Top 10 NFL Head Coaches Heading into 2012

Tom Coughlin‘s run with the Giants has been anything but smooth sailing. Despite two Super Bowl titles in the last four seasons, Coughlin’s name is regularly brought up to be fired whenever his teams loses a couple of games in a row.

It happened again this season when the Giant were hovering around .500 and appeared to be on their way to missing the playoffs. But Coughlin wouldn’t let that happen and the Giants rallied late in the season to make the playoffs and won four postseason games to cop their fourth — and perhaps most improbable — Lombardi Trophy.

Coughlin used to be known as an ill-tempered disciplinarian who demanded everything be done his way. Sometime on the way to his team’s triumph in Super Bowl XLII, Coughlin got the message that it was OK to relax a little bit. He didn’t become an easy man to work for but he let all his players know that he understood they were human beings and that allowed him to reach them in a way he had never done before. That’s why he ranks as the No. 1 coach in the NFL.

2. Bill Belichick is nothing like the monotone leader you see answering mid-week questions from the press when he stands at the podium in Foxboro. Instead, the Patriots head coach is a master of motivation who finds the right buttons to push to get the best effort out of his players. He’s also a top strategist, although he will make some ill-advised challenges from time to time.

3. John Harbaugh keeps everything fresh for the Ravens and that’s why the team responds with physical play on a weekly basis. He’s gotten a more consistent effort from the offense even though he came to the job as special-teams innovator.

4. Gary Kubiak is as strong an offensive game planner as there is in the NFL. He understands how to find the weak spots in the defense and he showed in 2011 that his offense can take any defense apart when it is healthy. He kept his Houston Texans together when starting quarterback Matt Schaub went down and many coaches would have failed under those circumstances.

5. Mike Smith has had several questionable moments when it comes to in-game strategy and challenging officials’ calls. But Smith has gotten a maximum effort out of his Atlanta Falcons because his players have genuine affection for him and would go through a brick wall to please him. That kind of loyalty is rare in any sport.

6. Mike Tomlin is a tough guy who gets his point across with clarity and strong language. But Tomlin cannot be categorized as a yeller and a screamer. He is all about preparation and when his Steelers take the field, he knows more about your team than you do about his team. That gives him a competitive advantage on a consistent basis.

7. Jim Harbaugh had one great year with the San Francisco 49ers, coming within an overtime field goal of going to the Super Bowl in his first season as an NFL head coach. Harbaugh believes in his players and his confidence was palpable. Will he remain on top of his game or will he start to wear on his players with his over-the-top intensity.

8. Lovie Smith
knows how to coach defense and he has gotten the most from a unit that features aging star players like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs. His players appreciate his calm demeanor and straight-forward attitude. Players who relax on Smith’s watch don’t last long with the Chicago Bears.

9. Mike McCarthy won the Super Bowl with the Packers following the 2010 season and the team made a run at an undefeated season and defending its title but fell short in both areas. McCarthy has few equals when it comes to playing the matchup game. He always puts his players in an advantageous position and that has allowed the Packers to become a dominant team.

10. Sean Payton also knows the matchup game and he maximizes the great talent he has on the New Orleans Saints. In addition to becoming a top strategist, Payton has helped culitivate an enthusiastic environment that allows players to take chances without fear of arousing the coach’s anger.

References: — The Greatest Coaches Ever — Power Rankings: The Top 10 NFL coaches

I have done personal interviews with Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith and Jim Harbaugh

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *