32. Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts
After a little more than four seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Frank Reich lost his job. Reich — who led the Colts to the postseason in 2018 and 2020 — was fired following a loss dropped Indy to 3-5-1 on the year. Then, the Colts shocked the country by hiring Jeff Saturday to fill-in as the interim head coach. Saturday enjoyed a 13-year playing career with the Colts, but he had never coached in the NFL — or college — before being handed the keys to the team. Saturday is the first NFL head coach with no college or pro coaching experience in more than 60 years.
Image Source: USA TODAY Sports
31. Steve Wilks, Carolina Panthers
Five games into the 2022 season and the Panthers finally pulled the plug on the Matt Rhule era. Rhule went 11-27 as Carolina’s head coach over two and a half seasons. During that stretch, the Panthers went an impossible 1-26 when their opponents scored over 17 points. Rhule’s tenure was dominated by one troubling concept — overconfidence. The supposed offensive guru attempted to rehabilitate several flailing QB’s (Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield), to no avail. The offense looked worse by the week. Perhaps Steve Wilks does a better job as interim coach.
Remember, Wilks was fired after just one year as Arizona’s coach back in 2018 — the team opted for Kliff Kingsbury and later drafted Kyler Murray after going 3-13. Now, he takes over a team that just traded away its best offensive player and is starting fourth-string QB P.J. Walker at quarterback.
Image Source: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
30. Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
Hackett’s tenure in Denver could not be off to a worse start. The former Green Bay offensive coordinator inherited a strong roster with the Broncos. Unfortunately, everything has gone wrong as the offense has cratered under new QB Russell Wilson. Hackett’s gameplan and in-game decision-making has been called into question. This could be a situation where Hackett is a one-and-done head coach, as he is seemingly best suited to be a coordinator at the NFL level.
Image Source: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
29. Lovie Smith, Houston Texans
In nine seasons (2004-’12) coaching the Chicago Bears, Smith went 81-63, won three division titles and made the Super Bowl. Coaching stops at Tampa Bay and the University of Illinois followed, where he went a combined 25-63. After spending the 2021 season as the Texans’ defensive coordinator, when it ranked 27th allowing 26.6 points per game, the franchise made him its head coach. Now, Smith was not Houston’s first choice, and there is plenty of baggage that comes with this job (hello, Deshaun Watson), but perhaps his experience and player likability will guide the Texans to a positive path.
Image Source: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
28. Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears
The Bears ranked 27th in offense last season, averaging 18.3 points. So, they go out and get a guy with a defensive background who’s never been a head coach….OK. Eberflus, who spent the last four seasons as Indianapolis’ defensive coordinator, is well respected around league. But, Chicago is a middling franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010. Perhaps the one area to keep an eye on under Eberflus is how former Green Bay quarterbacks coach and new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy gets along with quarterback Justin Fields.
Image Source: Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports
27. Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
In 2021, Detroit finished 3-13 during Campbell’s first season in charge. That’s four straight losing seasons for those keeping score at home. Yet, there is a strong sense of optimism that better days are ahead under Campbell. The Lions played hard, beat the Vikings, Cardinals and a laid-down Packers group. Plus, Jared Goff, D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson and Amon-Ra St. Brown (90 receptions, 912 yards, five TDs as a rookie in 2021) might be worthy pieces to build an offense around. The offense has started off strong in ’22, but it hasn’t translated to many wins. Can Campbell be the coach that turns Detroit into a winning team?
Image Source: /Getty Images
26. Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have gotten better each season since Kingsbury surprisingly got the job prior to the 2019 campaign. He recorded his first winning record (11-6) and a playoff berth last season, but that 34-11 wild-card loss to the Rams dampened things. Now, Kyler Murray’s apparent dislike of the Arizona franchise throws another wrinkle into this mess. That situation, obviously, will determine whether Kingsbury’s success with the Cardinals is halted. There is plenty of ‘wait and see’ when it comes to Kingsbury and the Cardinals.
