2024 NFL head coach rankings: Chiefs' Andy Reid still king as Chargers' Jim Harbaugh returns with top 10 spot



andy reid g

Football is a team sport. Which means, more often than not, you won’t be a serious Super Bowl contender if you don’t have a formidable combination of elite talent and/or consistent, innovative coaching. Just as a quarterback is often only as effective as his supporting cast, a coach’s designs alone can’t always elevate a team; personnel is equally key. Even so, it’s not hard to see that some NFL contenders enjoy proven leaders on the sidelines, while others are still in search of such stability.

If you’re interested solely on which coaches have the best big-game resume, we’ve got another whole rundown right here. Otherwise, here’s how we’d sort each of the league’s 32 head coaches going into the 2024 season:

Class C: Unproven or underwhelming

As long as these coaches are employed, they have a chance to redeem themselves. As we stand, however, they’ve either yet to prove their staying power or struggled to build a promising program.

32. Dennis Allen (Saints)

Season: 3rd with Saints, 6th as head coach
Career record: 24-46 | Playoffs: N/A

Allen’s proven time and again he can deliver a tough defense. In more than four years as an NFL head coach, however, he’s yet to deliver a single playoff appearance, skewing conservative in crunch time. New Orleans has delayed a total rebuild to give him an experienced roster, and yet he’s struggled to shake the notion he’s simply holding the top job because of close ties to predecessor Sean Payton.

31. Jerod Mayo (Patriots)

Season: 1st with Patriots, 1st as head coach
Career record: N/A | Playoffs: N/A

At 38, Mayo at least projects a more transparent and inviting personality than longtime predecessor Bill Belichick. He also had a direct hand in New England’s feisty defenses of recent years. Still, it’s hard to know if he’ll be enough of a needed pivot from the previous regime’s old-school philosophies when, in many ways, he’s simply an extension of that regime.

30. Brian Callahan (Titans)

Season: 1st with Titans, 1st as head coach
Career record: N/A | Playoffs: N/A

Did Callahan make the quarterbacks, or did the quarterbacks make Callahan? In truth it’s not that black or white, but much of the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator’s appeal as a head man stems from his linkups with greats like Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and more recently Joe Burrow. His offensive focus should at least be a welcome changeup in Tennessee.

29. Robert Saleh (Jets)

Season: 4th with Jets, 4th as head coach
Career record: 18-33 | Playoffs: N/A

Is Saleh well-liked in the building? Is he still a master of defensive orchestration? The answer is probably yes on both accounts. He and general manager Joe Douglas, however, have overseen more of a reality show than a reliable football operation in New York, most infamously hitching multiple playoff-caliber teams to Zach Wilson. Aaron Rodgers was probably right that everyone’s job depends on his return to glory.

28. Antonio Pierce (Raiders)

Season: 1st with Raiders, 1st as head coach*
Career record: 5-4 | Playoffs: N/A

*Note: Pierce served as interim head coach for the Raiders to close 2023

Las Vegas’ interim coach to close 2023, Pierce is trying to buck a trend of promoted fill-ins failing to sustain the momentum of their abrupt arrivals. With just six combined years of college and NFL coaching experience, he’s a true unknown. Team leaders bought into his fiery personality on the fly, however, so if he can eventually get quarterback figured out, maybe the underdog story will escalate.

27. Jonathan Gannon (Cardinals)

Season: 2nd with Cardinals, 2nd as head coach
Career record: 4-13 | Playoffs: N/A

His 2023 debut was predictably a mixed bag; a last-minute quarterback shuffle preceded a 1-8 start, but his group was unusually competitive, even with Kyler Murray fresh off ACL rehab, down the stretch. With a lineup still under construction, it’s fair to wonder how far his Cardinals can leap in Year 2. His hard-nosed, sometimes-quirky leadership appears to be trending up, though.

26. Matt Eberflus (Bears)

Season: 3rd with Bears, 3rd as head coach
Career record: 10-24 | Playoffs: N/A

Perhaps no coach will benefit more from a personnel overhaul in 2024, with Caleb Williams and a trove of proven weapons coming aboard this offseason. Chicago is also betting on Eberflus’ recent returns as a defensive mind. After an ugly one-and-a-half years that included in-season staff turnover and mercurial offense, his “D” finally came to life late in 2023, threatening a wild-card push.

