Yesterday's post about the coaching staff made me stop to think about what other coaches around the league I might enjoy having as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Doing a comparison of who is 'better' between the list of current NFL head coaches and Tomlin is futile, as Tomlin simply doesn't have enough on his resume to justify any sort of hierarchical status among the league's better coaches. We think he is, but only time will tell if the rest of the league and its fans come to the same conclusion. So, instead, a look at the rest:
Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys: Not the right guy for this group in Pittsburgh. We'll see how he does now that Parcells is raiding all the talent he had been stockpiling in Big-D. A 2008 date with the Steelers already has me excited.
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints: Yikes. Talk about overthinking last year. After a brilliant 2006 campaign, Payton single-handedly cost the Saints at least two games with his befuddling late-game play calling. He'd be entertaining in Pittsburgh, but I think Steelers fans would grow tired of watching their team throw the ball 45 times a game.
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles: 88-56 career record, a SB appearance, multiple NFC title game appearances. The past couple of years have tarnished his resume some, but the overall body work has been outstanding for Reid. I think most teams would be lucky to have Reid on their sideline.
Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins: Not much you can say about Zorn at this point. Late into his 50s, he'll get his first shot as a head coach. I think he'll do surprisingly well.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears: A good guy, but overated coach in my opinion. You stick with Rex Grossman, you have judgment problems. Too much emphasis placed on getting Devon Hester the ball, and imo, he's mismanaged Cedric Benson. Also, how do you sign off on bringing in Adam Archuleta for big bucks, one of the absolute WORST safetys in the NFL?
Eric Mangini, New York Jets: The Jets have gone 'all-in' so to speak this year in free agency, with a desperate attempt to win now. Two super expensive linemen in the 30s will compromise their financial future in the following years, but if they can somehow get consistent play out of Kellon Clemons, I suppose they can get quickly get back to respectability. They're light-years behind the cream of the AFC though, so this win-at-all-costs-now mentality is probably going to prove futile. This is typically what you see though when a GM and coach are trying to save their job in a pressure-packed, short-sighted market like New York.
Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions: As his team matures a little bit (maybe), Marinelli might finally help the Lions break through. Probably not, but I don't think the problem starts with him. It's upstairs with Mr. Millen.
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers: Commendable accomplishments this past two years. He's got the young defense, a solid offensive line, and playmakers on offense. Who's going to get them the ball? We'll be able to better judge McCarthy in '08 and '09 without Brett Favre serving as a coach on the field.
Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings: He rushed Adrian Peterson back; luckily it didn't come back to haunt him and the organization. Let's see how he manages having one of the better looking backs in football in my lifetime.
Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Up, down, very up, very down. It's never wise to count Gruden out, but he hasn't been able to maintain the kind of consistency that coaches like Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, and Jeff Fisher have achieved.
Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons: ??? Should be a laughably long and painful year in ATL.
John Fox, Carolina Panthers: I like Fox. Great guy, pretty good coach. However, the sum never quite adds up to all the shiny individual parts his teams seem to have. Especially on defense. David Carr, black magic to any franchise, is gone, so maybe they'll be comeptitive once again. All joking aside, it may be do or die for Fox this year.
Mike Nolan, San Francisco 49ers: Suits don't win teams football games. Collected, intelligent, well-prepared coaches win games. Nolan's one of the biggest jokes in the league in my opinion. His on-field demeanor is pathetic, much like his mentor's, Brian Billick. Surprise, surprise. Also, you should be automatically fired for playing Trent Dilfer during a lost-cause season when you have a young QB on your bench that you know nothing about.
Mike Holmgren, Seattle Seahawks: Great career, but I don't think I'd want him in Pittsburgh at this point. Many of us felt his team had given up on him when we met Seattle last year. The Seahawks rebounded nicely in the later part of the season, but fizzled out against GB in a beatdown in the playoffs. Coaching in the NFL sure takes its toll. Holmgren looks beat up and worn down out there. A fine, fine career though, regardless of how he finishes. Again though, no way would I want him in Pittsburgh at his age.
