We are getting a little closer to playing football again in 2012.
Last summer, we all had to wait for the lockout to end in order to get the 2011 season under way, but not this year.
The NFL is free and clear of that obstacle and teams will gear up for their upcoming season.
Which means the head coaches have begun working overtime in their preparation on how they can build their team a championship contender.
Some coaches are really good at preparing, others can motivate, while others are still gaining the hang of being the head of an NFL franchise.
In this slideshow, we will rank all 32 of the current head coaches and determine who are the best ones in the league right now.
Find out where your team's coach is in these power rankings. Enjoy.
Career record: 0-0
Dennis Allen will get his chance in 2012 to coach the Oakland Raiders in the post-Al Davis era.
Allen was the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos and impressed their rival AFC West competitors into giving the 39-year old his first opportunity to coach in the league.
It's been like a coaching carousel in Oakland with Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson not lasting long in Oakland.
How will Allen do with the Raiders?
Career record: 0-0
Another first time head coach in the NFL with Chuck Pagano, taking over in Indianapolis as part of the post-Peyton Manning era.
In the off-season, owner Jim Irsay cleaned house in Indy, letting go of key players like Manning, Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Jeff Saturday, Pierre Garcon, and also let go of head coach Jim Caldwell.
Pagano was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, and did a tremendous job with their pass defense, as it was ranked fourth in the league.
Pagano will get to coach Andrew Luck though, which should be exciting for the rookie head coach.
Pagano has a lot of work ahead of him.
Career record: 0-0
The third rookie head coach in 2012; Joe Philbin gets to attempt to try and re-establish winning in Miami.
The Dolphins did their best to run Tony Sparano out of town, which they were able to do. Todd Bowles was the interim coach, but he was never really seen as the long-term plan.
The Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator did a magnificent job running the NFL's number one offense in 2011 and gets a lot of credit in the development with Aaron Rodgers.
Now a head coach, Philbin will attempt to do the same with the Dolphins and their new quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
Can Philbin bring the success of Green Bay down to Miami?
Career record: 0-0
The Raheem Morris tenure in Tampa Bay ended abruptly last season, falling out of favor with management, which lead to his firing and a search for a new coach.
A lot of people thought it was going to be Marty Schottenheimer, but Tampa shocked the world when they decided to go with a fresh face in Greg Schiano
The former Rutgers head coach will now attempt his luck in the NFL.
Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino and Steve Spurrier didn't have much success in the NFL and they bolted real quick back to college.
Pete Carroll is in his second stint with the league after leaving USC for Seattle.
Will Schiano have any luck? Or will he be like Saban, Petrino and Spurrier and be coaching college again in the near future?
Career record: 6-16
It hasn't been pretty for Leslie Frazier' short tenure in Minnesota.
When he took over for Brad Childress in 2010, the team finished 3-3, but had some promise.
However, in Frazier's first full season with the team, they had a horrific season, going 3-13 and looked like anything but the team that was a contender for the last couple of seasons.
Don't be surprised if Frazier is on the hot seat in 2012 if they have another season like they did in 3-13, because he could end up looking for a defensive coordinator job real soon if Vikings owner Zygi Wilf loses patience with him.
Career record: 4-12
Pat Shurmur's rookie season in the NFL was one to be forgotten about.
It was filled with chaos, confusion and a lot of injuries, which lead to a 4-12 record in 2011.
Now in year two, Shurmur will get some new blood onto the team with Mike Holmgren drafting Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The drafting of Weeden signals that Colt McCoy's era in Cleveland may be a very short-lived one if they doesn't start winning very soon.
Shurmur had a hand in Sam Bradford's development and he'll get another opportunity to mold another new NFL quarterback with Weeden.
Career record: 14-18
Mike Mularkey hasn't been a head coach since 2005, where he was with the Buffalo Bills.
Since then, he's been an offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins and most recently, with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mularkey has been grooming Matt Ryan into the quarterback he is today and did a very good job guiding the Falcons offense over the last three years.
Now, Mularkey will get his second crack at an NFL head coaching job with Jacksonville and their quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.
Jack Del Rio's time with the team ran out and didn't end well.
Mularkey has his work cut out for him with this rebuilding project of a team.
Career record: 6-10
Ron Rivera's first season in the NFL was better than most expected it to be.
After taking over for long-time head coach John Fox, Rivera knew he was coming into a franchise that had rebuilding written all over it.
But, he did get to witness first-hand his quarterback and first-round draft pick Cam Newton take the league by storm with his exciting play.
