NFL Head Coach Power Rankings: Newcomers Have a Lot to Prove in 2019

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2019

NFL Head Coach Power Rankings: Newcomers Have a Lot to Prove in 2019

0 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    What will every NFL team look like in 2019? For the most part, we aren't going to know until at least midseason.

    Yes, we've watched the offseason unfold and we know what the initial 53-man rosters look like. However, there's a big difference between having a talented roster and fielding a successful and cohesive team. A whole lot of that is up to the head coach.

    So, while preseason power rankings are largely guesswork, we can rank the head honchos with some accuracy. And guess what? That's exactly what we're here to do.

    Tangible results were the biggest determining factor. How successful has a coach been? How have his teams fared recently? Factors like coaching style and front-office/team chemistry were also considered, and we leaned on Head Coach Ranking and its 2018 results when comparatively close resumes were involved.

    You know what your favorite team looks like on paper. How confident should you be in the guy leading the charge? Let's find out.

32. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

1 of 32

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is that Kliff Kingsbury has been a head coach before. The bad news is he's never coached in the NFL before, and he's coming off three successive losing seasons at Texas Tech.

    What the Cardinals are banking on is Kingsbury's ability to field an innovative and explosive offense—much like Sean McVay did with the Los Angeles Rams. Of course, there's no guarantee Kingsbury's college-influenced scheme will translate. In fact, there's a good chance it won't.

    "It doesn't allow the defense to play physical like the game was meant to be," Oakland Raiders safety Lamarcus Joyner told ESPN's Lisa Salters. "When you go against offenses like that, you have to introduce that physicality to them because they don't want to do that."

    Kingsbury was at the helm of some prolific college offenses, but he has a rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray and inherited a lackluster roster. Can his style work in the NFL? It's possible, but Kingsbury has a whole lot to prove before he can be considered even a good pro coach.

31. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

2 of 32

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is getting his first opportunity to run an NFL team. While he has no head coaching experience, he has been an offensive coordinator twice—with the Miami Dolphins and the University of Cincinnati.

    Taylor came to the Bengals after spending a season under Sean McVay as the Rams quarterbacks coach. That was a selling point for Cincinnati, as many teams appeared to be looking for the "next McVay" during the offseason.

    However, the fact remains that Taylor has only been a coach for 11 years at any level. The 36-year-old has never run a team before, and he has a good-but-not-great roster. It's worth watching A.J. Green—who is in the last year of his contract—and Andy Dalton this season because Taylor could look to start over with more of his own players in 2020.

30. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

3 of 32

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Again, we find a Sean McVay connection with new Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. Though LaFleur has been coaching since 2003 and mostly in the NFL since 2008, his tenure as Rams offensive coordinator in 2017 likely attracted the Packers.

    Last season, LaFleur was the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, who ranked just 25th in total offense (312.6 yards per game). So, yeah, that McVay link was probably pretty important.

    The big question for LaFleur is whether he can unleash the potential of Hall of Fame-worthy quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was often hampered by Mike McCarthy's unimaginative offense. The coach has taken a good first step by giving Rodgers the freedom to adjust plays at the line.

    "If he sees something, he's got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play," LaFleur said, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

29. Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

4 of 32

    David Richard/Associated Press

    Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens gets a slight edge over Zac Taylor and Matt LaFleur for one reason, but it's a significant one.

    Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator and play-caller midway through last season after Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired. He promptly revamped the Browns offense, unleashing the potential of quarterback Baker Mayfield and helping the Browns finish 5-3.

    His experience with the franchise and existing chemistry with Mayfield and the offense will be huge. Though he was never a coordinator before last season, Kitchens has coached in the NFL since 2006.

    The challenge for Kitchens will be to prove he can handle both big expectations and a roster full of big personalities like Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

28. Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

5 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Like the four previously ranked coaches, Brian Flores has never helmed an NFL team before. What set the Dolphins' new head coach apart was his extensive experience with the most successful franchise in the modern era.

