The Fierce Five: NFL’s Top 5 Head Coaches

Being an NFL head coach seems like the easiest job in the world. Everybody that watches on Sunday thinks that they can do it. But coaching in the NFL is one of the most highly stressful occupations in the country. Coaches are expected to come in and change the direction of a franchise immediately, and if they don’t, they get fired. There are no guarantees at the position. Either you win or you’re unemployed. Even the President of the United States is guaranteed 4 years before he’s let go.

Deciding on which coaches are best is not an easy task. Well most spots on this list weren’t easy to decide. Anyone that doesn’t put Bill Belichick at the top of their coaches list is one of two things: Crazy or a Jets fan.

Belichick aside, coaches are difficult to judge. With most of their work being done behind the scenes, coaches are mostly criticized by wins and losses. But every coaching job is different. Every roster is different. Some coaches are blessed with talent, while others are cursed with Sam Bradford.

Though coaching is far too often judged solely on wins and losses, this list attempts to look more deeply when choosing the 5 best coaches in the NFL.

  1. Bill Belichick

Four Super Bowls. Well over 200 wins. Belichick is the best coach of today- and maybe ever. The New England Head Coach has a career win percentage of .664, but if you throw away the Cleveland years, it skyrockets to .730 as a Patriot. Belichick has turned Brady into the greatest quarterback of all time, and is maybe the best when it comes to picking up unknowns and turning them to Pro Bowlers. Now I know the Jets fans will chime in right here calling him a cheater, but if “maybe, being generally aware about the deflation of footballs” is cheating, football must be the easiest sport in the world. When all is said and done, Belichick will go down in history as one of, if not the best, coach to ever grace this league.


  1. Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll is an old school coach, and maybe the best motivator in all of sports. There are many reasons Carroll is so high on this list, but more than anything it’s his ability to connect and be liked by his players. With the Seahawks, Carrol has been to the playoffs in five out of the six years and one of those turned into a Super Bowl win. The Seahawks could have repeated as Super Bowl Champions if not for one of the most inexplicable play calls, which presumably can be blamed on Carroll. But all in all, Carroll is one of the best defensive minds to pick up a headset in some time and that’s why he is #2 on this list.

Giants Panthers football

  1. Ron Rivera

After a 15-1 season and a trip to the NFC championship, Rivera led the Carolina Panthers to one of, if not the, best season in the franchise’s history. Rivera took a team which looked to be a bottom feeder, and gave them a great chance to go undefeated. He coaches in a way similar to that of coach Carroll, where defensive and running come first. The Panthers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and look to be a power house for years to come. Rivera is a lock for coach of the year this season and gave Cam Newton a chance to win MVP, and did all of this without his lone offensive superstar, Kelvin Benjamin.


  1. Bruce Arians

Since working as an interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia, Bruce Arians in a two-time coach of the year. As a head coach (including interim head coach) Arians has a record of 43-17, which is good for .717. The Arians-led Arizona Cardinals are set to play Rivera and the Panthers in this year’s NFC championship, with the winner earning a trip to the Super Bowl.

Mike Tomlin

  1. Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin is as aggressive of a coach as any coach the NFL has seen. Whether it’s adapting to the new extra point distance by going for two, or going for it on fourth down, Tomlin is never afraid to take a risk. His risks pay off more times than not and Tomlin is good for 98 wins in his career, to just 57 losses. Tomlin became the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl in 2009, at just 36 years old. Tomlin may have had a pedestrian year by his standard; but with a plethora of injuries scratched and clawed his way into the playoffs for his 6th trip in 8 years.

–Michael Hersey


photos via NFL