With Newton, the Panthers became an exciting team to watch again and one people tuned in to see whenever on TV.
Now in year two, it'll be interesting to see if the league figures out Newton with Rivera's scheme, or if Carolina takes the next step forward in developing into a potential contender again.
Career record: 9-7
Of the rookie head coaches in 2011, Mike Munchak had perhaps the best season out of all of them with a 9-7 record.
He has spent most of his professional life with the organization, first as a starting offensive lineman from 1982-1993, then as an offensive line coach until last season, where he had the task of taking over for long-time coach Jeff Fisher.
Munchak didn't have star wide receiver Kenny Britt for most of the year with an injury, and Chris Johnson has yet to live up to the contract he demanded, yet Munchak got a 9-7 record out of this team.
He has a lot of solid talent on his team and in an AFC South division where the division is basically wide open now that the Colts have basically been dethroned, the Titans have a chance to move back into being AFC playoff contenders again.
Career record: 28-36
Playoff record: 0-2
Chan Gailey was one of the unlikely candidates to take over Buffalo after they had fired Dick Jauron and decided not to bring back interim coach Perry Fewell after the 2009 season.
Gailey's last NFL job was serving as the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs in 2008, but then head coach Todd Haley relieved Gailey of his play-calling duties.
Now as the head of the Bills, Gailey has yet to have a successful season, going 10-22 in his first two seasons.
Gailey might find himself in the hot seat if the team doesn't turn around in 2012 and he may end up being an offensive coordinator again if it doesn't work out in Buffalo.
Career record: 47-49
Playoff record: 2-3
I always find it strange that Pete Carroll is in the NFL again. But he is, mostly because USC was in a heap of trouble and Carroll abandoned the ship before suffering any further trouble.
In his first two seasons in Seattle, he's 14-18. He did win the NFC West in 2010 with a 7-9 record and even won a playoff game against the defending champion New Orleans Saints.
Year two was the same result with a 7-9 record, but not good enough to win the division because of how improved the 49ers became in the NFC West.
Carroll will have a chance to guide Matt Flynn's career as the starting quarterback, as Seattle won the bidding for the former Packers free agent backup.
Will Carroll be able to produce a winning season in Seattle, or will he have a third consecutive losing season in Seattle?
His job security may depend on it.
Career record: 26-41
I've always liked Romeo Crennel.
He got his career going with the Giants as an assistant for 11 years, then again with the Patriots as the defensive coordinator for three championship teams before getting his first shot as a head coach in Cleveland.
With the Browns, it wasn't the best tenure. He did have one winning season in 2007 when they went 10-6, but Cleveland still wasn't very successful and let him go after 2008.
Letting him go for Eric Mangini may not have been the best move because he was worse for the Browns.
After Cleveland, Crennel got another chance to run a defense under Todd Haley in Kansas City, and helped guide their defense to a division title in 2010.
In 2011, when Haley was fired after Week 14, Crennel got a chance to coach the last three weeks of the season, going 2-1 in that span.
The players really responded to Crennel and played hard for him, which is what made them remove the interim tag off the 65-year old and gave him the job on a permanent basis.
Hopefully his second stint as a head coach will go better than his first one.
Career record: 13-11
While as the offensive coordinator under Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett was one of the hottest coaching candidates in the NFL.
He passed up at least four jobs to stay with Dallas and finally got the opportunity to be the head coach when Phillips got fired mid-season in 2010.
Garrett finished the rest of the season 5-3 after the team started out 1-7, giving Cowboy fans hope that Garrett had Dallas in the right direction.
In 2011, the Cowboys started out 7-4 and looked like they were going to win the NFC East with the Giants struggling.
But then they finished 8-8, ending 2011 with a 1-4 record and losing to the Giants twice in games what could have locked up the division, but instead, stunk down the stretch and on the last day of the season with the division on the line, Dallas looked like a team that gave up.
Don't be surprised if Garrett is on the hot seat if Dallas doesn't improve off their horrible finish to 2011.
Career record: 47-49
Playoff record: 1-1
Before 2011, Gary Kubiak' tenure in Houston was not a very good one and was filled with disappointment despite the talent.
Then in 2011, the balance of power shifted due to the loss of Peyton Manning for the season in Indianapolis.
And, Kubiak hired former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips to help turn their defense around, which he was able to.
With Phillips guiding the defense and the talent living up to their potential, Kubiak won the Texans first ever division with a 10-6 record and a playoff berth.