25. Mike Macdonald (Seahawks)

Season: 1st with Seahawks, 1st as head coach
Career record: N/A | Playoffs: N/A

The youngest head coach in the NFL at 36, Macdonald doesn’t come off as the new kid on the block, in part because of his training under football greats in John and Jim Harbaugh. How he outfits the offense will be a question, but he registers as a perfect fit for the other side of the ball, fresh off back-to-back seasons leading a top-five scoring defense with the Baltimore Ravens.

24. Dave Canales (Panthers)

Season: 1st with Panthers, 1st as head coach
Career record: N/A | Playoffs: N/A

Carolina has grown a reputation as dangerously impatient when it comes to head coaches under owner David Tepper, but Canales’ arrival could represent a genuine step in the other direction — and a perfect partner for 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young. Just 43, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator oversaw career revivals from Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield in successive seasons.

23. Raheem Morris (Falcons)

Season: 1st with Falcons, 4th as head coach
Career record: 21-38 | Playoffs: N/A

Morris, who also went 4-7 as the Falcons’ interim coach in 2020, was only 32 when the Buccaneers hired him back in 2009. More than a decade later, he’s re-earned a top job with widely revered character and smart defense, best exemplified with the Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams. Paired with ex-Rams colleague Zac Robinson in Atlanta, he could make his own quick march to the postseason.

Class B: Accomplished, with questions

These coaches aren’t necessarily slam-dunk bets to go the distance, either due to lack of experience, uneven stretches or recent woes, but they’ve shown enough to warrant more time and belief.

22. Todd Bowles (Buccaneers)

Season: 3rd with Buccaneers, 7th as head coach
Career record: 43-58 | Playoffs: 1-2

Bowles, who also went 2-1 as the Miami Dolphins’ interim in 2011, isn’t entirely dissimilar from his NFC South counterpart Dennis Allen in that his physical defense tends to mask more conservative game-management calls for a borderline wild-card contender. Still, in the last four years, he’s won a Super Bowl ring and led a playoff win of his own, giving him a touch more authority.

21. Brian Daboll (Giants)

Season: 3rd with Giants, 3rd as head coach
Career record: 15-18-1 | Playoffs: 1-1

A tough nut to crack after two wildly different seasons to open his Big Blue tenure, Daboll was a rightful Coach of the Year in 2022, rejuvenating Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley en route to a surprise playoff run, only to slip as both a situational play-caller and sideline maestro in 2023. Once again the onus will be on him maximizing Jones and a still-rebuilding offense in the tough NFC East.

Season: 1st with Commanders, 7th as head coach
Career record: 43-42 | Playoffs: 3-2 (0-1 in Super Bowls)

Washington saw firsthand how much Quinn’s Dallas Cowboys defense excelled as a ball-hawking unit, and the club’s simultaneous infusion of veteran players should aid his debut. The question is, does Quinn really register as a step forward after Ron Rivera? His teams are feisty, but he hasn’t led a winning season as a head coach since 2017, before his old Falcons fizzled to 18-23 from 2018-2020.

19. Shane Steichen (Colts)

Season: 2nd with Colts, 2nd as head coach
Career record: 9-8 | Playoffs: N/A

The former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator was dealt a potentially fatal hand in 2023, with dynamic rookie Anthony Richardson lasting just four games due to injury. Steichen tailored the offense to backup Gardner Minshew and nearly made the playoffs anyway. Now comes the hard part: Restarting the Richardson project and sustaining the peaks of his debut-season play-calling.

18. Sean Payton (Broncos)

Season: 2nd with Broncos, 17th as head coach
Career record: 160-98 | Playoffs: 9-8 (1-0 in Super Bowls)

There might not be a tougher coach to place, perhaps because Payton’s become so polarizing. Once the vaunted leader of a hyper-efficient New Orleans Saints contender, he’s managed a single playoff victory in his last four years as a head coach, and now he’s resetting the table in Denver, likely with a rookie quarterback in Bo Nix.

17. Mike McCarthy (Cowboys)

Season: 5th with Cowboys, 18th as head coach
Career record: 167-102-2 | Playoffs: 11-11 (1-0 in Super Bowls)

From a resume standpoint, McCarthy deserves higher billing; his 167 career wins rank 18th all time, and his Super Bowl peak proves he can win on the ultimate stage. The issue is that, even provided an all-star setup in Dallas, his offensive touch has recently and consistently struggled to translate when it matters most: Despite three straight 12-win seasons, his Cowboys are 1-3 in playoff competition.

