Like most worldwide sports the NFL regularly has a high turnover of head coaches thanks, sadly, to high expectations. But the few that do survive to enjoy healthy tenures continue to blossom each and every year.
The Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans are just a few of the teams who constantly find themsleves in the postseason, with a coach who has held the job for many years.
Here is a look at the five best coaches in the NFL right now.
5) Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
42-28 coaching record, 60 career win percentage, 1x Super Bowl, 1x Conference title, 2x Division titles, 3x trips to the playoffs in four seasons
Though a short stint to this point, Doug Pederson’s time as the Eagles’ coach has been a success story – one made all the more impressive by the last two seasons.
In just his second year at the helm Pederson led the team to a 13-3 record with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz en route to an MVP award before an ACL injury ended his season early. But backup Nick Foles stepped in and helped steer the team to their first ever Super Bowl win, anointing Pederson as one of the game’s best coaches already.
In 2018 and ’19 the Eagles had to battle a host of injuries on both sides of the ball that almost saw each season end in huge disappointment. However Pederson and his staff managed to lead a group of practice squad-level guys to five wins in their last six in 2018, and four straight wins last year to squeeze into the postseason.
Given Pederson’s youth and that of his quarterback, the Eagles has an incredibly bright future ahead… as long as injuries remain at a minimum.
4) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
128-81 coaching record, 61 career win percentage, 1x Super Bowl, 1x Conference title, 4x Division titles, 8x trips to the playoffs in 12 seasons
John Harbaugh has managed to stay relevant for some time now with ongoing roster changes, which tends to happen when you have been coaching a team since 2008.
Harbaugh had to make do with a sub-par quarterback in Joe Flacco, an ordinary group on the offensive end and constant competition from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in their division, who were perennial playoffs sides, for over a decade. Eight playoff trips ain’t half bad.
Harbaugh’s tenure started off with five consecutive playoff appearances, three of which saw his Ravens make the AFC title game. The final of those five years saw them win their first and only Lombardi Trophy under the coach so far, against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 47.
Despite a stretch from 2013 until 2017 where the franchise made the playoffs just once, they received an injection of excitement in the 2018 season with the arrival of quarterback Lamar Jackson – the epitome of a dual-threat in the pocket, unlike anything the NFL has ever seen.
The last two seasons the Ravens have won 10 and 14 games respectively, and have themselves a promising near future ahead.
3) Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
144-99-1 coaching record, 59 career win percentage, 1x Super Bowl, 2x Conference titles, 5x Division titles, 10x trips to the playoffs in 14 seasons
Like Harbaugh, Pete Carroll has long had to battle a changing roster, but managed to keep the Seahawks relevant since their last Super Bowl appearance in February 2015. One of the more likeable coaches in the game, Carroll remains one of the best with a promising 2020 ahead.
Carroll started out in the NFL as the coach of the New England Patriots, holding the position before Bill Belichick turned up (an interesting fact few people know). In three years he managed a 34-33 record with two trips to the playoffs, but was fired after a mediocre 1999 season.
Over 10 years later he returned to the NFL, taking over the Seahawks and immediately taking them to the playoffs. Since coming on as coach his record sits at 110-66-1 which includes eight postseason trips in 10 years. His one and only Lombardi Trophy came in Super Bowl 48 where the Hawks thumped the Denver Broncos by 35 points.
The last two seasons have seen the franchise revive themselves somewhat with 10 and 11 win seasons, and with new exciting players on the roster for 2020, the Hawks could be on their way to another conference title.
2) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
222-132-1 coaching record, 61 career win percentage, 1x Super Bowl, 2x Conference titles, 10x Division titles, 15x trips to the playoffs in 21 seasons
Finally… FINALLY… Andy Reid’s Super Bowl dream came true earlier this year when he steered the Kansas City Chiefs to their first title in 50 years, nearly 21 years since he took his first head coaching job in the NFL.
To start his career after a successful stay at the Packers as an offensive assistant, Reid spent 14 seasons at the helm of the Eagles as their coach from 1999 until 2012, leading them to the playoffs nine times, including four consecutive NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance. However, back to back underwhelming seasons in 2011 and 2012 saw him sacked from his long-time role.
Kansas City scooped up the unemployed coach, and immediately improved under Reid making the playoffs in 2013 coming off a dismal 2-14 season. In eight years so far the Chiefs have made the playoffs seven times, finished with a positive record every year and just recently broke their long-standing Lombardi Trophy drought.
Reid’s skills as a teacher have also been evident amongst the league – six coaches who previously worked under him have gone on to coach other teams to the playoffs, with two winning Super Bowls (Harbaugh and Pederson).
1) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
304-139 coaching record, 69 career win percentage, 6x Super Bowls, 9x Conference titles, 17x Division titles, 18x trips to the playoffs in 25 seasons
It will take a lot to dethrone Bill Belichick as the game’s best coach. The Patriots have achieved a long-standing reign of success never seen before in the NFL, winning their first Super Bowl back in 2002 and remaining a constant in the playoffs right through to their sixth and most recent title in 2019.
Like many successful mentors Belichick went through some up and down stretches early on in his career. His five years with Cleveland delivered just one playoff appearance and wins in just 45 per cent of his games. His winning percentage rocketed up to a little under 74 with the Patriots from 2000 until 2019.
There are plenty of numbers to work through supporting Belichick’s status as the best. The Patriots claimed three titles in four years from 2002 until 2005. In 2007 they were one of four teams in league history to go unbeaten in the regular season, but unfortunately were unable to complete the job, going down to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. From 2009 until 2019 the franchise claimed 11 consecutive division titles, winning 10 or more games every regular season as well as three more titles.
Belichick holds numerous records including most Super Bowl wins (six), appearances (nine) and most playoff wins with 31.
The veteran has made clear his determination to continue winning with the franchise, despite quarterback Tom Brady’s shift south to Tampa Bay.
Sports writer based in Auckland, New Zealand. I have a strong passion for a range of codes, including the NBA, NFL, Soccer, Rugby and more.