Kubiak went from being on the hot seat to saving his job with the division title and could really secure some more job security with a second one in 2012.
Career record: 107-113-1
Playoff record: 4-4
I'm convinced Norv Turner has nine lives, because I've expected him to get fired on numerous occasions with the Chargers.
San Diego always comes into every season with Super Bowl hype, but never quite make it to the finish line.
Under Turner, their best finish was losing in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots, who were 17-0 at the time.
Although, under Turner, the Chargers have never finished below .500 while he's been the head coach, but people expect more from San Diego with the talent they have there.
Turner somehow managed to keep his job for 2012. He may need a miracle run this season to keep it.
Career record: 40-40
Playoff record: 4-2
2012 could be a make or break year for Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona.
It's the fourth year since the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl and the third year where they at least made the playoffs.
Ever since Kurt Warner retired from the NFL following the 2009 season, the Cardinals have looked like a different team. With Warner, the Cardinals looked like a true contender.
Without Warner, the team is still trying to figure out its identity.
They tried with Kevin Kolb, who went 3-6, and they also tried with John Skelton, who finished 5-2 for Arizona.
Whisenhunt has to figure out if Kolb is the future at quarterback in Arizona, or if he's another bust like Matt Leinart was, which lead to Warner taking over the team.
The team invested a lot of time and money in Kolb, and I think Whisenhunt has too, which might decide his future if the Cardinals don't start winning again.
Career record: 18-30
Playoff record: 0-1
Jim Schwartz has done a hell of a job turning around the Detroit Lions from an 0-16 failure to a playoff contender.
For the first time in 12 years, the Lions made it to the postseason under Schwartz, despite losing the the Saints in the opening round.
Despite that, it was still the first step in moving forward for Detroit under their head coach, who has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball that he's helped develop.
He's got a good quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who he has helped become better each year in the league.
He's also got Ndamukong Suh, who has the potential to be one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the sport if he can learn to be a little more mature.
So far, Schwartz has made the fans in Detroit forget the Matt Millen era, but he's still got a lot of work to do in order to make Detroit an championship powerhouse in the NFC.
Right now, they're a playoff contender. In a few years, they could be even better.
Career record: 43-21
Playoff record: 0-3
Since taking the job in Atlanta in 2008, Mike Smith has done a very good job in making Atlanta an NFC contender again.
When Smith was a rookie head coach, his quarterback was too; Matt Ryan, and they have had a good run in their first four seasons.
But the playoffs have been a different story.
With the Falcons, Smith is 0-3, and they've all been blowout losses against teams with high-scoring offenses (Cardinals, Packers, Giants).
If Smith had won a couple of playoff games in his tenure, he might be higher up on the list.
But until he does so, right around here is where he goes.
Eventually, I think with Ryan leading his team and the high-powered offense at the Georgie Dome, they eventually will crack that win column in the postseason.
Career record: 71-57
Playoff record: 3-3
Lovie Smith has been very close with the Bears, but just not quite.
He's gotten them to two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, but no Lombardi Trophy.
Before he got Jay Cutler, he had Rex Grossman as his quarterback and somehow managed to get him to Super Bowl XLI against the Colts back in 2006.
Now he has Jay Cutler, who got him to the 2010 NFC Championship Game, but lost to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers.
Now Chicago has brought in Brandon Marshall to help out the offense that needed a playmaker receiver.
Anytime I think Smith will be on the hot seat for the Bears, they win the division and win a few games in January and he avoids getting canned.
I think Chicago has a turnaround season in 2012 to keep Smith off the hot seat.
Career record: 69-74-1
Playoff record: 0-3
I ranked Marvin Lewis higher up on here for the outstanding job he did in 2011.
He lost his starting quarterback because he didn't want to play in Cincinnati anymore and lost his starting wide receiver.
So instead of Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, Lewis had Andy Dalton and A.J. Green lead the Bengals offense and they were able to get to the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
Cincinnati still has yet to win a playoff game in Lewis' tenure, which is why he's not higher up.
But in the nine years that Lewis has been with the team, he's been on the hot seat a few times, but has survived.
And given how great of a coaching job he did in 2011 with a team that many felt was rebuilding, I think really saved his job for the time being.
Career record: 142-120
Playoff record: 5-6
Some people might be surprised to not see Fisher higher up on the list. I once had Fisher has a top five coach in the NFL a few years ago.
But when I looked at Fisher's numbers, he's just above the .500 mark for his career and he's under .500 in the playoffs.