    All 15 of Flores' coaching seasons have come with the Patriots. What's more, he has experience in all three phases of the game. After four years as a scouting assistant and scout, he was a special teams assistant in 2008-09 and an offensive assistant in 2010. He then spent eight seasons as a defensive coach and was the Patriots' defensive play-caller last season.

    Yes, Flores had a big hand in the game plan that won the Patriots their latest Super Bowl.

    The question is whether he can find success with the Dolphins, who have arguably the league's most talent-deficient roster. Perhaps it won't happen this year, but Flores knows what it takes to succeed over the long term.

27. Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

6 of 32

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Of all the first-time head coaches, Vic Fangio is by far the most accomplished. He has coached in the NFL since 1986 save for one season and has been a defensive coordinator with five different teams. As far as recent success goes, he was the architect of the 2018 Chicago Bears defense, which allowed a league-low 17.7 points per game.

    Fangio has never been a head coach before, but he's been around plenty of them.

    Working in Fangio's favor is the fact that the Denver Broncos are very much a defensive team. They may not have the same unit they had during their 2015 championship season, but they have tremendous defensive talents such as Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Chris Harris Jr.

    If Fangio can get the most out of his defense—and a competent campaign out of quarterback Joe Flacco—he should have the Broncos trending in the right direction.

26. Pat Shurmur, New York Giants

7 of 32

    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Where do we even begin with New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur? Should we start with the 5-11 record he produced with the Giants last season or with the 9-23 record he compiled as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12?

    Shurmur has had no success as a head coach, and while he has had success as an offensive play-caller, he hasn't shown it in New York. He failed to adapt his game plan to an aging Eli Manning last season. While Saquon Barkley did have a historic rookie season, it didn't take an offensive genius to know that getting him the ball was the way to go.

    Perhaps a revamped offensive line and the eventual rise of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will allow Shurmur to flourish with the Giants. So far, however, he has the worst head-coaching resume of anyone on this list, and he's ranked ahead of only those who have yet to coach their first games in the role.

25. Adam Gase, New York Jets

8 of 32

    Jim McIsaac/Associated Press

    The New York Jets may have had a couple of reasons to hire Adam Gase this offseason. He's supposed to be a quarterback guru, and he has experience in the AFC East. Given his track record, though, neither of those explanations are good enough to justify the hiring of the retread.

    Gase went just 23-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. He failed to develop Ryan Tannehill into a franchise signal-caller and didn't do a whole lot to boost the offense in general. Miami's offensive rankings in Gase's three seasons were 24th, 25th and 31st.

    As for Gase's being a quarterback whisperer? Well, he helped "guide" Peyton Manning in Denver for three seasons. He helped Jay Cutler achieve a career-high passer rating of 92.3 in Chicago in 2015, so that's something.

    Gase hasn't proved he can turn a quarterback into a star, which is what he'll be asked to do with Sam Darnold. Maybe he will; maybe he won't. Hue Jackson was once considered a quarterback guru too.

24. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins

9 of 32

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    The only reason Jay Gruden isn't ranked even lower is because he has five years of NFL head coaching experience. It would be hard to consider his time with the Washington Redskins successful.

    Since taking over as head coach in 2014, Gruden has made the playoffs just once. The Redskins have gone 35-44-1 in that span. They have one division title but have finished third or fourth in every other year.

    It's a mild surprise Gruden has lasted even this long, though the prospect of working with a rookie quarterback—they turned the No. 15 pick into Dwayne Haskins—may have saved his job after last season. It's almost certainly playoffs-or-bust for Gruden and Washington this season, though.

23. Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions

10 of 32

    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Matt Patricia's first season as head coach of the Detroit Lions wasn't a complete disaster. Detroit picked up some big wins, including two against the rival Packers and one against the Patriots. However, Patricia's inaugural campaign also left a lot to be desired.

    For starters, Patricia was hired to make the Lions a defensive force. They were merely average, though, surrendering 22.5 points per game.