Image Source: USA TODAY Sports
25. Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
It’s hard to gauge what to make of Smith after one 7-10 season. The Falcons, in rebuilding mode, had their moments in 2021, but won back-to-back games just once. They also averaged 18.4 points. The team parted ways with longtime QB Matt Ryan this offseason, and brought in veteran Marcus Mariota along with drafting Cincinnati hurler Desmond Ridder. It’s been an interesting start to Year 2 for Smith. Atlanta’s rush attack has been impressive, though the passing game leaves a ton to be desired. It’s especially peculiar given that the Falcons have recently spent two top-10 picks on pass catchers — Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Perhaps the offense opens up once Ridder gets inserted into the lineup, but only time will tell.
Image Source: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
24. Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Allen gets a second chance at a head-coaching gig. Perhaps the second time will be the charm. Allen went 8-28 while lasting fewer than three seasons before being fired as the Raiders head coach four games into the 2014 campaign. However, Smith spent the past seven seasons as the Saints defensive coordinator, so maybe familiarity will help this time around. Now, he has a quarterback situation that’s murky. Allen will not have the benefit of leaning on a Hall of Fame QB in Drew Brees much like Payton could. It’s difficult to judge Allen with his QB’s being Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton. And, without a first-round pick next year, it’s hard to imagine the Saints getting a major upgrade at that position anytime soon. For now, Allen will rely on his defensive prowess to get New Orleans back into the postseason.
Image Source: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
23. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
Will a new name make a difference for Rivera and Co? He’s 14-19 in two seasons with Washington, and has that back-door NFC East title from 2020. There’s enough talent on the Commanders’ roster for them to be competitive in 2022, but a veteran quarterback might truly help the cause. To the surprise of nobody, Carson Wentz was not the answer. Regardless, Rivera remains respected by players and fans, alike, but the wins need to start showing up.
Image Source: Scott Taestch/USA TODAY Sports
22. Robert Saleh, New York Jets
In Year 1, Saleh guided New York to a 4-13 record while ranking 28th in scoring (18.2 points per game) and last in points allowed (29). That’s not a great sign for a defensive-minded coach. Though, things could be turning around for Saleh and the Jets organization. New York has seemingly hit on a number of first-round picks over the years, and currently bolster an promising roster filled with blue-chippers. The Jets are off to a hot start in ’22, but Saleh’s ability to maintain consistency and navigate through several key injuries will ultimately decide their season.
Image Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
21. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
Two years into McCarthy’s Cowboys’ tenure and owner Jerry Jones already had to give his coach a vote of confidence. Dallas is the reigning NFC East champion, but that home playoff loss to San Francisco has many Cowboys fans questioning if McCarthy is the right guy for the job. It’s been more than 25 years since the Cowboys played in a Super Bowl and the natives are getting restless. McCarthy likely has little room for error in Year 3, so there should be plenty of drama in 2022.
Image Source: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
20. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
The NFL Coach of the Year in 2020 to one who missed the playoffs with an 8-9 mark in 2021. Those two ends of the NFL spectrum of success for Stefanski leaves uncertainty about 2022. Inconsistency reigned supreme in Cleveland in 2021, a highly disappointing moment for a franchise that appeared to be on the rise. Stefanski isn’t going anywhere, meanwhile. Currently boasting a losing record, the Browns and Stefanski are eagerly awaiting the return of disgraced QB Deshaun Watson to the lineup.
Image Source: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
19. Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A dramatic Buccaneers offseason saw the team lose their quarterback, regain their quarterback, only to lose their Super Bowl winning coach. Tom Brady, in; Bruce Arians, out. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles received the promotion to head coach, a position he is familiar with. Bowles was an interim coach for the Dolphins back in 2011 (three games) before being head coach for the New York Jets from 2015-18. Bowles won ten games in his first year with the Jets, but finished 14-33 over his last three seasons before ultimately getting canned. The Buccaneers boast one of the league’s top rosters and the greatest quarterback of all-time. Needless to say, the pressure is on for Bowles to attain immediate results.
Image Source: Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
18. Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
As offensive coordinator, O’Connell helped the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl. In Minnesota, he has some enticing offensive talent to work with – Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Now, is Kirk Cousins still in the Vikings’ long-term plans? That remains to be seen, but Minnesota fans just might end up liking this move. He’s given the team an immediate boost as the Vikings appear to be the class of the NFC North.