Also, in the 17 years that he was the head coach for the Oilers/Titans, they only made the playoffs six times; not exactly a top-coach in the NFL ratio.
He's got a chance now to move up in the ranks with his new team in St. Louis.
After the Steve Spagnuolo era didn't work, the Rams decided to go with the long-time Titans coach to see if he can turn the team around.
He's got some good, young talent on the team, which is why he chose St. Louis over Miami in his next destination to coach in the NFL.
Career record: 28-20
Playoff record: 4-2
Rex Ryan is on the border of being a top ten NFL head coach, but not just yet.
The reason why I didn't put him there is because of 2011 and the Jets taking two steps back as a unit.
After being in the AFC Championship Game in consecutive years, the Jets went from being a serious contender to pretender.
They did look like they would have a chance to get back to the postseason in 2011 when they were 8-5. But then three straight losses to the Eagles, Giants and Dolphins sunk the Jets to 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
Ryan hasn't exactly made many friends in his first three years while as a head coach by proclaiming that the Jets would win a couple of Super Bowls, that they were the big brothers of New York and he wasn't here to kiss Belichick's rings.
Rex Ryan needs to win a couple of division titles and try to win an AFC Championship Game in order to move up on this list.
Career record: 157-119
Playoff record: 8-5
2 Super Bowls
This is probably the lowest I will rank a Super Bowl winning head coach on the list.
The reason why Mike Shanahan is all the way down here at number 10 is because with Washington, he's failed to make them a playoff contender.
It didn't work out with Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman or John Beck, which is why they drafted Robert Griffin, III with the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Griffin has a ton of hype attached to him coming into the NFL and everyone in the D.C/Maryland area is expecting RG3 to be the savior for the franchise.
Shanahan's best success came with John Elway as his quarterback in Denver.
The question will be, can Shanahan get Elway-like success with his new quarterback in Washington?
Career record: 13-3
Playoff record: 1-1
Going into the 2011 season, everyone was hoping to see improvement with the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh.
They certainly got it, as they went from the bottom of the division to NFC West Champions and a 13-3 record.
Harbaugh is credited with turning around Alex Smith and getting the most out of Vernon Davis, who really emerged in the offense in 2011.
The 49ers defense was also the number-one ranked in the NFL in 2011, allowing 229 points and having a turnover ratio of +28.
In the playoffs, the 49ers had the dramatic comeback against the Saints, but then lost to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
Despite losing, the 49ers are set up to be contenders and the top team in the NFC West for at least the next five years and wouldn't surprise me if they got back to the championship game again.
Career record: 81-79
Playoff record: 6-4
John Fox had a good run with the Carolina Panthers, getting them to a Super Bowl and nearly winning it, but they were in a total rebuilding mode in 2010, and he wasn't going to be in the future plans.
Fox decided to take the job in Denver for 2011 and had to fix what Josh McDaniels tried to ruin.
Fox got the Broncos back to winning again, as they won the AFC West title and even upset the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs.
And what was impressive with the Broncos is that they were doing all of this with Tim Tebow as the quarterback, who at times didn't look like an NFL quarterback, yet somehow found a way to win games.
Fox will get a proven quarterback to lead his team in 2012 with the acquisition of Peyton Manning, which should improve the Denver offense instantly.
With Fox as the coach, the Broncos were already a better team.
With Fox and Manning in Denver, they can be serious contenders in the AFC in 2012.
Career record: 126-81-1
Playoff record: 10-9
There's no arguing the success Andy Reid has had while in Philadelphia.
Of the 13 years he's been the head coach, he's gotten them to the playoffs nine times, won the NFC East title seven times, gotten to five NFC Championship Games, while winning one.
The only thing missing from Reid's resume is the Super Bowl, which they got to back in the 2004 season and lost to the Patriots.
It's the one thing Philly fans are critical of about Reid because they haven't been able to win the big one while he's been the head coach.
In 2011, the Eagles were dubbed "The Dream Team" with their big-time player acquisitions before the season, yet they only finished 8-8 and not in the playoffs.
Fans again looked for Reid to get fired, but didn't.
It's hard to get rid of a coach who has won a lot of games with the team, despite losing four NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl.
Career record: 44-20
Playoff record: 5-4
John Harbaugh had a tough task ahead of him when taking the Ravens job in 2008. He was replacing Brian Billick, who had won the team's only Super Bowl title in history.
Yet, in the first four years with the team, Harbaugh has done a great job in Baltimore, making them an AFC playoff contender every season.
