1. Bill Belichick– The numbers simply speak for themselves. His teams win 11-13 games a season, The Patriots have won the AFC East a total of 13 times in the last 15 seasons, four Super Bowl titles, six Super Bowl appearances, ten AFC title game appearances and he’s won a total of 223 games in his career. That’s an incredible. I’ve never seen a coach pay so much close attention to detail like Bill Belichick. The way he prepares for the opposing team, the way he looks at certain match ups across the board and he simply puts his team in the best position to win football games at the end of the day. Every year, you expect them to have a successful year, get that week off in the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. Even when things seem challenging, they still find a way to work with what they have. 2013 is a perfect example. That year, they lost Wes Welker to free agency, Deion Branch retired, Gronk was decimated with injuries and a certain player was arrested for first-degree murder. They still won 12 games that season. If he wanted too, Belichick could call it a career after this year and he’d be a lock for Canton, Ohio in five years. He’s one of the best coaches of all time.
2. Bruce Arians– I’m so happy to see him having success as a head coach. He’s been a very well respected coordinator over the years and in 2012, he filled in for Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis when he was battling Leukemia and led the Colts to the playoffs with then rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Also that year, Bruce Arians was named coach of the year. Since taking the job in Arizona, the Cardinals have won ten or more games in each season he’s been there. Under Bruce, the Cardinals have one of the best offenses in the NFL today and the main objective is to attack defenses and do it relentlessly. The same mindset to attack on offense has also carried over to the defensive side of the ball as well. There’s no team that captures the personality of their coach more than Arizona. His players love him, his coaching staff respects him and he’s turned the Cardinals into a contender in the NFC.
3. Mike Tomlin– When Bill Cowher stepped down as the Steelers head coach, we all asked ourselves who in the world is Mike Tomlin and how would he be able to replace a guy who had so much success like Cowher did? When you replace legendary names like that, you simply remain yourself and Tomlin has done just that. Since taking the job in 2007, the Steelers have made the playoffs six times, two Super Bowl appearances (winning one) and he has a record of 92-52 in the regular season. He may not be as hands-on with the X’s and O’s as other coaches are but at the end of the day, his players always play hard and leave it all on the field for him. I like the passion he shows on the sideline whether it’s celebrating something his team did or having to come down on his players. His players love him and he puts what’s best out there on the field that he feels will give the team the best chance at winning.
4. Pete Carroll– After a rough start in the NFL as a coach in the 90s, he took the head coaching job at USC where his teams were on top of the world and he led a resurgence at USC and was widely regarded as one of the top coaches in college football. Now, he’s back in the NFL in Seattle and has turned the Seahawks into a Super Bowl contender. His teams always play hard from the first 15 minutes until there are three zeros left on the clock. A perfect example of them playing hard is the divisional playoff game against the Panthers in January. When they were down by 31 points, most teams unfortunately throw the towel in but the Seahawks rallied and almost came back. The players have bought into the “always compete” philosophy. He’s been known to be an exuberant guy on the sidelines and they’ve said that approach wouldn’t work. Something must be right because the Seahawks have made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons and represented the NFC in the Super Bowl twice in his tenure.
5. Ron Rivera– When he was hired to replace John Fox in 2011, nobody knew what to expect and he was labeled a failure before he even started the job. Look at him now though. A record of 46-31-1, two coach of the year awards, an NFC championship and he’s led the Panthers to three straight division titles. That’s not bad for a guy that was told he wouldn’t be much of anything as a coach. The Panthers were very patient with Rivera during the growing pains. Patience is a virtue and the Panthers have become one of the best teams now in the NFC. His biggest strength has been developing young talent on the defensive side of the football. Although they’ve made some changes in the secondary, the Panthers have remained one of the best defensive teams in the NFL and let’s also give coach a lot of credit for not changing Cam Newton’s style of play and turning him into a more traditional quarterback.