NFL 2019: Ranking coaches based on who has the best chance of winning their first Super Bowl this season
Which coach has the best chance of picking up his first Super Bowl win this season? Let's find out
The easy thing about ranking NFL coaches is that no matter what kind of list you're making, you're almost always going to have Bill Belichick at the top.
Best coach in the NFL right now? Belichick.
Coach with the best chance to win the Super Bowl this year? Definitely Belichick.
Grumpiest coach? Almost certainly Belichick.
Although you can easily put Belichick at the top of most rankings, he won't be at the top of this one and that's because we're going to be doing things slightly different here.
For this list, we're ranking coaches based on the chance they have of getting their first Super Bowl win this year, which means any coach who has already won a Super Bowl is disqualified from making this list. That makes now a good time to send out my apologies to Belichick, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, Doug Pederson and Jon Gruden, who will not be on the list below, because they've all won at least one Super Bowl.
As for everyone else, here's how we feel about their chances of taking home their first Lombardi Trophy as a head coach this year. Our list starts with Brian Flores, who we think has the worst chance of winning his first Super Bowl. To find out who tops the list, you'll have to read on.
25. Brian Flores, Dolphins
The Dolphins haven't decided yet on who their starting quarterback is going to be this year, but that doesn't matter, because there's a zero percent chance that Flores is going to win a Super Bowl in his first year as a head coach with either Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen.
24. Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals
Kingsbury's offense didn't work at the college level, and although he now has the perfect quarterback to run his system, it's almost impossible to imagine the Cardinals having very much success during his first season as coach, especially when you consider that Arizona is stuck in a division the includes the Seahawks and Rams.
23. Pat Shurmur, Giants
Unless Saquon Barkley can single-handedly carry the Giants to the Super Bowl -- which is at least someone plausible based purely on the size of his quads -- it's unlikely that Shurmur will be coaching the Giants to a Super Bowl win this year.
The Giants are a team that could be dealing with a quarterback controversy before the season even hits October and quarterback controversies rarely lead to Super Bowl wins.
22. Matt Patricia, Lions
The Lions might not win a Super Bowl this year, but the good news for Patricia is that he could probably earn a lifetime contract by just winning the NFC North. The Lions have the longest division title drought in the NFC and the second longest in the NFL, behind only the Browns. Detroit hasn't won a title since 1993 while the Browns haven't finished in first place in their division since 1989.
These two guys are being lumped together for one reason: They play in the AFC East. To win the Super Bowl this year, that means one of them would have to get past Bill Belichick, and if the past 20 years are any indication, that's probably not going to happen. That being said, you have to give some credit Gase, because no one takes their job more seriously than he does.
That's dedication, or a grounds for divorce, depending on your point of view.
19. Jay Gruden, Redskins
Gruden is basically in an impossible situation in Washington. For one, he has a Pro Bowl left tackle Colt McCoy) who actually . Gruden might want to go ahead and keep his brother's cell number handy, because he might soon be looking for another job if things get ugly for him in Washington this year.. Oh, and he's also trying to hold a quarterback competition at a time when the only quarterback (
18. Zac Taylor, Bengals
If Zac Taylor was able to sneak out of Los Angeles with just half of Sean McVay's playbook, then the Bengals could be in good shape this year. Not only do they have a quarterback who will be playing for his future, but the Bengals will also be returning the nucleus of a team that started the season 4-1 last year before the wheels fell off the wagon.
17. Bruce Arians, Buccaneers
The only way the Bucs are going to win a Super Bowl this year is if Arians can fix Jameis Winston, and unfortunately for Arians, that's not exactly a one-year project. To fix Winston, Arians is going to have to get his quarterback to cut down on his interceptions and stop taking so many risks. In 2018, even though he only started nine games, Winston still managed to throw 14 interceptions, which was tied for the fifth-most in the NFL.
16. Doug Marrone, Jaguars
After making the decision to move on from Blake Bortles, the Jags could have signed almost anyone and it would have been considered an upgrade, so it's safe to say that Nick Foles definitely qualifies as a big improvement over Bortles. If the Jags defense plays like it did in 2017, it wouldn't be surprising to see Jacksonville in the race for the AFC South title in a division that they dominated just two seasons ago.
15. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
It's been an ugly two years in San Francisco for Shanahan. Not only have the 49ers struggled under his watch, but he's also had to deal with the fact that another coach in the division (Sean McVay) has had way more success than him despite being hired in the same year. With Jimmy Garoppolo healthy and a group of running backs who are all good fits for Shanahan's system, the 49ers coach won't have any excuses if the team doesn't finally turn into a contender this year.
14. Vic Fangio, Broncos
Last year in Chicago, Fangio built one of the best defenses in the NFL. As a matter of fact, it was so good that the Bears were able to finish 12-4 despite fielding a mostly average offense. In 201,9 don't be surprised if Fangio brings that same exact formula to Denver. With Fangio in charge, the Broncos could have one of the best defensive units in the NFL this year, and if Denver can get just average play out of Joe Flacco, the Broncos could be an under-the-radar team to watch in the AFC.
13. Mike Vrabel, Titans
If you're looking for a dark horse team to make the playoffs in 2019, you might want to think about the Titans. During the 2018 season, the Titans were mostly overshadowed by the Colts and the Texans, two teams that now have a lot of questions heading into 2019. The Titans have gone 9-7 in each of the past three seasons and the crazy thing is that this year's team might be the better than any of those three teams. Of course, maybe it's best for all if the Titans don't turn out to be good this year, and that's because things could get painful in .
That sounds like it would hurt.