They've been to two AFC Championship Games in the four years and came very close to knocking off the Patriots in the 2011 AFC Championship Game back in January.
Harbaugh has done it with one quarterback manning the ship in Joe Flacco, who has started every game for Baltimore in that span.
He's also had two future Hall of Famers on his defense in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who still play at a high level and bring a lot of leadership to the team.
The next step for Harbaugh is getting past the AFC Championship Game and a crack at the Super Bowl.
Career record: 62-34
Playoff record: 5-3
1 Super Bowl
The loss of Sean Payton for the 2012 season is a tough one for the Saints because he has become of the best in the league.
Say what you want about the whole bounty scandal involving the Saints, himself and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Payton transformed the Saints from an average team into an NFC powerhouse contender.
It helped that he had Drew Brees as his leader and quarterback, but Payton changed the culture of the franchise.
He also helped bring the team's first ever Super Bowl in 2009 by knocking off the Indianapolis Colts, which has cemented his legacy with the team.
This one year suspension from the NFL will eventually blow over, Payton will be back with the team in 2013, continuing to coach them to more NFC South division titles and winning games with Brees.
Career record: 63-33
Playoff record: 5-3
1 Super Bowl
Mike McCarthy won with Brett Favre, but never got to the Super Bowl with him.
McCarthy has won with Aaron Rodgers, and he won Super Bowl XLV with him.
In 2010, the Packers went from being an 8-6 team and on the bubble of the playoffs, won their final two straight games to go to 10-6, and then steam-rolled through the playoffs to win the Super Bowl.
Then in 2011, the Packers got off a 13-0 start before losing their one and only game in the regular season, ending their record at 15-1.
The Packers were thought to be a lock to get back to the Super Bowl, but were knocked off at home to the Giants in January.
Despite the tough loss in the divisional round, Green Bay is still set up be a contender again in 2012 with the team that McCarthy has built, especially the highly-powered offense surrounding Rodgers.
Career record: 55-25
Playoff record: 5-3
1 Super Bowl
Mike Tomlin had the tough task of taking over for Bill Cowher as the Steelers head coach in 2007.
Cowher had established himself as one the NFL's best coaches before he retired after the 2006 season and Tomlin was the young and hungry coach looking to make a name for himself.
In his second season with the team, the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII over the Cardinals with less than a minute to go.
At 36 years old, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl and the second African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl.
Two years later, the Steelers were back in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers, but were defeated by Green Bay.
Of the five years Tomlin has been the coach, the Steelers have been to the playoffs four times, been to two Super Bowls and won one.
Not too bad before the age of 40.
Career record: 142-114
Playoff record: 12-7
2 Super Bowls
For the longest time, I always considered Tom Coughlin the second best coach in the NFL, but after 2011, not anymore.
Now, I consider him tied for the top spot, because he truly has established himself as an elite coach in the league.
Before coming to the Giants, Coughlin won with the Jacksonville Jaguars, getting them to two AFC Championship Games but never to a Super Bowl.
With the Giants, Coughlin has survived being on the hot seat not once, but twice.
After nearly getting fired after the 2006 season, Coughlin's Giants went 10-6, rolled through the NFC playoffs and knocked off the 18-0 Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII.
And then, after dropping to 6-6 and people questioning whether Coughlin should still be coaching, the Giants finish 9-7, win the NFC East title, then steam-rolled again through the NFC playoffs, knocking off the number one-seed Packers and number-two seed 49ers and then pulled off the upset again four years later by beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Coughlin has cemented his legacy in New York, with the Giants organization, and with the fans as one of the best coaches in team history.
And at age 66 next month, Coughlin's not done yet winning with his team.
Career record: 175-97
Playoff record: 17-7
3 Super Bowls
Whether you love him or hate him, Bill Belichick is still one of the league's best coaches.
In the 12 years he's been with the Patriots as the head coach, they've only missed the playoffs three times; two of which where in his first three seasons with the team.
He's won 11 division titles with the team, won five AFC Championship Games and won three Super Bowls.
Belichick has lost his last two Super Bowls to Tom Coughlin and the Giants, but that doesn't take away from how elite of a coach he has been.
As long as Belichick, along with Brady are still in New England running the ship, not only will the Patriots be a contender to win, they'll be a league powerhouse that will contend for a Super Bowl.
Whenever Belichick decides that he is done for his career, he'll have a guaranteed spot in Canton at the Football Hall of Fame for what he's done as a head coach.