NFL Power Rankings: The Top 16 Worst Coaches to Play for in the League

Lake CruiseAnalyst IJanuary 26, 2011

NFL Power Rankings: The Top 16 Worst Coaches to Play for in the League

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    Some of these head coaches in the NFL need a hug when it comes to dealing with their own Pro Bowl players and assistants.

    Some of the coaches ranked here could've made the NFL's top 16 best coaches to work for list.  Others treat everyone the same—with a blatant disregard for human emotion.

    Even the cheerleaders find it hard to smile around these types of coaches.

    Smile with me as I count down the top 16 NFL head coaches who are most in need of hugs.  

16. Ron Rivera: Carolina Panthers

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    The Panthers finished with a record of 2-14 last season.  Rivera is replacing John Fox who signed with the Denver Broncos—a promotion for Fox in terms of wins and losses. 

    Carolina plays in a decent climate, but it remains to be seen what the new coach brings to the table.

15. Pat Shurmur: Cleveland Browns

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    As the new head coach in town, he will be under pressure to perform—with Mike Holmgren looking over his shoulder.  Pressure busts pipes. 

    Shurmur is the 13th head coach in Cleveland's pipeline—the fifth since 1999.  His uncle Fritz handled pressure well.  He won two NFC Championships and a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Packers in the 1990s. 

    Unlike his uncle, Pat gets his guru stripes on the offensive side of the ball.  It'll be hard work in a tough division.  The fun will come further down the line most likely.

14. Chan Gailey: Buffalo Bills

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    A likely story, his coaching style is to ride with you as long as you don’t make any mistakes.  He will draft a running back in the first round when he has two outstanding ones already. 

    He and upper management combined will keep you winless for just about as long as you like.

13. Tony Sparano: Miami Dolphins

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    Besides winning a bunch of games, South Beach could cure a lot of ills in the relationships between players and coaches.   

    Consider this case, though.  With Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick ruling the division, how much faith would you as a player really have in Sparano to win the AFC East? 

    Case closed.

12. John Fox: Denver Broncos

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    Becoming the 14th head coach in their history, he joined the Denver Broncos courtesy of legendary quarterback and current team official John Elway.

    The team formerly known as "Orange Crush" is now navy nobodies in the NFL championship picture.  They had a woeful record and would be demoted to the second tier league if this were English football.

    Remains to be seen what will happen, but a new coach likes to lay down the law in favor of a different direction and team culture.

11. Jim Schwartz: Detroit Lions

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    Judging by the two combatants in the NFC Championship Game 2011—the Bears and Packers—the Detroit Lions compete in the NFL's best division.

    The Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings could all contend for the playoffs next year.  The Lions players will have fun, though, because the pressure is on the rest of the NFC North.

    Detroit is coming up from being one of the worst franchises in terms of winning in the last few NFL years.  The come up is fun, but players eventually want to win.

10. Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys

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    The Cowboys played much better under his reign last season.  He changed a few things in terms of practice and culture and it worked. 

    I imagine the players were so tired of Wade Phillips anyone would have been inspiring. 

    We’ll see what’s up next season, but consider this.  Flozell Adams was cut by Dallas last year, and he signed with Pittsburgh.  Now the five-time Pro Bowl tackle is starting for the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

    He found the comraderie in Pittsburgh so different from Dallas that he couldn't believe players on defense hung out—off-the-field—with players on offense.

    Yikes.  If that doesn't send a red flag up to a potential free-agent, then what will?  Maybe the possibility of Jerry Jones as an assistant head coach. 

9. Jeff Fisher: Tennessee Titans

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    The longest tenured coach in the NFL with one team, he must be doing something right.  The prospects for winning in Tennessee ain't right but stranger things have happened.

    He isn't afraid to lay down the law—ask Albert Hainsworth and Vince Young.  For wayward Titans running afoul of Fisher, beware of dog.

    He will dog you and ban you from the facility quicker than a bulldog's bark.

8. Norv Turner: San Diego Chargers

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    There are certainties in life—death, taxes and Turner’s football teams starting in the mud. 

    He’ll get you off to a slow start and have to play catch up to make the playoffs, but you’ll have fun doing it—unless you miss the playoffs after shunning LaDainian Tomlinson. 


7. Gary Kubiak: Houston Texans

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    He’s coached under some legends and racked impressive statistics as an offensive coordinator.  As the Texans head coach since 2002—the only one in franchise history— he’s yet to take them to the playoffs.

    They were expected to make it there this year.  Were we wrong or what?  Yes, indeed. 

6. Tom Coughlin: New York Giants

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    To say the New York Giants coach is a bit rigid is an understatement.  Two of his players allegedly went public to say they wish he was more like Rex Ryan.

    Executive administrators and the front office staff were heard talking around the water cooler when Coughlin told them they were three minutes late to a team meeting.  Turns out it was a player's only meeting about tolerating the coach.  That's a joke. 


Jim Caldwell: Indianapolis Colts

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    Questionable decisions including puzzling timeouts and laying down for the N.Y. Jets in 2009 before the playoffs with an undefeated season on the line.

    Enough said.  Next.

4. Todd Haley: Kansas City Chiefs

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    He’ll get your team a few wins and a division title, but he'll run off the offensive coordinator on you—allegedly.  I heard Marshall Faulk speaking about Charlie Weiss abruptly leaving Kansas City.  Faulk suggested it could be due to Haley's track record of running offensive coordinators off. 

    I'm not saying what Faulk said is true.  If Haley, however, will run an assistant coach off, then he'll run a player off.  I'm just saying. 

3. Ken Whisenhunt: Arizona Cardinals

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    Ken Whisenhunt dissed and dismissed Matt Leinert in favor of Derek Anderson.  Leinert ended up with the Houston Texans after making statements detrimental to Whisenhunt's Super Bowl return.

    Leinert believed he was the better quarterback and should be the starter, and he said so in public.  His other questionable moves in the past probably contributed to him leaving Arizona.  His statements, however, seemed to break the Cardinals back.  

    After he said what he said, he was gone quicker than a Super Bowl minute.

2. Bill Belichick: New England Patriots

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    Accused of being a media control freak, who levies fines and punishments to employees of the month, he is a rare gem.  Nicknamed "The Hoodie," all of his players are like a factory in their statements to the media. 

    Cookie-cutter statements seem to be the opposite of what NFL players want out of dealing with the media these days.  They want coaches who allow them to freely speak.  That means the old school guard is giving way to brash and trash-talking coaches.

    Randy Moss and Wes Welker were those trash-talking employees of the month. 

1. Mike Shanahan: Washington Redskins

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    Like a father with poor communications skills, he publicly humiliates some of his players to establish his unquestioned authority.  Albert Hainsworth and Donovan McNabb come to mind. 

    His battle with Hainsworth was a distraction all year.  The way he treated McNabb also became a distraction.  A few lies to the press later, and Shanahan had a major player-coach relationship crisis.

    Now the NFL watches for what will happen with the Redskins in terms of potential free-agent signings.   

    Rex Grossman is waiting in the wings.