Quickly becoming a great source for debatable topics, Sporting News has ranked the Coaching Class of 2009
After the flip, i make my own Top 10 rankings.
All bias aside....
1. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
As much as I like Tomlin, I believe Tom Coughlin proved he is probably one of the best coaches in the league. He now has to go out and prove he can do it consistantly. He seems to have shook off the incosistencies of his teams from the past, and he achieved a hell of a lot last season. Not only did he avoid a Superbowl hangover, he did it by replacing key cogs on the Defensive line (Umenyiora and Strahan) and having to deal with the distraction of former Steeler Plaxico Burress. Unfortunately, his team fell short of beating a red hot Philadelphia team in the playoffs.
2. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin has already achieved being my favourite Head Coach of the Steelers (no knock on Cowher). I badly wanted to rank him #1 overall, but I believe 2 years is a bit too premature, especially considering we have yet to see how Tomlin responds to a down season, or big time distractions. However, you cannot argue with his record, or his Lombardi. He brings a great sense of intelligence and integrity to the Steelers and the NFL, and has encapsulated many with his words and his professionalism. Time will prove just how good he can be.
3. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles dominated the NFC East for a long time, and Andy Reid is a guy who does a great job of getting the most out of his players that he has, and makes no complaints about lack of talent. I have great respect for the man, in that he is able to put competitive teams out on the field no matter what the distractions, whether it was T.O, his sons criminal problems, the media commenting on his weight, or the constant criticism he receives from one of the most demanding fanbases in football. His defense has been great the past few seasons, as he has grown it up from drafting players.
4. Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals
One of my favourite coaches from the Superbowl XL coaching core, Ken Whisenhunt has done an impressive job in his two year tenure in Arizona. He took a bottom feeder team, long a laughing stock of the NFL, and his first year, took them to an 8-8 record. And of course his 2nd season, he took them just 3 minutes shy of a Superbowl trophy. Never one to let anyone tell him how to do his job, he left Matt Leinart sulking on the bench, and got the most out of a talented, but unmotivated squad. He will continue to rise as a head coach in this league.
5. Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans
Like the article suggests, good head coaches dont stay with the same team for so long unless they know how to coach. Jeff Fisher has never been blessed with much big name talent over the years, in teams of flash, but he runs a tight fit, blue collar organisation, that prides itself on defense to win football games. This season he had to deal with the distraction of Vince Young, yet rebounded well and guided his team to a 10-0 start and 13-3 final record. Unfortunately for Fisher, his players appeared to eager to make plays against Baltimore, which resulted in mistakes. The man can coach though, no doubt.
6. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick drops in my rankings due to his involvement in the Spygate episodes. That drama has now resulted in many of the NFL questioning his Superbowl victories credibility. However, no doubt Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches out there for finding gems in the draft and free agency that other teams overlook, and his ability to develop players who fit his offensive and defensive systems. We all saw that in the success players like Tom Brady, Matt Cassel and Wes Welker have had in his offense. He does a great job of gameplanning, and he constantly employs unique gameplans every individual game, which makes the Patriots such a hard team to develop tactics against.
7. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton, took one of the NFL's most embarassing franchises and turned it into a Superbowl contender in his first season. He made some bold but brilliant choices in obtaining personel, such as the signing of Drew Brees, and the drafting of key offensive cogs Marques Colston and Reggie Bush. He has done an outstanding job of installing his offensive schemes, wish is in my opinion the most formiddable offense in the league. Now we have to see how he does at growing a defense.
8. John Fox, Carolina Panthers
John Fox constantly has his players play for him. He shook off criticism of an off year, and instead nearly took the number one seed in the NFC. Despite the fact that Jake Delhomme pretty much single handedly lost the season for them, he stands by his players. The most up front and straight up of coaches, I have a lot of respect for him. He has constantly fielded a team with the potential to go all the way, and you very rarely hear a player ever criticise this man.
Smith, known for his tenacity and aggressiveness as Jacksonvilles head coach, has completely changed the culture in Atlanta. He has made all of the right moves since joining the Falcons, including drafting Matt Ryan, to be the new face of that franchise, signing a power running back to give his offense a real physical presence with Michael Turner, and getting the most out of his defensive players, including John Abraham, who led all DE's in sacks. He has done what people thought would be impossible, and he should succeed further in his second year.
10. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
John Harbaugh achieved similar to Mike Smith, taking a team who had fallen off the rails, and got it back up and running as a legitimate contender. The fiery coach made a few ballsy moves in the season, such as starting Joe Flacco, and making it known early in the season that the job was his. He also handled his personel very well, allowing Cam Cameron and Rex Ryan the ability to do their jobs as well. The Ravens defense wass outstanding, and for the first time in ages, Baltimore had an offense that looked like it could explode. How he rebounds to the series of Steeler defeats he suffered, will show just what he can do.
Notable Mentions also go to Mike McCarthy (Green Bay), Mike Singletary (Chicago), Tony Sparano (Miami) and Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville)