Who are the top-five head coaches in the NFL?
Let’s start the discussion by listing coaches who used to be in the top-five but aren’t any more: Jeff Fisher, Mike Shanahan and Sean Payton. Am I leaving anyone out?
Fisher’s a defensive guy who hasn’t coached a dominant defense in quite a while. Shanahan’s an offensive guy who hasn’t coached a dominant offense since John Elway was a quarterback. And Sean Payton isn’t coaching this season.
Those guys are out. These guys aren’t.
5. Jim Harbaugh – Swiftly installed new offensive and defensive schemes in training camp and had the Niners ready to roll in mere weeks before the start of the regular season – an astonishing feat. He also lead the Niners a few plays away from the Super Bowl. All of this is more impressive when you consider he was making the very tough jump from college to the pros. He can ascend this list if he improves the offense as Jed York envisioned he would when he signed him. Last year, the defense carried the team, led largely by two brilliant Trent Baalke draft picks – Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman.
4. John Harbaugh – 1-0 versus his younger brother in the NFL, John also has a longer track record of success than Jim. John gets his team to play as tough as any team in the league, and he was a missed field goal away from beating Bill Belichick’s Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
3. Mike McCarthy – The new Sean Payton – the latest offensive mastermind in the NFL. He personally developed Aaron Rodgers and created one of the most potent offenses in football. He’s also won a Super Bowl.
2. Tom Coughlin – He’s won two Super Bowls and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. He gets his team to play its best down the stretch of the season, which is what a good coach is supposed to do. If he beats Belichick in the Super Bowl one more time, he’ll be the undisputed best coach in the game.
1. Bill Belichick – He’s won three Super Bowls, gone to five and came inches away from winning all five. He built his reputation as a defensive genius, but he’s built one of the best offenses in NFL history the last ten years, and it’s only getting better. If he wins one more Super Bowl, he’s in the conversation for second greatest coach of all-time behind Dennis Erickson.
I mean Bill Walsh. Excuse me.