    The winning wasn't consistent enough either, as Detroit finished 6-10. Perhaps an influx of defensive talent—Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman and rookie Jahlani Tavai—will help on both fronts. Patricia was mostly a disappointment in his first season, however, which is why he's ranked the lowest among second-year head coaches.

22. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

11 of 32

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan as their head coach in 2017, not long after he nearly helped lead the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl victory. Atlanta had one of the league's hottest offenses that season, and everyone seems to know Shanahan is an excellent play-caller.

    What we don't know is whether Shanahan can be a good head coach or if he's another in a long line of great coordinators who simply aren't cut out to lead teams.

    You can blame the inconsistency at quarterback if you want—Shanahan has only gotten to work with Jimmy Garoppolo for parts of each season—but the 49ers have not been good in his two years. They're just 10-22 in that span and have not finished higher than third in the NFC West.

21. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans

12 of 32

    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Mike Vrabel appears to be a coach on the rise. The former Patriots player and Houston Texans defensive coordinator took over the Titans and did a whole lot with very little. Despite not having stability at quarterback or a plethora of offensive weapons, Vrabel found ways for his team to scrape together wins.

    Tennessee notched nine of them last season, and it narrowly missed the playoffs. While the Titans weren't the most talented team in football, they were one of the toughest.

    They still have questions at the quarterback position but have upgraded the offensive talent a bit, adding receivers Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown in the offseason. If Tennessee can get more out of its passing attack, the Titans could be a playoff team in 2019. If so, Vrabel will rightfully be climbing the head coaching ranks.

20. Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders

13 of 32

    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Jon Gruden deserves some credit for winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His time as head coach in Tampa and with Oakland before that cannot be overlooked.

    Gruden, however, is largely ranked on his recent coaching success, of which there is little. He went just 22-26 in his final three seasons with the Buccaneers before leaving coaching entirely after 2008. He returned to the Raiders last season and guided them to a disappointing 4-12 campaign.

    Does Gruden still have what it takes to be a champion? He wasn't largely responsible for putting together the roster Oakland fielded last season, though he did have a hand in moves such as the trade of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears.

    Because Gruden has been a successful coach in the past and inherited a bad situation, he ranks much higher than he would if this were his first go-around. Gruden has a lot to prove if he's to again be deemed one of the league's top decision-makers.

19. Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars

14 of 32

    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Doug Marrone deserves a lot of credit for getting the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC title game in 2017. He also deserves some blame for Jacksonville's subsequent collapse and 5-11 record last season—and some Buffalo Bills fans will point out that he deserves some backlash for bailing on that franchise in 2014.

    So is Marrone a good coach or a bad one? The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. While he wasn't responsible for Blake Bortles' quarterback play last season, he wasn't able to mold Jacksonville's talented defense into a unit that produced wins either. Part of being a good coach is having the ability to adapt.

    Including his time with the Bills and as an interim coach with the Jags, Marrone is 31-35. That's average, which is exactly how Marrone is ranked.

18. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

15 of 32

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Has Jason Garrett kept the Dallas Cowboys job because he's a good coach or because he'll play "yes man" to owner Jerry Jones? It's a fair question, and it's one Cowboys fans have probably been long asking.

    Garrett isn't a bad head coach. He's delivered four winning seasons and three playoff appearances since taking over the full-time job in 2011. He was also named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year in 2016.

    Garrett, however, has also brought his fair share of mediocrity. Dallas went 8-8 in his first three seasons and missed the playoffs in two of the last four years. For Garrett to be considered anything more than a mid-tier coach, he has to do better than three playoff appearances in eight seasons.

17. Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans

16 of 32

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Bill O'Brien has coached the Texans to the playoffs in three of his five seasons. That's good, but his record is just 42-38. That's less impressive.

    Perhaps even less impressive is Houston's results in the postseason under O'Brien. It has just one win—over the Connor Cook-led Raiders—and lost its other three playoff games by a combined score of 85-23.

    O'Brien's game-day adjustments have been questionable at best, and his handling of the offense around quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was sacked 62 times last season, is often alarming.

