10 current NFL coaches with a shot at Hall of Fame, ranked by tiers with two absolute locks at the top
Several current NFL coaches have a good shot at seeing their careers immortalized
The inductions of Cowher and Johnson raise the question: Which modern-day NFL coaches would have a legitimate Hall of Fame argument if their careers ended today? Several current coaches, when comparing their careers to those of Cowher and Johnson, would have a pretty compelling argument for future induction even if they never coached another game in the NFL.
With that in mind, we decided to predict which modern-day coaches have already put together Canton-worthy careers, and which ones may need to add a little bit more to the resume before hanging up their whistles for good.
As good as gold
Bill Belichick: No surprise here as Belichick, who served on the NFL's "Blue Ribbon Panel" that decided the 10 senior nominees, two coaches and three contributors that will help make up this year's induction class, is the only coach in NFL history with six Super Bowl rings and nine conference championships. He's also one of three coaches in NFL history to win at least 300 games and will likely surpass Don Shula as the NFL's all-time winningest coach sometime this decade.
Andy Reid: The longtime coaching veteran has punched his Hall of Fame ticket after leading the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl LIV. An NFL head coach since 1999, Reid, who won an NFC title with the Eagles before going to Kansas City in 2013, is seventh all-time in regular season wins and sixth all-time in playoff wins. His .618 career winning percentage in the regular season is also higher than that of Tom Landry, Chuck Noll and Marv Levy, whose careers have already been immortalized in Canton. Reid's contributions to the modern-day passing attack will also help him earn Hall of Fame consideration.
Most likely in
Mike Tomlin: While Pittsburgh's "Killer B" era under Tomlin could be considered a disappointment, Tomlin's overall body of work may already be good enough to land him a spot in Canton. His .642 career winning percentage is the 19th highest in NFL history and the sixth-highest among coaches that have coached in at least 200 career regular season games. The youngest head coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl, Tomlin has also won two AFC titles, six division titles and has never had a losing season in 13 seasons in Pittsburgh. And while Pittsburgh ran out of gas late in the 2019 season, the injury-marred Steelers' even being in playoff contention heading into Week 17 (after franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's early season-ending injury) was another feather in Tomlin's cap as far as Hall of Fame coaching credentials are concerned.
Pete Carroll: Carroll's work in Seattle may be enough to convince future voters to look past his lack of success during his previous coaching stints with the Jets and Patriots. One of three coaches to win a national championship and the Super Bowl (Johnson and Barry Switzer being the other two), Carroll presided over one of most dominant defenses in modern-day NFL history in the mid-2010s that helped Seattle win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Carroll's Seahawks nearly won back-to-back titles before his questionable coaching decision ultimately led to the Patriots hanging on to defeat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Bad call notwithstanding, Carroll's 133 career regular season wins (24th most in NFL history), 10 postseason appearances (16th all-time) and 11 postseason wins (11th all-time) would give him a strong Hall of Fame argument if his career ended today.
Could make it, but more work likely still needs to be done
John Harbaugh: While Harbaugh's Super Bowl ring, 118 regular season wins, .615 career winning percentage and 10 postseason wins give him a good Hall of Fame argument, his team's recent lack of postseason success would ultimately be held against him if he was up for induction today. The Ravens have won just one playoff game since winning Super Bowl XLVII and have been upset at home in each of the last two postseasons. Baltimore's three-year playoff drought from 2015-17 is also a blemish on Harbaugh's resume, as the Ravens' all-time leader in wins probably has to lead the Ravens on one or two more legitimate playoff runs before he moves into the next category of Hall of Fame-worthy coaches.
Sean Payton: Along with Reid, Payton's contributions to the NFL's modern-day passing attack should help his future Hall of Fame argument. Payton's Super Bowl win, his 131 regular season wins (26th all-time) and .630 winning percentage (eighth all-time among coaches that coached in at least 200 regular season games) also help his cause, along with the fact that Payton and quarterback Drew Brees turned the Saints -- one of the NFL's have-not clubs for most of their existence -- into one of the NFL's most consistent winners over the past 13 years should help his cause, too. Payton's role in the Saints' "Bounty Gate" situation is one of the reasons he is not currently a Hall of Fame "lock."
Nice career, but currently short of Hall of Fame consideration
Mike McCarthy: McCarthy had a good run in Green Bay, with a Super Bowl win, 125 regular season victories and racking up nine playoff appearances in nearly 13 seasons in Green Bay. But the way things ended for McCarthy in Green Bay (he was fired 12 games into the 2018 season after a 4-7-1 start) and the unanswered question about who deserved more credit for the Packers' offensive success (between himself and Aaron Rodgers) is why McCarthy will have to put together a nice run in Dallas to move further up this list. McCarthy will certainly get his chance, as the Cowboys' offense is stocked with Pro Bowl talent at the skill positions, including Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Jon Gruden: Gruden, who returned to the sideline in 2018 after nearly a decade in the broadcast booth, will have to put together a nice run of sustained success during his second go-around with the Raiders, who will be moving to Las Vegas in 2020. While Gruden -- who led the Silver and Black to the playoffs twice during his first stint with the Raiders before leading the Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII -- seemed destined for failure following his first season back with the franchise, the team's surprising success in 2019 could lead to more good things for Gruden and the Raiders in their new city.
Doug Pederson: While the Eagles' memorable 2017 Super Bowl run gets him on this list, it's simply too soon in Pederson's head coaching career to put him higher. Pederson will always have a space in Philadelphia's heart after upsetting the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, but in order to make a real run at Canton, he will have to have more postseason success while possibly getting the Eagles -- or another NFL franchise -- back to the Super Bowl.
Currently out, but that could change quickly with a Super Bowl win
Bruce Arians: Arians stands alone in this category. A two-time Coach of the Year, Arians, who won two Super Bowls as an offensive assistant in Pittsburgh, didn't land his first full-time head coaching opportunity until he was 61 years old. While he doesn't have a large body of work, his work in an interim role in Indianapolis in 2012, a .619 winning percentage with the Cardinals (that included a trip to the NFC Championship Game in 2015) and his promising start in Tampa Bay have landed Arians the final spot on this list. While he currently has the lowest odds of any coach on this list at making the Hall of Fame, that would change if Arians is able to pull off a miracle in Tampa Bay while getting the Buccaneers their second Super Bowl title.
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