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February 19, 2020

2020 NFL head coach power rankings

NFL Eagles
Bill-Belichick-Andy-Reid-NFL-head-coach-power-rankings_021920 David Butler II /USA Today Sports

Which NFL head coach would you pick to start a franchise with?

As a sportswriter, when there isn't really anything newsworthy to write about, there is one undeniably successful way to break out of the "there is nothing to write about" blues: 

Rank things.

In sports, there is never a shortage of things to rank. Our Eagles writer Jimmy Kempski ranks everything from the food in the press box to the reporters in the interview room.

Today, with the NFL in a dormant period (or as close to one as the league has), we thought it might be the perfect time to throw together a ranking of the NFL's current crop of 32 head coaches.

As power rankings tend to do, we are pinpointing which coach has the highest stock right now. So while Super Bowl winning coaches like Mike McCarthy (newly signed to coach Dallas) may technically have a better track record over his entire career than say, his replacement in Green Bay Mike LaFleur, after the Packers' success in 2019, his power ranking is higher.

So without further ado, and mindful that most of you will disagree with the placement of nearly every name on this list, here's PhillyVoice's NFL head coach power rankings for 2020:

The all-time greats

1. Bill Belichick, Patriots

The Pats' early exit and the potential departure of Tom Brady are not enough to unseat a six-time Super Bowl and 17-time AFC East winning coach from the top of the rankings. He's the greatest coach of all time, and if I'm starting a franchise and can pick any of these men, he's the top choice.

2. Andy Reid, Chiefs

Reid got the monkey off his back by winning his first Super Bowl and shedding the label of winningest active coach not to do so. His offensive schemes with the Chiefs have been impressive, and he's shown his bad decision-making and time management issues are in the past. He also has a head coaching tree that is the most impressive in the NFL (certainly better than Belichick's).

Andy Reid coaching tree — active HC

Coach, team(s)Record
John Harbaugh, BAL*118-74
Ron Rivera, CAR/WAS76-63-1
Doug Pederson, PHI*42-27
Sean McDermott, BUF25-25
Matt Nagy, CHI20-13
*Won Super Bowls

Bill Belichick coaching tree — active HC

Coach, teamRecord
Bill O'Brien, HOU54-48
Matt Patricia, DET9-22-1
Brian Flores, MIA5-11
Joe Judge, NYG 0-0

The returning champs

3. John Harbaugh, Ravens

Harbaugh was able to mold an entire offense around wide receiver Lamar Jackson. Jackson is now an MVP quarterback on an offense that has revitalized the run game in the NFL. He'll win a second Super Bowl sometime soon.

4. Sean Payton, Saints

It's been a while since Payton has won a championship, but he continually has the Saints playing as a top contender in the NFC and showed some versatility in overcoming Drew Brees' injury to remain in contention last year.

5. Doug Pederson, Eagles

Pederson led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title in 2017 and to a wild card appearance in 2018, but his best coaching performance may have been this past season, when he coached a group of practice squad players to four-straight wins and an NFC East title. Just once, it'd be nice to see what he could do with a healthy squad.

6. Pete Carroll, Seahawks

Carroll has been a model of consistency with his roster changing all around him, boasting eight playoff berths in Seattle. 

7. Mike Tomlin, Steelers

Tomlin's 141 career wins are fourth only to Belichick, Reid and Carroll (among active coaches). He almost overcame losing pretty much every player from his last playoff run to do it again before falling short at the end of the season.

Playoff berth percentage 

CoachSeasonsPlayoff %
Doug Pederson475%
Bill Belichick2572%
Andy Reid2171%
Pete Carroll1471%
Mike McCarthy1369%
John Harbaugh1267%
Bill O'Brien667%
Sean McVay367%
Sean McDermott367%
Mike Tomlin1562%
Mike Zimmer650%
Ron Rivera944%
Dan Quinn540%
Jon Gruden1338%
Bruce Arians633%
(Minimum 2 playoff appearances)

The young guns

8. Mike Vrabel, Titans

Vrabel beat Belichick's Patriots and then beat the Ravens in playoff upsets this past postseason — and did so after making a change at quarterback in the middle of the season. That's impressive enough to leap up to the top 10, even without a Super Bowl appearance.

9. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers

Oh, Kyle Shanahan. Jimmy Kempski was a proponent of his being punished for his Super Bowl coaching job (both in San Francisco and in Atlanta) and it's because of that that he falls to ninth despite being, technically, the second best coach in 2019. Will he learn from his past mistakes or keep making them?

10. Sean McVay, Rams

McVay was the wunderkind of the NFL just one offseason ago, but now, after being embarrassed two Super Bowl's ago and missing the playoffs in 2019, he hovers just inside the top 10.

11. Sean McDermott, Bills

The Bills' roster does not look like a playoff one on paper. But it was in 2019, thanks to McDermott. He's underrated, especially vying with the AFC East juggernaut in New England. But if the Pats finally drop off next year, the Bills could fill the void.

12. Matt LaFleur, Packers

LaFleur overcame some big injuries to lead the Packers to the playoffs in 2019. He is just 40, and ambitious. His best is still in front of him.

120218FrankReichScott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports

Colts head coach Frank Reich.


Superbowl-less veterans

13. Frank Reich, Colts

Many forget that Reich led the Colts to wins in nine of their last 10 games to make the postseason in 2018. He nearly made a second improbable playoff run after the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck last offseason.

14. Mike Zimmer, Vikings

Zimmer has underachieved with a really talented roster in Minnesota. He has had every opportunity to be higher on this list but, man, if you can't make it happen with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook, when can you?

15. Bruce Arians, Buccaneers

As a head coach, he has won two NFL Coach of the Year awards (2012, 2014). As an assistant he has won two Super Bowls. He's a unique voice in the coaching world and dare I say, underrated in the NFL?

What have you done for me lately?

16. Mike McCarthy, Cowboys

McCarthy led Green Bay to the playoffs every year from 2009-2016. His last two seasons with the Packers saw him go 11-16-1 and get fired. Will he find success with Jerry Jones breathing down his neck in Dallas?

17. Jon Gruden, Raiders

He's won a Super Bowl, but he's been average since returning from an ESPN hiatus. Knock on wood if you're with me.

18. Bill O'Brien, Texans

Are the Texans and stud QB DeShaun Watson succeeding in spite of O'Brien? We won't get to find out in 2020, as the coach who blew three-touchdown lead to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round will return to Houston.

19. Ron Rivera, Was Team

Rivera will get a new opportunity in Washington. He's a great coach, and has won Coach of the Year honors in Carolina. But it will be very tough for him in his new gig.

20. Dan Quinn, Falcons

Quinn salvaged his job somehow with a second straight 7-9 season in Atlanta. He blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, and that definitely factors into why he's 20th on our list.

All-time NFL wins

CoachSeasonsW-L-T
Don Shula33328-156-6
Georga Halas40318-148-31
Bill Belichick25273-127
Tom Landry29250-162-6
Curly Lambeau33226-132-22
Paul Brown25213-104-9
Andy Reid21207-128-1
Marty Schottenheimer21200-126-1
Chuck Noll23190-165-1
Dan Reeves23190-165-2

Good coach, bad team

21. Brian Flores, Dolphins

We'll let Jimmy take this one:

"Not only was their roster straight garbage but they had a ton of injuries too. That [5 wins] was way more games than that roster should have won."

22. Matt Patricia, Lions

Patricia has three Super Bowl rings as a top assistant in New England and even beat his former team in 2018. Give him something to work with.

Overrated?

23. Doug Marrone, Jaguars

We are in the land of the mediocre now. Marrone is 24-29 with one playoff berth in 2017 (and a missed chance to unseat the Patriots). 

24. Matt Nagy, Bears

I guess he is a good coach? He was the Coach of the Year as a rookie head coach in 2018 and saw his Bears lose in the first round to the Eagles on a double doink. In Year 2, he went 8-8.

25. Anthony Lynn, Chargers

He's another guy who has underachieved with a talented roster. Lynn has one playoff berth and no playoff wins in three seasons.

26. Adam Gase, Jets

Gase had a lot of crap to deal with in New York and still finished respectably at 7-9. He has a playoff berth on his resume in Miami, but has never really done anything despite ample hype throughout his career.

27. Vic Fangio, Broncos

Fangio probably had enough talent to get the Broncos into the playoff mix but a middling 7-9 record has him toward the bottom of this year's ranks.

Matt-Rhule-Temple-Baylor-Carolina-Panthers_021920Jim Dedmon /USA Today Sports

New Panthers coach Matt Rhule


The new (or new-ish) guys

28. Matt Rhule, Panthers

Rhule led Temple University to perhaps its best season ever before nearly leading Baylor to the College Football Playoff. He's the hottest name on the new hire list, and isn't inheriting a complete train wreck in Carolina.

29. Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals

With a shiny new toy in Kyler Murray under center in Arizona, he'll be expected to show a big improvement quickly.

30. Zac Taylor, Bengals

It's rare in today's NFL that a coach returns after a 2-14 record, but with the first pick in the 2020 draft coming to Cincinnati, Taylor can improve his ranking by showing improvement next year.

31. Kevin Stefanski, Browns

Did Stefanski deserve to get the gig in Cleveland after being, well, an average coordinator on a Vikings team that didn't accomplish very much? 

32. Joe Judge, Giants

Judge was an okay special teams coordinator in New England and is the very living embodiment of coach speak.


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