    While O'Brien has been too successful to warrant a coaching change, he hasn't been successful enough to make Houston a title contender. He's shaping up to be the league's next Marvin Lewis.

16. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills

17 of 32

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Bills head coach Sean McDermott deserves a ton of credit for getting Buffalo to the playoffs for the first time this century. That was no small feat, and it's why McDermott kicks off the top half of these rankings.

    It's far too early, however, to consider McDermott an elite coach or even a very good one. He has a losing record (15-17) and has yet to prove he can put a successful team around second-year quarterback Josh Allen.

    The 2019 season is going to go a long way toward how McDermott is viewed. A return trip to the playoffs could prove Buffalo has its franchise quarterback in Allen and the right head coach to lead it into the next decade.

15. Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts

18 of 32

    Frank Victores/Associated Press

    Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich is in the top 15 here despite having only one year on his resume. Even with a healthy Andrew Luck in 2018, Reich overcame a number of difficult challenges last season.

    First of all, he wasn't Indianapolis' initial choice. He only got the job after Josh McDaniels backed out, which meant he had to win over his players. Reich then had to right the ship after a 1-5 start.

    Not only did the Colts rebound, but they made the playoffs and knocked off the division champion Texans. That kind of resiliency is impressive.

    If Reich can coach the Colts back to the postseason in the wake of Luck's surprise retirement, he'll shoot up these rankings.

14. Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

19 of 32

    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Matt Nagy has been a head coach for just one season, but what a season that was. He helped the Bears go 12-4 and narrowly miss out on a playoff bye. That just one year after Chicago put together a five-win campaign.

    For his efforts, Nagy was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year. He also finished ranked fifth by Head Coach Ranking.

    It's hard to put Nagy any higher on this list because we don't know how much of Chicago's success came from him and how much came from since-departed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Nagy, who was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, was hired for his offensive mind. The 2018 Bears were known for their defense.

    It will take a repeat playoff appearance for Nagy to prove he belongs in the top 10.

13. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

20 of 32

    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Ron Rivera has been the head coach of the Carolina Panthers since 2011. Since taking the job, he's led Carolina to three NFC South titles, four playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance. But consistency hasn't exactly been a theme.

    While Rivera's Panthers have made the playoffs four times, they've missed them four times as well. Those three division titles are offset by one fourth-place finish and two third-place finishes. Five of Rivera's campaigns—including one playoff season—have ended with losing records.

    So, while Rivera is definitely a good head coach—teams do not reach the Super Bowl by accident—he's barely one of the better ones in the league. His tenure in Carolina could be determined by how things unfold this year with quarterback Cam Newton returning from shoulder surgery.

    Another losing season could mean the end for Rivera. Another playoff year will likely keep him in charge.

12. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

21 of 32

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Dan Quinn falls firmly into the category of good head coaches. He led the Falcons to a Super Bowl in 2016, and Atlanta has twice made the playoffs over the last three seasons. Quinn hasn't produced a consistent winner, however.

    Injuries bear a lot of the blame for the Falcons missing the playoffs last season. Atlanta also finished just 8-8 in Quinn's first season, so he's missed the playoffs twice as well.

    Then there's the whole 28-3 debacle. Quinn's Falcons had Super Bowl LI all but won before a series of bad offensive and defensive decisions led to a second-half meltdown. A lot of that has to fall on Quinn.

    So, while many teams would be happy to have Quinn, he doesn't fall into the top 10—not yet. Getting the Falcons back into the playoffs would be a great step toward cracking the upper echelon.

11. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

22 of 32

    David Dermer/Associated Press

    Though Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has missed the playoffs three times in five seasons, he's had some big challenges to overcome. For one, he hasn't enjoyed the consistency at quarterback that Quinn and the Falcons have.

    Zimmer helped get the Vikings to the NFC title game with Case Keenum at quarterback, which is remarkable. He also produced an 11-win season with second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center. Last season, the Vikings went 8-7-1 and 3-2-1 in the NFC North with an inconsistent Kirk Cousins at quarterback.

