Around the League Opinion

Ranking the top 16 NFL head coaches entering the 2020 season

As we head into 2020, coaching in the NFL remains as important as ever.

Teams can have pro bowlers galore on a roster, but if not put to use properly, they can struggle. The greats figured out how to make all of the pieces fit accordingly and how they could succeed as part of the puzzle.

Every year, each NFL coach attempts to do the very same thing, in hopes of bringing home a championship.

Here are the best 16 coaches in the NFL heading into the 2020 season.

16) Ron Rivera – Washington Redskins

Rivera had plenty of success in Carolina, and will now get another chance with second-year QB Dwayne Haskins and a stout front seven on defense. If Haskins can take a step up at QB, this team could contend for a playoff spot in the competitive NFC.

15) Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings

Zimmer is a solid coach, but many have wondered if he has underachieved in Minnesota. With playmakers like Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Dalvin Cook on the offensive end and Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes formerly on the defensive side, it’s weird to think that the Vikings have only won two playoff games in his tenure.

14)Frank Reich – Indianapolis Colts

Reich led a resurgence in 2018, leading the Colts to the Divisional round after winning nine of their last 10 regular season games then beating division-rival Houston in the Wild Card round.

The Colts only went 7-9 in 2019, but that is impressive given their franchise QB retired two weeks before the regular season began.

13)Matt LaFleur – Green Bay Packers

LaFleur is a young coach who only has the best ahead. Despite injuries, he led the Packers to a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship game.

12) Bruce Arians – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Arians has two Coach of the Year awards and now has Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to add to an offense that averaged the third-most yards per game, including the most passing yards per game.

11) Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams

McVay takes a lot of criticism for his game plan in Super Bowl LIII, and after missing the playoffs in 2019, he is kind of in no man’s land. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and expect the Rams to be a playoff contender again in 2020.

10) Mike Vrabel – Tennessee Titans

Vrabel impressed in the 2019 postseason, beating both the Patriots and Ravens on the road, and then giving Kansas City a run for its money before Patrick Mahomes happened. After switching to Ryan Tannehill mid-season, the Titans quietly became one of the better teams in the league and look to only improve in 2020.

9) Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills

McDermott is one of the better coaches in the league, and he appears ready to turn the Bills into the team to beat in the AFC East after two playoff appearances in the last three years. With Josh Allen having another year under his belt and one of the best young defenses in the league, the Bills could win 10+ games in 2020.

8) Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers

Tomlin is one of the most underrated coaches in the league, having won 141 totals games and keeping the Steelers competitive in 2019 despite losing Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and having an injured Big Ben. With the return of Ben and a stingy defense, the Steelers should return to the playoffs.

7) Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers

Shanahan has received criticism for the final 10 minutes of Super Bowl LIV, as well as his role in Super Bowl LI, but it shouldn’t overshadow a brilliant 2019, and the 49ers are positioned to make a run at it again in 2020. If Shanahan can learn from his mistakes in those two Super Bowls, the 49ers are not too far away from their sixth.

6) Doug Pederson – Philadelphia Eagles

In just four seasons, Pederson has established himself as one of the best coaches in the league. Pederson has shown his strengths by taking an injury-depleted roster to a division title in 2019. Oh, and he won Super Bowl LII.

5) Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints

It has been a while since the Saints Super Bowl championship, but Payton still deserves to be in the upper echelon of coaches. The Saints are always in the discussion in the NFC and they could have a second championship if a certain penalty had been called in the 2018-19 NFC Championship game.

4) Pete Carroll – Seattle Seahawks

Carroll has turned the Seahawks into annual contenders and has overseen some of the best defenses in recent memory. Despite constant roster turnover, he has taken the Seahawks to the playoffs eight times, including two Super Bowls.

3) John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens

Harbaugh has been a winner his entire career, racking up 128 total wins, including Super Bowl XLVII. He reworked his entire offense to fit Lamar Jackson, and it worked to perfection, with the Ravens going 14-2 and Jackson winning MVP. The Ravens should win another ring soon.

2) Andy Reid – Kansas City Chiefs

Reid finally won his Super Bowl this past February, filling in the final hole in his all-time resume. Reid has 222 wins in 21 seasons with the Eagles and Chiefs, he took both franchises to a Super Bowl, and he has one of the most impressive coaching trees in the NFL, including Harbaugh, Pederson, and McDermott.

1) Bill Belichick – New England Patriots

Belichick has been and still is the best coach in the league. The resume speaks for itself, with six super bowls and nine conference championships, as well as 17 division titles.

The Patriots are still expected to be competitive even with the departure of Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady, and that is an attribution to Belichick’s coaching. In his last season without Brady at QB, Belichick led the Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008.

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