Image Source: Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports
17. Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Like Dennis Allen, McDaniels is trying his hand at another job running a team. McDaniels’ head-coaching tenure in Denver lasted 28 games with an 11-17 mark in 2009 and part of 2010. These Raiders are coming off making the playoffs, and made major improvements this offseason with the additions of Davante Adams and Chandler Jones. However, McDaniels must find a way to get comfortable outside New England. One would think the experience of his first head-coaching debacle will mean lessons learned and improvements made. After a troubling start, it appears as if McDaniels might have the Raiders back on track.
Image Source: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
16. Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Give the Jaguars credit for hiring a respected and successful coach. He’s a won a Super Bowl and one would think the culture of the team will improve. The Jaguars actually have potential on defense (they did hold Tennessee, Indianapolis and Buffalo to 20 or fewer points in games during the 2021 season). It might be a matter of Pederson tuning up quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who failed to complete 60 percent of his passes and threw just 12 touchdowns against 17 interceptions as a rookie. We’re not talking a Bengals-like turnaround, but Jacksonville could be better than a three-win team in 2022. Additionally, Pederson’s time with the Jags can’t possibly go any worse than Urban Meyer’s tenure.
Image Source: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
15. Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
It’s easy to bash Staley for his apparent timeout gaffe against the Raiders during the 2021 regular-season finale loss that kept L.A. out of the playoffs. Still, the Chargers went 9-8 during their first season under Staley, the analytics-obsessed talent with a promising future. Having quarterback Justin Herbert (5,014 yards, 38 TDs, 15 INTs) also helps this. Now, the AFC West is getting better all around, but we expect Staley and the Chargers to remain in the thick of things.
Image Source: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
14. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
In his two seasons prior as Bengals’ coach, Taylor’s group went 6-25. Then came 2021 — A 10-7 record, AFC North title, Cincinnati’s first playoff victory since the 1990 season and a Super Bowl appearance. Now, a healthy Joe Burrow, an elite running back in Joe Mixon and star receiver Ja’Marr Chase helps Taylor’s cause. It will be interesting to see how he and the Bengals build on this special season. Taylor and this group will look to prove their Super Bowl appearances wasn’t a fluke.
Image Source: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Spots
13. Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
Dolphins fans should be thrilled wit how the Mike McDaniel era has begun. The former San Francisco offensive coordinator has been a revelation for the Dolphins. His play-calling savvy has travelled to Miami, as the Dolphins keep teams off balance with a balanced mix of run and pass. The team also seems to love playing for McDaniel. Defenses will make adjustments as time passes, but there aren’t a whole lot of adjustments that can be made to prevent Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle from running free. This offense is for real, and McDaniel is the brains behind the whole operation.
Image Source: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
12. Brian Daboll, New York Giants
An early favorite for Coach of the Year, Brian Daboll has been everything the New York Giants hoped for and then some. Daboll’s early success makes one wonder how it took so long for him to receive his first chance as a head coach? In just a short time, Daboll has guided the Giants to their most wins since 2016, helped rejuvenate Saquon Barkley, and has Daniel Jones playing the best football of his career. Daboll’s creative scheme keeps defenses off balance, and he’s shown the confidence and cleverness needed to be a successful long-term coach.
Image Source: Kevin R. Wexler/USA TODAY Sports
11. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
It appears Carroll’s stellar tenure in Seattle won’t be ending — for the time being. However, he is delegating plenty of authority, and new associate head coach Sean Desai could be Carroll’s heir apparent. What we do know is that Carroll’s Seahawks are in the process of rebounding from missing the postseason for just the second time since 2012 (Russell Wilson’s rookie season). Seattle does seem to be winning the breakup thus far, and Carroll is pulling out all the stops with Geno Smith at QB.
Image Source: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
10. Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
Sirianni turned plenty of heads by taking the Eagles to the playoffs in his first season as coach. Perhaps most important, Sirianni earned the trust of his players and those fickle Philly fans — for now. Now, the Eagles are looking to seize control of the NFC with one of the most balanced teams in football. The offseason was kind to Sirianni and his squad, adding WR A.J. Brown, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and DT Jordan Davis. Philly is the last undefeated team remaining and Sirianni should get plenty of credit for how he’s handled the development of young quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Image Source: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
9. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Shanahan is regarded as one of the most brilliant minds in the game today. He’s a offensive guru who routinely draws up brilliant play designs. However, the question remains: can Shanahan lead a team to a Super Bowl win? His first taste of the big game came when he was offensive coordinator for the Falcons — and we all know how that ended for Atlanta. The 49ers came up short in their Super Bowl efforts against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in 2020. Both games saw Shanahan’s team giving up major leads down the stretch. San Francisco has all the talent in the world, but can Shanahan seal the deal?