16. Doug Pederson (Jaguars)

Season: 3rd with Jaguars, 8th as head coach
Career record: 60-53-1 | Playoffs: 5-3 (1-0 in Super Bowls)

Nothing, it seems, is ever boring when it comes to Pederson’s teams: He experienced ultimate highs (a Super Bowl triumph) and lows (an early dismissal) in Philadelphia before rejuvenating Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville, only to then oversee a turnover-riddled step back in 2023. The player-friendly pizzazz remains, but he’s got to prove again he’s got an innovative handle on the offense.

15. Nick Sirianni (Eagles)

Season: 4th with Eagles, 4th as head coach
Career record: 34-17 | Playoffs: 2-3 (0-1 in Super Bowls)

How does a guy with the second-best win percentage among active coaches end up 15th just two years after leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs? Look no further than the 2023 collapse, in which his brash personality only exacerbated a 1-7 finish that included and preceded major staff upheaval. With new top assistants, the pressure’s on to capitalize on an all-star roster.

14. Zac Taylor (Bengals)

Season: 6th with Bengals, 6th as head coach
Career record: 37-44-1 | Playoffs: 5-2 (0-1 in Super Bowls)

A fair question regarding Taylor had centered on the coach’s ability to elevate Cincinnati without a healthy Joe Burrow, but he finally provided a bit of an answer in 2023, keeping the Bengals in the playoff hunt while Burrow nursed yet another ailment. After back-to-back AFC Championship bids starting in 2022, however, he could really stand to benefit from his signal-caller staying upright.

Class A: The best in the game

These coaches are not flawless, and some are under more pressure than others, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any team who wouldn’t rush to hire them if they were available, given their strengths.

13. DeMeco Ryans (Texans)

Season: 2nd with Texans, 2nd as head coach
Career record: 10-7 | Playoffs: 1-1

Ryans had been deemed a future head coach as far back as his days roaming NFL turf as a linebacker, and he delivered on the promise in his first year guiding Houston, ceding the offense to Bobby Slowik and MVP-like rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, while maximizing youngsters on his preferred side of the ball. Meeting even loftier expectations, perhaps with more aggressive in-game calls, is the next challenge.

12. Kevin O’Connell (Vikings)

Season: 3rd with Vikings, 3rd as head coach
Career record: 20-14 | Playoffs: 0-1

Few coaches have proven to be cooler characters in their first two years on the job; after infusing optimistic belief in a surprising 13-4 debut that saw Minnesota escape one tight game after another, O’Connell was equally as trustworthy in 2023, when a rash of quarterback injuries didn’t derail the franchise’s morale. His pass-oriented offense is perfect for their young, talented lineup.

11. Mike McDaniel (Dolphins)

Season: 3rd with Dolphins, 3rd as head coach
Career record: 20-14 | Playoffs: 0-2

Like his quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, McDaniel is suddenly under some pressure to come up big in key spots, which is justified considering the unmatched track speed his offense possesses. Still, it’s important to remember how much — and how quickly — his timing-based attack vaulted Tagovailoa and Co. into MVP discussions. Two postseason tickets in two years suggests he’s here to stay as a head man.

10. Kevin Stefanski (Browns)

Season: 5th with Browns, 5th as head coach
Career record: 37-30 | Playoffs: 1-2

So much of Cleveland’s trajectory is tied to Deshaun Watson, which doesn’t necessarily bode well considering the quarterback’s unpredictable availability. Fortunately, Stefanski has proven adaptable as leader of the offense, taking pressure off Baker Mayfield back in 2020 and then coaxing a playoff bid out of an aging Joe Flacco in 2023. If Watson is mercurial, then Stefanski is the club’s steady hand.

9. Sean McDermott (Bills)

Season: 8th with Bills, 8th as head coach
Career record: 73-41 | Playoffs: 5-6

There are strong shades of early career Andy Reid in McDermott, a literal Reid disciple: Pressure is mounting for him to finally take an elite quarterback and annual contender to the promised land, and yet his track record as calming voice is hard to deny, with six playoff bids in seven years on the job. Whether Josh Allen can elevate a remade offensive supporting cast could go a long way in determining his future.

8. Dan Campbell (Lions)

Season: 4th with Lions, 4th as head coach
Career record: 29-33-1 | Playoffs: 2-1

Campbell, who also went 5-7 as the Dolphins’ interim in 2015, opened his Motown career as more of a mascot than a game-changer, giving a win-deprived Lions club some surface-level zeal. As time has gone on, however, his unflinching aggression has seeped throughout the organization, pairing perpetual boldness with a gradually improved roster. His commitment to the bit may have contributed to the Lions’ heartbreaking 2023 finish, but it also advanced the club to the point of being an actual contender.

7. Jim Harbaugh (Chargers)

Season: 1st with Chargers, 5th as head coach
Career record: 44-19-1 | Playoffs: 5-3 (0-1 in Super Bowls)

On one hand, Harbaugh’s been out of the NFL for a decade, and, in fact, has just four seasons of pro head-coaching experience under his belt. On the other, he’s been an undisputed victor at every spot, with 16 winning seasons in 20 years as a head man, including three NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance during his San Francisco 49ers days. L.A. is bound to be more disciplined under his watch.

6. Mike Tomlin (Steelers)

Season: 18th with Steelers, 18th as head coach
Career record: 173-100-2 | Playoffs: 8-10 (1-1 in Super Bowls)

There’s a little bit of a late-stage Bill Belichick conundrum happening here: Tomlin is an all-timer, forever averse to losing seasons and always getting late-year fight from even battered rosters. How much, however, are his locker-room gravitas and career resume masking the fact he hasn’t led a playoff win in literally eight years? At the very least, you always know his Steelers will be a tough out.

5. Matt LaFleur (Packers)

Season: 6th with Packers, 6th as head coach
Career record: 56-27 | Playoffs: 3-4

Critics dinged his sterling record early on simply because he had MVP-level Aaron Rodgers at his disposal, but then LaFleur went and nearly guided Jordan Love and a group of young receivers to the NFC title game in 2023. He could stand to shore up the defensive staffing, sure, and maybe get even more aggressive on the big stage. There’s little to critique about the ways he deploys versatile skill weapons, however, and it might not be long before he’s actually back in the Super Bowl conversation.

4. John Harbaugh (Ravens)

Season: 17th with Ravens, 17th as head coach
Career record: 160-99 | Playoffs: 12-10 (1-0 in Super Bowls)

His 2012 Super Bowl title seems like a lifetime ago, if only because the Lamar Jackson-era Ravens have reached just one AFC Championship. Is there some pressure to get over the hump with the current setup? Sure. Yet has any coach not named Andy Reid proven so adaptable in terms of both offensive and defensive scheming and philosophy? From transitioning to Jackson from the Joe Flacco days to shepherding multiple top-level coordinators, he’s one of the NFL’s most consistent CEOs.

3. Kyle Shanahan (49ers)

Season: 8th with 49ers, 8th as head coach
Career record: 64-51 | Playoffs: 8-4 (0-2 in Super Bowls)

Shanahan has built a steady warhorse in San Francisco, positioning himself for plenty more Super Bowl candidacies. He’s sometimes refused to trust his precious offense in big spots, but the seamlessness with which he assembled NFC-winning play calls and personnel around both Jimmy Garoppolo and now Brock Purdy suggests he’s the most quarterback-friendly leader in the game this side of Andy Reid. Four times in the last five years, his balanced attacks have either reached the conference final or Super Bowl. One of these days, especially with Purdy just settling in as an MVP type, he may well finally hoist the trophy.

2. Sean McVay (Rams)

Season: 8th with Rams, 8th as head coach
Career record: 70-45 | Playoffs: 7-4 (1-1 in Super Bowls)

It’s a near-tossup between McVay and his NFC West counterpart in the top three. Once looking like a safe bet to retire young following a stark post-Super Bowl regression, the former rediscovered his fast ball overseeing a new crew around Matthew Stafford in 2023. While he’s not nearly as aggressive in-game as his reputation suggests, McVay remains a standard-setter for offensive design, he’s delivered on the big stage, and his hires on the other side of the ball have proven solid as well. Five playoff trips and two Super Bowl bids in seven years? That’s gold.

1. Andy Reid (Chiefs)

Season: 12th with Chiefs, 25th as head coach
Career record: 258-144-1 | Playoffs: 26-16 (3-2 in Super Bowls)

No question here. Once the template for great-but-not-elite coaches overseeing the Eagles’ close-but-no-cigar runs of the 2000s, Reid has completely entrenched himself as a future Hall of Famer in Kansas City, melding the superstar traits of quarterback Patrick Mahomes with constant offensive wrinkles and a warranted trust of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He and the Chiefs are the contemporary version of Belichick and the Patriots, except with more fireworks, and their unflinching ability to adapt from high-octane attack to disciplined crunch-time strategy sets them well above the rest. Whether his guys need to win in a shootout or by playing ugly, they’ll come through when it counts.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top