. (MB)

15. Bill O’Brien, Texans:O’Brien may have single-handedly saved the Penn State football program through his ability to keep talent in Happy Valley and rise above the scandal. He’s done a decent job in Houston too, nearly making the playoffs without a bonafide QB1. (EM)

So far, so good for O’Brien in Houston. He’s an offensive guy, but he allowed J.J. Watt to have the best defensive season by a player, maybe ever, this past season. (MB)

16. Andy Reid, Chiefs:I had Reid higher here, maybe it’s the Philly bias. For all his faults, he’ll likely go down as a legend in Philly, taking the Birds to five NFL Championships and nine playoff berths in 14 seasons. In two years with Kansas City he’s 20-12. (EM)

Reid’s Chiefs beat the Patriots and Seahawks this past season. That’s precisely what makes losing to teams like the Titans and Raiders so maddening. It’s a 16-game season, Andy. (MB)

17. Mike McCoy, Chargers:McCoy was a hot commodity after leading one of the NFL’s best offenses as the Broncos offensive coordinator. He’s just 42 and has a bright future with the Chargers. (EM)

It just seems like the Chargers had a rough 2013 but a pretty good 2014. Ultimately, McCoy’s Chargers went 9-7 in both years. (MB)

18. Marvin Lewis, Bengals:It’s easy to overlook his NFL tenure–12 seasons. Any stint in the league that long says a lot about a coach, but his 0-6 playoff record (0-4 in the last four seasons) has to put him on thin ice if he can’t take things further in 2015.(EM)

Lewis catches a ton of grief for his playoff record. On the flip side, it’s pretty impressive that he got to the postseason four years in a row with Andy Dalton at quarterback.(MB)

19. Joe Philbin, Dolphins:I’ll admit, I became a Joe Philbin fan when he was the star of HBO’s Hard Knocks a few years ago. And he had the Dolphins playing pretty well last season. But he’s still laking in NFL accomplishments.(EM)

Like Mike McCarthy, Philbin owes a lot to Aaron Rodgers as before he landed in Miami he was the Packers offensive coordinator for five years.(MB)

20. Jeff Fisher, Rams:Fisher has an average resume as far as head coaches go. He was 142-120 during a long-stint with the Titans, and he’s been able to reform the Rams into a burgeoning threat in the loaded NFC West. Check next year, he could be a lot higher on this list.(EM)

In 10 years, Mike Tomlin will be the new Jeff Fisher. He’ll stay in one place for 15 years and then get another NFL head coach gig based off of one Super Bowl win. That’s how it works in this league.(MB)

21. Gary Kubiak, Broncos:He’s won three Super Bowls as an assistant, but hasn’t proven himself as a head coach himself. He peaked with two playoff wins (one apiece in Houston in 2011 and 2012) and could add to that with an offensively strong Broncos team next season.(EM)

Kubiak has a career record of 63-66, but he never really had much of a quarterback in Houston. He might be the king of bad timing as Peyton Manning looks shot.(MB)

22. Rex Ryan, Bills:I never liked Rex with the Jets and like him less with the Bills. He would be a fantastic career defensive coordinator. But his offensive pedigree and decision-making is lacking and has cost his teams mightily.(EM)

Unlike Evan, I’m a Rex guy. He went .500 in 2013 with Geno Smith as his starting quarterback and beat the Patriots in the playoffs IN FOXBORO once upon a time with Mark Sanchez at QB. Only a genius pulls off both feats.(MB)

23. Dan Quinn, Falcons:I don’t know much about Quinn, but his defense in Seattle in 2013 and 2014 was ridiculously good. Lets see how he does calling the shots in Atlanta.(EM)

Two fun facts about Quinn: 1. He was the Jets’ first choice as head coach this offseason. 2. He played football for something called Salisbury State University.(MB)

24. Mike Zimmer, Vikings:Zimmer had a tough situation to manage in Minnesota after the Adrian Peterson fiasco, and still managed to put a decent product on the field. He should have an easier time in 2015.(EM)

I feel like Zimmer should be higher on this list. Always had his defenses ready to play in Cincinnati and his Vikings team never quit down the stretch of this past season.(MB)

25. Todd Bowles, Jets:Bowles is a Temple alum (my alma mater) and won a Super Bowl as a player in 1988 with the Redskins. He might be a good fit in New York because he seems like a no-nonsense type of guy. But he’s in a tough spot. Good luck with the Jets.(EM)

Snore. The Patriots – Jets rivalry is officially dead with Bowles and Belichick about to compete in a “Most boring press conference” competition twice a year.(MB)

26. Mike Pettine, Browns:Pettine coached at North Penn and William Tennet High Schools, so his local ties are a plus in my book. But he sure has his hands full in Cleveland.(EM)

Like Evan said, Pettine coached at North Penn and William Tennet High Schools, so no one outside of Philly has any idea of what to make of him.(MB)

27. Jim Tomsula, 49ers:I don’t know much about Tomsula, but he coached the 49ers defensive line for eight seasons and did a pretty good job from 2007-2014. He has a pretty talented team in San Francisco but is unproven as a head coach.(EM)

Talk about staying power. Tomsula was an assistant coach for Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary and Jim Harbaugh before getting the big boy job in San Fran.(MB)

28. Jack Del Rio, Raiders:He’s pretty mediocre. He went 68-71 with the Jaguars with a pair of wildcard berths mixed in. And he’s taking over a Raiders team with a number of weaknesses.(EM)

Del Rio’s career head coaching record is actually better than most would believe as he owns a 69-73 mark. That said, he’s doomed in Oakland.(MB)

29. Lovie Smith, Buccaneers:Smith started so strong winning back-to-back NFC North titles in Chicago in 2005 and 2006. He’d be ranked higher if his Bucs team didn’t finish 2-14 last year.(EM)

Says here that Smith got his coaching start as a defensive coordinator at Big Sandy High School in Big Sandy, Texas. That’s enough to give him the benefit of the doubt in Tampa Bay.(MB)

30. Ken Whisenhunt, Titans:Whisenhunt is a lot like Smith. Both won two division titles early in their head coaching career and both has lost one Super Bowl. Whisenhunt has a lot of things to work out with the Titans.(EM)

Whisenhunt was shown on camera at WWE Monday Night RAW in Nashville this past Monday and was roundly booed. While teams never really tank in the NFL, it’s hard to believe the Titans organization did everything to win in 2014. Expect the Titans to be solid in 2015.(MB)

31. Gus Bradley, Jaguars:Things haven’t improved much in Jacksonville since he took over in 2013. But he was damn good with the Seahawks defense, lifting them from 27th in the league to fourth in three seasons.(EM)

When Jack Del Rio has better coaching street cred than you, you’ve got issues.(MB)

32. Jay Gruden, Redskins:If this was Jon Gruden we were talking about it’d be a different story. But Jay pales him his brothers impressive shadow. He’s got a QB controversy that no one envies, and has probably thought about returning to Arena Football once or twice.(EM)

Given how many blah head coaches there are in this league right now, it’s hard to believe Gruden and his 4-12 career record deserves dead last place. But truth be told, any coach on this list since Philbin at 19 was fair game for No. 32.(MB)

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