Past Belichick: Who is that this period’s second-best NFL head coach?

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

In 13 seasons, Payton is 131-77 (.630) with one championship and eight playoff berths. The NFL report guide would nearly definitely look completely different with out him. Had Drew Brees ended up with Nick Saban’s Dolphins throughout his seminal free company in 2006, that fork-in-the-road second doubtless would create a actuality the place Peyton Manning’s profession passing data stay. Payton and Brees fashioned one of many nice head coach-quarterback duos in NFL annals. The Saints received one playoff recreation within the 39 years earlier than Payton and Brees arrived in ’06; they now have 9 postseason victories.

Payton not solely turned Brees from an undersized passer with an inconsistent observe report as a Charger into an all-time nice, however he helped groom non-first-round skill-position investments into elite NFL skills. Marques Colston stays the Saints’ all-time receiving chief; he was the fourth-to-last choose within the 2006 draft. Jimmy Graham, a 2011 third-rounder, morphed from school basketball participant into a good finish drive. Michael Thomas, the sixth wideout taken within the 2016 draft, and Alvin Kamara, the fifth working again chosen in 2017, at present gasoline the Saints. Payton, who led the 2019 crew to a 5-Zero report with out Brees, would prime all of this if ex-undrafted free agent Taysom Hill turns into his subsequent quarterback.

Whereas the Bountygate scandal that led to Payton being suspended for the 2012 season might be connected to his legacy, the 56-year-old coach did extra to carry a franchise than simply about any coach in league historical past. And Payton was one notably botched name away from a second Tremendous Bowl cameo.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Coming into his 14th season because the Steelers’ head coach, Tomlin is 133-74-1 (.642) with one championship, two Tremendous Bowl appearances and eight postseason berths. Working for a franchise that has employed three head coaches since 1969, Tomlin has loved persistence few coaches obtain. He rewarded the Steelers by changing into the youngest coach to win a Tremendous Bowl (at 36) and has saved the crew an AFC energy for many of his tenure.

Having Ben Roethlisberger has helped Tomlin, however the Steelers’ Massive Ben-era peak got here when smothering defenses backed him. Pittsburgh rode No. 1-ranked DVOA defenses to Tremendous Bowls XLIII and XLV, doing so whereas Roethlisberger threw 17 landing passes in every season. A defense-oriented coach, Tomlin deserves credit score for this –- even when just a few Steeler defenses within the 2010s held Massive Ben again. These susceptible defenses referred to as Tomlin’s worth into query, however such considerations diminished over the previous yr and alter.

Tomlin showcased his significance over the previous two years, main the Steelers via the one-of-a-kind Antonio Brown twister. Having the Steelers in playoff competition with out Roethlisberger and the departed Brown and Le’Veon Bell final season ought to take away doubts about Tomlin’s significance and job safety. The Steelers enter 2020 with a restocked protection and, Roethlisberger health-permitting, pose as an intriguing AFC risk.

All due respect to those potential Corridor of Famers, the selection right here for No. 2 energetic coach within the NFL is the reigning Tremendous Bowl champions’ architect.

Andy Reid, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

The 21-year head coach is 207-128-1 (.618) with a championship, two Tremendous Bowl appearances and 15 playoff entries. These 207 wins rank seventh all time. Reid is six wins away from Paul Brown for No. 6 on this checklist and can doubtless be within the prime 5 earlier than the 2021 season concludes. At a crossroads after being fired from his 14-year Eagles submit, Reid has cemented his Corridor of Fame credentials with the Chiefs. Armed with a stacked roster he helped construct, Reid may rise among the many all-time greats after just a few extra seasons paired with Patrick Mahomes.

Like Shula, Reid has achieved success with a number of quarterbacks. Shula received playoff video games with Earl Morrall, Bob Griese, David Woodley and Dan Marino. Reid, 62, has gone to the playoffs with 5 passers -– Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, Alex Smith and Mahomes -– and received postseason video games with 4. Carroll has received playoff video games with three beginning QBs (although one such win got here after a 7-9 season); Belichick received postseason video games with two. Harbaugh, Payton and Tomlin have accomplished so with one. Reid has persistently innovated as nicely, shifting from a pure West Coast offense to 1 with a heavy school affect by the point Smith led the NFL in passer score in 2017. 

Mahomes expanded Reid’s playbook, creating the NFL’s premier offense. Mahomes threw 60 landing passes in his first 20 begins -– 13 greater than anybody earlier than him. Arguments may be made that the 2018 MVP and Tremendous Bowl LIV MVP hovers on his personal QB tier atop the league right now. This actuality wouldn’t be doable with out Reid, the optimum fashionable play-caller.

The Chiefs went 2-14 in 2012; in Reid’s 2013 debut, they completed 11-5. Reid piloted the 2014 Chiefs to a 9-7 season, regardless of that squad changing into the primary in 50 years to not have a large receiver catch a landing move. The 2015 Chiefs misplaced two-time All-Professional working again Jamaal Charles that October; they subsequently grew to become the second crew to begin 1-5 and make the playoffs. Kansas Metropolis’s win over playoff-bound Minnesota with Matt Moore at quarterback final season helped safe a playoff bye. As of August 2019, Moore was serving as a scout and highschool soccer coach. Overstating Reid’s worth to a long-hard-luck franchise is sort of not possible.

Contemplating the stylistic flexibility and consistency regardless of quarterback and site modifications, Reid has develop into this period’s second-best coach. Mahomes commanding a well-constructed roster may quickly create distance between Reid and this century’s non-Belichick teaching contingent.

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