Top NFL Coaches

Top NFL Coaches

Here are the rankings of the 12 playoff coaches, counting up to No. 1:

  1. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

Rivera’s career record is 32-31-1, and that’s with a 12-4 mark last year. In his four seasons with the Panthers, he has had three losing seasons. Though, he does have a coach of the year award, earned for his efforts last season. He deserves credit for keeping the Panthers in the race long enough to win the terrible NFC South, but not too much.

  1. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

I respect what he did this year, but this will be his first playoff trip. Let’s see how the Cowboys respond to the biggest stage and then revisit his ranking.

  1. Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions

I hate that his calm demeanor overshadows his results. He has been a head coach for four NFL seasons and has double-digit wins three times. Credit Peyton Manning for his two successful Colts seasons all you want, but he was also the offensive coordinator for Joe Flacco’s Super Bowl run and won 11 games with Matthew Stafford this season. He won’t hog much TV air time but he’s a pretty good coach.

  1. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts

I don’t like that he hasn’t really figured out the Colts’ running woes or the defensive issues, but he has posted 11-5 records in each of his three seasons as a coach (though he missed a lot of the first one battling leukemia). How much credit does Andrew Luck deserve for his record? You decide.

  1. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

Lewis has made the playoffs four times in a row, and five out of six years, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. But, we can’t mention Lewis without also mentioning his 0-5 playoff record in his first 11 seasons as a head coach. I imagine you’ll hear that stat mentioned a few times during Sunday’s game against the Colts.

  1. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

The way the Steelers were unprepared and unmotivated against some terrible teams this season is concerning. And he came under some criticism for back-to-back 8-8 years in Pittsburgh. In some ways he is overshadowed by legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, and offensive coordinator Todd Haley calls the offense. But a deep playoff run, and maybe a second title, and we’d look at Tomlin in a different light.

  1. John Fox, Denver Broncos

Fox has gone to two Super Bowls with two different franchises, taking Jake Delhomme to the dance once. So he has some chops. But ask Denver fans, and many will inevitably bring up “Fox Ball,” basically a code word for being a little too conservative at the wrong time.

  1. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

He has had six winning seasons in a row, and a Super Bowl title. The age-old question will be, does he deserve credit for Aaron Rodgers’ success or is it the other way around? He didn’t do too well without Rodgers last year, but he didn’t exactly have a lot to work with after Rodgers went down. There have been some concerning playoff losses the last three years, and one-and-done this year wouldn’t look good on his resume.

  1. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals

He did a remarkable job this season and will win NFL coach of the year. This is his first trip to the playoffs as a head coach, but he was a Super Bowl champion as an offensive coordinator (2008 Steelers). I know there are a couple guys behind him on this list with rings, but if I were drafting a head coach for these playoffs, there are only a few I’d take ahead of him. He’s a really good head coach.

  1. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

His brother Jim gets more attention, but John Harbaugh has finished at least .500 in each of his seven NFL seasons as a head coach. Five of those seasons, including this one, resulted in double-digit wins. He has done all of this with a good but not great quarterback, Joe Flacco. He also has a Super Bowl ring.

  1. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

His players buy into his style, and it’s no coincidence that this defensive-minded coach has fielded one of the best defenses in NFL history over the past few years. He has a ring, and if he can win a second Super Bowl in a row we’d have to wonder if Carroll is on his way to becoming one of the game’s all-time greats.

  1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Belichick’s last losing season was 2000. Garrett was a backup quarterback for the Giants that season, for some reference. source:

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