12. Bill O'Brien, Texans
The Texans somehow turned an 0-3 start into a division title last season, which might have been some of O'Brien's best coaching work yet. For 2019, O'Brien's biggest job is going to be making sure Deshaun Watson doesn't get destroyed. The offensive line was one of Houston's biggest weaknesses in 2018 and it's likely going to be a glaring weakness once again in 2019. Besides that issue, O'Brien also has at least one other thing to worry about.
That problem would probably be a lot easier to deal with if the Texans.
11. Frank Reich, Colts
Reich probably would have been a few spots higher on this list if the health of Andrew Luck wasn't . Does he have a calf injury? Is it a bone bruise? Will be miss any games? If the answer to that last question is yes, that's bad news for the Colts, because we've all seen what happens when they're forced to play without Luck (If you need a quick refresher, just watch any of their film from the 2017 season).
10. Ron Rivera, Panthers
Of the four coaches on this list who have led their team to a Super Bowl, but never won, Rivera is ranked the lowest, but that's only because the Panthers play in a loaded division and because there's still come questions about Cam Newton's shoulder. If Newton's surgically repaired shoulder can't handle taking hits, it could be a long season for Carolina.
9. Freddie Kitchens, Browns
Kitchens is the man in charge of keeping the Browns hype train from going off the tracks, and although there will be plenty of pressure on him in Cleveland, the fact of the matter is that John Dorsey has built a team around him that's talented enough to win the Super Bowl. The only question is whether or not the first-year coach can handle all the drama that will likely come with the job once the regular season starts. The Browns are going to be in the spotlight all year, and that's going to start in Week 1: The team's opener is the featured game on CBS.
The drama could start fast for Kitchens if the Browns lose that game at home to a Titans team that went 9-7 last season.
8. Jason Garrett, Cowboys
If Garrett has proven one thing in his career, it's that he needs a workhorse running back to the get to the playoffs. In eight and a half seasons as coach in Dallas, the Cowboys have made the playoffs three times, and those three seasons all had one big thing in common: Dallas had the NFL's leading rusher each year. If Ezekiel Elliott's holdout doesn't end soon, Garrett might want to call Zeke up and offer some of his own money to make up the difference in negotiations.
7. Dan Quinn, Falcons
Let's go ahead and chalk up the 2018 season as a delayed Super Bowl hangover from the time the Falcons blew that 28-3 lead to the Patriots. One of the Falcons' biggest issues in 2018 was the play of their defense and Quinn has decided to fix the problem by taking over play-calling duties on that side of the ball. Basically, if the team's defense is bad this season, Falcons owner Arthur Blank will know who to blame.
6. Matt Nagy, Bears
If the Bears are going to take a step forward after a surprising 2018 season, they're going to need two things they didn't always get last year: Good quarterback play and a kicker who can actually put the ball through the uprights. With Mitchell Trubisky reportedly struggling some in training camp and the kicker competition being held between two guys have never kicked in an NFL regular season game, there's no guarantee that either of those issues are going to be fixed.
5. Matt LaFleur, Packers
The Packers basically gave LaFleur the keys to the offense; the only problem is that no one seems to know if he actually knows how to drive. The Packers' entire season is going to hinge on how well Aaron Rodgers adapts to LaFleur's offense and whether the two can co-exist, and although there have been mixed signals about their relationship coming out of training camp, it does seem like Rodgers likes his new boss.
"We're having a great time. We're communicating," Rodgers said.
We can probably all agree that's better than having a bad time and not communicating.
4. Anthony Lynn, Chargers
Over the past two seasons, the Chargers have quietly built one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL, and now, it's Lynn's job to make it all work. Although Lynn is high up on this list right now, he might not be for long, and that's because the Chargers have a Super Bowl window that's shrinking every year due to the age of Philip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback turns 38 in December and likely won't be playing more than one or two more seasons after 2019. Rivers doesn't want to be playing into his 40s, which means Lynn better figure out how to win now.
3. Mike Zimmer, Vikings
The only way a coach would be crazy Kaare Vedvik) who's never actually kicked in a regular season game.for a kicker is if that coach thought his team was one good kicker away from winning the Super Bowl, and the Vikings feel like a team that might be one good kicker away from winning it all. That's a lot of pressure to put on a guy (
2. Sean McVay, Rams
At some point, McVay is going to take a step back in his NFL coaching career, but that hasn't happened through his first two seasons. In 2017, the Rams went 11-5 before their season ended in the wild-card round. In 2018, McVay one-upped himself by leading the Rams to the Super Bowl after going 13-3 during the regular season. Now heading into his third year, the big question for McVay is this: Have NFL teams figured out how to stop his system like Belichick did in the Super Bowl? If the answer to that questions is yes, the Rams could be in for a long year, but if the answer to that question is no, McVay could become the youngest coach in NFL history to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
1. Andy Reid, Chiefs
No NFL coach has been knocking on the championship door without a win longer than Reid. After a career that's included six conference title games (five NFC and one AFC), plus one excruciating Super Bowl loss, this feels like it could finally be the season when Reid breaks down the door and takes home a Lombardi Trophy. Not only does he have a high-powered offense being run by the reigning NFL MVP, but the Chiefs also added some major upgrades to a defense that let them down multiple times last season.
BONUS: Since you read this far, here's some Super Bowl coaching trivia: Which Super Bowl featured the most active head coaches in one game (For example, Super Bowl LIII featured four current head coaches with Belichick/Flores on the sideline for the Patriots and McVay/Taylor coaching for the Rams).
Trivia answer: Super Bowl XXXIX featured eight current coaches. That's right, a full 25 percent of current NFL coaches were involved in New England's 24-21 win over Philadelphia.
On the Patriots end, New England had Belichick, Patricia (offensive assistant), Flores (scouting assistant) and Vrable (player). On the Eagles' end, Philadelphia had Reid, John Harbaugh (special teams coordinator), McDermott (defensive assistant) and Shurmur (QB coach).
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