    Perhaps more importantly, Zimmer's players love him. They did when he was defensive coordinator in Cincinnati, and they do in Minnesota.

    "I think he is a phenomenal leader. He's a guy who cares a ton about us as players and about winning, and he's the guy who—we respect him, we love him as our guy, and we want to fight for him," wideout Adam Thielen said, per Tim Yotter of 247Sports.

    Respect and chemistry are not issues for Zimmer and the Vikings. If they ever figure out the quarterback situation, watch out.

10. Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

23 of 32

    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians may be new to the franchise, but he is not new to the job. In fact, he has perhaps the most impressive resume of any coach not firmly inside the top 10, having twice been named the AP NFL Coach of the Year.

    Arians first won the award as interim coach of the Colts in 2012. He won it again while leading the Cardinals to an 11-5 record two years later. He coached Arizona for five seasons, compiling a 49-30-1 record.

    Having started coaching in 1975, Arians is also one of the most experienced entries on this list. The Buccaneers should feel very good about the hands in which their franchise rests.

9. Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers

24 of 32

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    A lot of teams have been looking for the next Sean McVay. Perhaps they should be looking instead for the next Anthony Lynn. While Lynn hasn't revitalized the Los Angeles Chargers with an innovative and explosive offense, he has helped build perhaps the most complete roster in the NFL.

    Oh, and like McVay, Lynn has guided his team to winning records in each of two seasons as head coach.

    Before arriving in L.A., Lynn spent time as an assistant head coach with the Jets and Bills, so he wasn't unfamiliar with the duties of the job.

    However, the Chargers' rise—from 5-11 in 2016 to 9-7 and then 12-4—has been impressive. His decision to use a quarters defense in the playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens was brilliant, showing Lynn is himself an innovator.

    Lynn is, without a doubt, one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches in the league.

8. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams

25 of 32

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Several teams spent the early portion of the 2019 offseason searching for the next Sean McVay. The reason for that is simple: McVay took over the Rams in 2017, turned Jared Goff into a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback and made the franchise a title contender.

    The Rams finished 2017 with 11 wins. They won 13 games last season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. That's an impressive start for McVay, who finished last season tied for second by Head Coach Ranking.

    McVay would likely rank even higher if not for a couple of shortcomings. His defenses have been good but not great, and he's struggled to make in-game adjustments at times.

    "They don't have an answer for all-out pressure," former Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer said of McVay's offense, per The MMQB's Albert Breer.

    McVay couldn't adjust to New England's smothering defense in the Super Bowl, and an offense that averaged 32.9 points per game in the regular season was held to only a field goal.

    If the 33-year-old continues to learn and grow, he's sure to move further up rankings like these.

7. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

26 of 32

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Like most of the coaches to come on this list, John Harbaugh has brought consistency to his franchise. Since he became head coach in 2008, the Ravens have made seven playoff appearances and have only missed the postseason four times.

    While all four of those misses have come in the last six years, the Ravens have regularly been in contention. They've had just one losing season and as many Super Bowl wins under Harbaugh.

    However, Harbaugh isn't all about consistency. He'll shake things up when he has to, like when he replaced longtime starter Joe Flacco with rookie Lamar Jackson last season, revamped the offense into a run-first unit and propelled Baltimore back to the playoffs.

    That combination of experience and guts puts Harbaugh in the top quarter of the league's coaching ranks.

6. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

27 of 32

    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has many of the qualities teams want in a head coach. He's been successful—leading the Steelers to two Super Bowls and winning one—and he maintains consistency. Since becoming the head coach in 2007, the Steelers have missed the postseason only four times.

    There are two reasons why Tomlin isn't higher on this list—and both of them involve former Steelers Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

    The first is that Tomlin had Bell and Brown for five seasons. Along with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, they formed the best offensive trio in the NFL by a wide margin. Yet Tomlin reached only one AFC Championship Game with the three, and his Steelers were promptly blown out by the Patriots.

