The head coaches people consider to be the best in the league tend to change daily. If the team is hot, the head coach is great. If the team is playing terrible, the head coach stinks.
This is something I am going to try and shy away from for this article. I am going to take a more macro look at head coaches. Guys who have been successful in the league for a long time are obviously going to get a bump compared to a guy that has one year of success to his name.
This list is for 2020. So, here it is, the 32 head coaches going in to 2020 ranked from best to worst.
1.Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Is there any debating this? The guy has had a strangle hold on the AFC East for like 20 years and also has multiple Super Bowl appearances and wins, six to be exact, to go along with the division and conference titles.
2. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Big Red finally got his Super Bowl win and can be securely mounted atop the greatest coaches of all time list. He has been outstanding throughout his entire career and was a Hall-of-Famer before the Super Bowl, but now there is no questioning. His ability to adapt and reinvent offenses in the NFL is second to none. Don’t be surprised if he is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy again in 2020.
3. Jon Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
A model of consistency, Harbaugh always has the Ravens in the mix. He also took a team and completely molded it to fit the skillset of Lamar Jackson. Very few coaches like to change “their system” to fit players. He also has embraced analytics as much as any coach in the league. This is reflected by the amount of times they go for it on fourth down. Harbaugh continues to adapt and improve and will have the Ravens in the mix once again in 2020.
4. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
This may be a little high for some peoples likings, but, to me, last year, with Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph at the helm, getting that team to eight wins may have been his best year of coaching yet. The Steelers are going to bounce back in a big way in 2020 with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Tomlin also has the Super Bowl appearances and a ring to make him worthy of his top five appearance.
5. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Payton is another coach that has had a very consistent and successful career thus far. Last year Drew Brees went down with injury and he was able to have the team not skip a beat with Teddy Bridgewater in as Brees’ replacement. Unfortunately for Payton, the playoffs haven’t been kind to him lately with some disappointing losses to the Minnesota Vikings. However, they will be vying for another NFC South title, Conference title and Super Bowl again in 2020.
6. Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Pederson jumped onto the scene with a Super Bowl title his first year as a head coach. He did that with a backup quarterback. Unfortunately, the Eagles have continued to have injury issues, but Pederson continues to find ways to win. He is a member of the Andy Reid coaching tree
7. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Hoepfully Shanahan isn’t remembered for giving up two of the biggest leads in Super Bowl history, one as a coordinator and one as a head coach, because he is a terrific coach. Shanahan is one of the best play callers in all of football. He has perfectly blended and married his schemes together and knows exactly when to call what plays. He will be in more Super Bowls and on the winning side before too long.
8. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Consistently underrated, Zimmer waited a long time to finally get his shot as a head coach. When he finally got it with Minnesota, he hasn’t disappointed. Yes, they need to get over the hump, but that will come. He has multiple playoff wins and only one losing season in six years. Zimmer also always has one of the best defenses in the NFL. If the Vikings can get over the hump and finally get to a Super Bowl, a lot more people are going to be talking about Zimmer as one of the best head coaches in football.
9. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
McVay stormed onto the scene with the Rams and took them to a Super Bowl in one of his first years with the team. He is going to pull off some of his best coaching coming up as the team is in a bad situation financially, draft pick wise and talent wise. McVay admitted after the Super Bowl loss that he was out coached (Belichick does that to a lot of people though). The key is will he be able to continue to adapt and get better every year.
10. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks seem to find themselves in the playoff mix and as Super Bowl contenders every year under Carroll. They have found tremendous success under Carroll including a Super Bowl title and another appearance. Carroll’s biggest flaw right now is that he doesn’t let Russell Wilson throw the ball more. If he does, he may find himself in another Super Bowl real soon.
11. Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders
12. Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts
13. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
14. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
15. Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16. Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins
17. Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
18. Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
19. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
21. Ron Rivera, Washing Football Team
21. Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
22. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
23. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
24. Zac Taylor, Cinncinati Bengals
25. Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
26. Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
27. Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
28. Adam Gase, New York Jets
First Year Head Coaches, wait and see
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys (was previously a head coach, has taken time off before returning)
Joe Judge, New York Giants
Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
As you could probably see, a lot of a head coaches success is tied to the quarterback they have under the center. The better quarterback, the easier it is to win and have a long career. Bill Belichick benefited from having Tom Brady for the last 19 years. This isn’t to discredit Belichick, because since he has been in the league he has been one of the best coaches in football, but to say that quarterback plays a large roll in the success of a head coach.
Andy Reid finally has his quarterback and it helped him win that elusive Super Bowl. Some of this first year coaches are hoping they can find their Mahomes, well something as close as possible because their is only one Mahomes, so they too can one day lift the Lombardi trophy. Until then though, it is a wait and see for them.
This list will change after 2020. Guys will rise and guys will fall. Coaches will get fired and new ones hired. I would bet, though, the guys at the top, will remain the same.