I was once told by a wise man that opinions are like armpits: everyone has them, and most of them stink. While we may wine and mumble each time we see a person ranking head coaches, we must always remember what it is based on: an opinion.
Rankings are overrated, I agree. Rankings, as fun as they can be, are not a true metric that determines how good someone is at their profession. However, rankings can be a good conversation starter, and they can help us get through the dog days of the football calendar.
Every offseason, there is always the infamous Mike Tomlin conversation. This is perhaps the most divisive topic amongst Steelers fans, as opinions are so strong on both sides. Many fans consider Tomlin to be one of the best head coaches in the league, as he is yet to have a losing season as head coach. On the other side, fans criticize him for his lack of playoff success and poor time management. Regardless of which side you happen to reside on, it is a topic that always stirs up quality conversation in the comment section.
Cody Benjamin of cbssports.com recently ranked every NFL head coach, an exercise CBS Sports typically does each offseason. Here were Benjamin’s top five:
Andy Reid (Chiefs)
Kyle Shanahan (49ers)
Bill Belichick (Patriots)
Sean McVay (Rams)
John Harbaugh (Ravens)
Coming in at number six was none other than Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Here is what Benjamin had to say about the ranking:
Much like Sean Payton, he’s searching for the postseason glory of old, going just 3-8 in the playoffs since 2010’s Super Bowl loss. And his ground-and-pound philosophy tends to be better at producing wild-card fighters than Lombardi contenders. But no one will ever count his teams out, both because of his unwavering fortitude and unmatched track record of 16 straight non-losing seasons.
Finishing out the top ten, Benjamin ranked Sean McDermott seventh, Sean Payton eighth, Pete Carroll ninth, and Doug Pederson tenth. I find it interesting that Benjamin ranked John Harbaugh ahead of McDermott, as, despite struggling to overcome Kansas City, McDermott has accomplished more in recent memory than Harbaugh. I also think Tomlin should be ranked ahead of Harbaugh, as Baltimore’s playoff struggles (up until this past year, at least) have not been that much better than Pittsburgh’s in recent years.
As much as I am not a fan of Pete Carroll, I must give him credit for what he has done to keep Seattle afloat. Many fans lost their mind when Russell Wilson was traded to Denver, but just one year later, we are trying to fathom the fact that the current version of Geno Smith is better than the current version of Russell Wilson. I believe Seattle’s teams have been less talented than Pittsburgh’s in recent memory, which is why I believe Carroll could be ranked ahead of Tomlin.
Ultimately, no rankings article is going to change anyone’s opinion about Tomlin, or any other coach. Fans are set in their ways, and they typically do not change their mind after discussing it.
Yet we still discuss it, just like you are about to do the comment section! Let me find my whistle, and I’ll be down to officiate in a few!