    Then there was the drama involving Bell and Brown last season. Bell never played under the franchise tag, and Brown was so embedded in friction that he eventually forced his way off the team. While a coach isn't entirely responsible for maintaining team chemistry, it is part of the job.

    Upheaval has been common for the Steelers during Tomlin's tenure, which tarnishes his resume just a bit. With Bell and Brown gone, Tomlin has to prove he can coach the Steelers to a drama-free season—not just a successful one.

5. Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles

28 of 32

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Doug Pederson's place at No. 5 in these rankings is all about recent success—he's only been a head coach for three seasons. However, Pederson has coached the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs twice during that span and delivered the franchise's first Super Bowl win in 2018.

    Most impressive is how Pederson delivered that title. He managed to right the ship after starting quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz was ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. He still got the Eagles to the big game, coaxed an MVP performance out of backup Nick Foles and outcoached the mighty Patriots to win the Lombardi Trophy.

    And guess what? Pederson got the Eagles back to the playoffs last season with Foles at the helm for the final stretch. With a healthy Wentz back in the lineup, this season should give Pederson a good shot at his second championship in three years.

4. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

29 of 32

    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Some NFL coaches have been around the block. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has done it a couple of times.

    Reid went 130-93-1 during his 14 years with the Eagles and took them to the Super Bowl during the 2004 season. After the Eagles fired him in 2012, he took over the Chiefs one year later.  

    Since then, the Chiefs have missed the playoffs only once.

    Before coaching in Philadelphia, Reid helped deliver a title to the Packers as an assistant in Green Bay.

    Last season, Reid took second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes and transformed the Chiefs into one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league. They lost to the Patriots in overtime of the AFC Championship Game and should be considered one of the top title contenders entering 2019.

3. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

30 of 32

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Sean Payton guided the New Orleans Saints—long one of the league's most downtrodden franchises—to a championship in 2009. That alone earned him a place near the top in these rankings. However, Payton has also brought sustained success to the franchise, which is equally important.

    Though Payton's results haven't been as consistent as the next two coaches on this list, his Saints have finished no worse than 7-9 since he took over as head coach in 2006.

    Payton also helped New Orleans become one of the most complete and dominant teams in the NFL last season, which earned him the No. 1 spot, per Head Coach Ranking. The Saints had a league-best 13-3 record and may have appeared in the Super Bowl if not for a certain non-call near the end of regulation in the NFC Championship Game.

2. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

31 of 32

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll narrowly beat out Sean Payton as the No. 2 coach in these power rankings. Consistency is a big part of that. Since Carroll became their head coach in 2010, the Seahawks have missed the postseason just twice.

    Seattle's worst record in that span is 7-9, which came the year before Russell Wilson was drafted.

    Carroll also has a Lombardi Trophy and two Super Bowl appearances on his resume, but his work in the down years may be more impressive. Last season was a transition year for Seattle. Defensive mainstays such as Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and eventually Earl Thomas III were gone, yet Carroll still found a way to guide the team to the playoffs.

    Whether it's been by leaning on the defense, relying on Wilson or fielding a grinding rushing attack, Carroll has consistently created ways to turn the Seahawks into winners.

1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

32 of 32

    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Sometimes the obvious choice is the right one. It's hard to argue against Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as the best in the business now—and perhaps ever.

    Belichick has won six Super Bowls with the Patriots and two more as defensive coordinator of the Giants. If you're looking for recent success, Belichick is where it's at. He has coached New England to eight straight appearances in the AFC title game, hasn't missed the playoffs since 2008 and hasn't produced fewer than 10 wins since 2002.

    Has Belichick benefited from the presence of quarterback Tom Brady for most of his career? Sure, but the Colts had Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck for most of the past two decades and won only one Super Bowl.

    Belichick has also kept the Patriots in contention through myriad roster and coaching changes. From Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels to Bill O'Brien, Matt Patricia and Brian Flores, numerous Patriots assistants have left over the years to pursue head coaching opportunities. Belichick has remained, and so has winning in New England.