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals: Whiz has laid the foundations for success in Arizona. This next couple of years are crucial for AZ. Warner's aging, so is Edgerrin James. Leinart may or not be in Hollywood doing reality TV shows by 2011. The pieces are in place for a playoff run in the NFC now. It should be comical watching the trolls come out of the woods to remind us that Tomlin sucks if Whisenhunt is able to have some success in that pathetic divsion in '08 while the Steelers take on their impossibly difficult schedule next year.
Scott Linehan, St. Louis Rams: Who knows. I wrote about Trent Green the other day. I'll be keeping an eye on what happens in STL this year. Linehan couldn't have been expected to do too much last year, but another tank job in '08 would put him in deep trouble.
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens: Salary cap hell + crappy QB situation + old loud-mouth veterans + young pup new head coach = calamity of errors? I can't wait.
Dick Jauron, Buffalo Bills: Good coach, but probably better suited for handling young, inexperienced teams with low expectations. Career record is quite a bit under .500.
Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns: Probably would have worked well in Pittsburgh. Browns are in position in '08 and '09 to make some noise. I think these declarations that they're the 'favorites' in the AFC are beyond premature and outlandish. But I do think they have their best shot a divisional crown in a long time. Let's see how Crennel deals with expectations for the first time in Cleveland.
Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins: Man, if Parcells can get it done in Miami. Wow. Sparano's going to have some growing pains though.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: Cheater.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals: 1 winning season in 5 years. With a great QB, an elite WR tandem, and a very good RB? Not good. Lewis was touted as a defensive specialist from his tenure in Baltimore, but he sure hasn't left his mark on the Bengals defense. This could be the last stand for Marvin in the Queen City.
Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans: Fantastic coach, resurrecting a Titans team that looked dead in the water in '06. I'm glad we play a more exciting brand of football than in year's past, unlike Fisher's teams who are still content running on 1st and 2nd down and then punting it away to engage in a battle of field position. Results don't lie though. Fisher's the longest tenured coach in the league now that Cowher's gone. The two of them are very similar. I don't know if I can ever truly forgive Fisher and the Titans for the flop on the FG in the AFC playoffs years ago.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants: People want to annoint Coughlin as the next great thing just because his team went on a fantastic run. He should get credit for his general run of consistent play in New York, but I think too much is made of the 'change' in personality he made. I watched the games. He was still making those Coughlin faces of disgust on the sideline, pacing back and forth, yelling at mistakes, etc. Winning cures lots of things. Kudos to him, but let's put away the annointing oil. He's a very good coach in a league filled with only so-so coaches.
Lane Kiffin, Oakland Raiders: Did make inroads towards turning around a team that really didn't belong in the National Football League in 2006 under Art Shell. Probably the type of guy the Rooneys would have given a look at if he had been just a few years older and more experienced.
Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts: Remarkable win-loss record, good man, players love him. He's not my favorite simply because he coaches a team that's one of my least favorite in any sports. But there's no denying his greatness. Pittsburgh would have done whatever possible to get him had be been available.
Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars: What Mike Nolan wishes he could be. An organized coach that preaches toughness and discipline and actually gets results. If nothing else, give him credit for wanting to build his team in the mold of the Steelers. Del Rio will have a job in this league for years to come.
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans: Yawn. Shanahan disciple so he knows football I guess. Don't know what else to say. How many years are we going to keep hearing the Texans are making strides and progress?
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers: It's all been said before. Say it again if you please, but I have said all along that the Chargers still have enough young talent in the trenches to compete for SBs through the remainder of the decade, no matter what Norv does or doesn't do.
Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos: I wrote earlier this year that Shanahan can still coach, especially coming off a BYE week. It's the roster decisions that hurts him though. Like the Skins, the Broncos are always trying to make a splash in free agency. They've been treading water for a few years now. Most teams of course would be lucky to have Shanahan at the helm, but I think we're in better hands personally.
Herm Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs: Might be better suited as a defensive coordinator then as a head coach. He did do a great job in New York, but the Chiefs, as a commentor pointed out yesterday here on 'Curtain, haven't given him much to work with. He did guide KC to a somewhat miraculous playoff berth in '06, which I'm sure most people forget. This guy can coach. Most will disagree with me, but that's fine.
This was just a fun little exercise. Like I said, we'll be able to see how Tomlin stacks up with the league in a few more years. Weigh in with any thoughts you may have though on the current crop of coaches in today's NFL.