ESPN continued through their positional power rankings yesterday by ranking the top ten coaches in the NFL, here is what their list looked like:
- Bill Belichick
- Mike Tomlin
- Andy Reid
- Mike McCarthy
- Sean Payton
- Tom Coughlin
- Rex Ryan
- Love Smith
- Mike Smith
- Mike Shanahan/John Harbaugh
Personally, I think the panelists did a fairly good job. A key question when ranking head coaches is does winning a Super Bowl automatically place you above all your peers who have not. Clearly, the panelists didn’t feel that way by placing Andy Reid at number three and having Rex Ryan ahead of Mike Shanahan (even though it has been over a decade since he won his).
With a list like this, the question of who would you want coaching your team next year and moving forward needs to be factored in, not just who has the best lifetime resume. I would bump Sean Payton up to three on the list, considering his Super Bowl victory and how the Saints, an organization that has traditionally struggled, have found consistent success under him. He is also one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, if not the brightest. I would put McCarthy ahead of Andy Reid as well, especially with his recent playoff victory over Reid’s team in mind and of course Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory last year.
You can see the ongoing debate between Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan I am involved in but I think Reid belongs somewhere in the 5-7 range with both of them. I would also absolutely have John Harbaugh higher than Mike Smith. In the last three years, Harbaugh has won multiple playoff games and taken his team to the AFC Championship Game, Smith is yet to win a single playoff game despite being the home team twice.
To even have Rex in the discussion for being a top 5-7 coach in the league after only two years on the job is encouraging and has to make you excited about his potential in the coming years. However, it will ultimately take a Super Bowl title for Rex to become one of the league’s elite coaches.