Image Source: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
8. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
For now, John is the only head-coaching Harbaugh in the NFL. There might not be any if Lamar Jackson doesn’t get healthy and stay on the field in 2022. Yes, Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the game with four division titles and a Super Bowl win. But, the Ravens haven’t been to the AFC Championship since that Super Bowl triumph to conclude the 2012 campaign. Baltimore is an inconsistent group, and the AFC is getting tougher to navigate by the season. A disappointing year could lead to some serious changes around the Ravens.
Image Source: Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports
7. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s remarkable that Tomlin’s teams have never posted a losing record in any of his 15 seasons running the show in Pittsburgh. Of course, he doesn’t have Big Ben to lean on anymore. Not to mention, the AFC North is a beast from top to bottom. However, like John Harbaugh, Tomlin’s teams will always be in the mix. Maybe not among the best in the AFC, but teams certainly capable of winning each and every week. Tomlin does an excellent job of rallying his group and preparing them on a weekly basis.
Image Source: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports
6. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
The good news: Green Bay has won 75-percent of its games and capture three consecutive NFC North titles in three seasons under LaFleur. The bad: The Packers haven’t reached a Super Bowl in any of those seasons. Now, with reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers uncertain about his future in Green Bay, LaFleur’s job could get more difficult. Still, LaFleur is a proven winner who devises an excellent offensive gameplan. Remember, the Packers were under .500 in each of the two seasons prior to LaFleur’s arrival. He must receive some credit for the work he’s done in Green Bay thus far.
Image Source: Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports
5. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
The 2021 NFL Coach of the Year earned that designation by putting together a phenomenal season. Vrabel’s Titans won a second straight AFC South title, and did so with star running back Derrick Henry out for more than half of the season. Now, Tennessee failed to win a playoff game as the AFC’s top seed, and the playoff disappointments are beginning to mount. He’s 45-26 with three playoff appearances (2-3 record) in four-plus seasons at Tennessee, which most NFL coaches would dream of owning.
Image Source: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
4. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
Three straight seasons of at least 10 wins and back-to-back AFC East titles. McDermott has certainly put the Bills in position to possibly relive those glory days from the 1990s — except with a Super Bowl win this time around. However, Buffalo’s defense folded down the stretch last year and McDermott’s coaching decisions were questioned during that crushing divisional round loss to Kansas City. With McDermott and the Bills, it’s about taking the next step — which is making it to the Super Bowl. It’s safe to say the pressure should be mounting on McDermott to make that happen.
Image Source: Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports
3. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
For Belichick, there is life after Tom Brady. Thanks to rookie Mac Jones and a cast of non-household names, plus a stingy defense, the Patriots returned to the playoffs in 2021 following a down ’20. We don’t know how much longer Belichick plans to coach, but it’s still not wise to count his teams out. New England has some young talent that’s worth watching, and the defense will likely always play well under Belichick’s watch. As long as he patrols the sideline, the Patriots will never be an easy out.
Image Source: David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports
2. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Reid’s quest for a third consecutive Super Bowl berth was stymied by the upstart Bengals. Still, the Chiefs are perennial powers in the AFC. And, as long as Patrick Mahomes is under center, they are Super Bowl-worthy. Reid has posted seven straight seasons with at least 10 victories, and never experienced a losing campaign in his nine years with Kansas City. He’s in mid 60s, so Reid still has a few more miles left in the tank. Reid is widely regarded as one of the great coaches in NFL history, and the 2020 Super Bowl victory all but confirmed that.
Image Source: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
1. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
This wasn’t a clear-cut choice. Belichick and Reid both have extensive resume. However, McVay has not endured a losing season during his five-year run with the Rams, and totaled 55 regular-season victories plus his recent Super Bowl triumph. Even if he’s serious about an early retirement, McVay is the star of the NFL coaching ranks at the moment. His Rams’ have won three division titles and reached the Super Bowl twice in four years. He’s a consistent winner, is not afraid to take chances on veteran outcasts (Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller, and Bobby Wagner) and doesn’t often get outcoached.
Image Source: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports