This is my comprehensive, highly-subjective ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches, arranged in ascending order and grouped into four tiers. Note: There are only a few accomplished head coaches because owners regularly fire coaches. And there are significantly fewer exceptional coaches in the NFL than in college football because college coaches aren’t restricted to a draft and a salary cap.
Tier 1: The unproven.
These coaches have accomplished nothing. But they have high hopes because they’re new and their owners have invested a lot of money in them and their staffs. They could succeed or not. The jury is still out on them. It’s impossible to rate them at this point.
32. Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers. First season as a head coach. Fourteen games of experience as an offensive coordinator. Run-game specialist.
31. Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos. First season as a head coach. One season of experience as a defensive coordinator. Defensive-backfield specialist.
30. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams. First season as a head coach. Three years of experience as an offensive coordinator. The youngest head coach in NFL history. Extremely bright and creative.
29. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills. First season as a head coach. Eight seasons of experience as a defensive coordinator. One Super Bowl appearance in 2016 with the Carolina Panthers.
28. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers. First season as a head coach. Nine seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator. One Super Bowl appearance in 2017 with the Atlanta Falcons. Winner of last season’s Assistant Coach of the Year Award. One of the sharpest offensive minds in the league.
27. Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles. Second season as a head coach. Won seven games and missed the playoffs during his first season.
26. Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Second season as a head coach. Won nine games and missed the playoffs during his first season.
25. Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins. Second season as a head coach. Won 10 games and made a playoff appearance during his first season.
24. Ben McAdoo, New York Giants. Second season as a head coach. Won 11 games and made a playoff appearance during his first season.
Tier 2: The incomplete.
These coaches have more than one season of experience, but not enough to make a definitive judgment about them.
23. Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns. Third season as a head coach. Lost 15 games in 2016, which may not be his fault. He works for the worst organization and the worst front office in the NFL, and he coaches the least-talented roster.
22. Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars. Third season a head coach. Quit after his second season with the Bills even though he won nine games. His potential for success with the Jaguars is limited by his quarterback, Blake Bortles, who is one of the worst in the NFL.
21. Todd Bowles, New York Jets. Third season as a head coach. Won 10 games his first season but missed the playoffs, then won just five games during his second season. Now, the Jets front office has dismantled the roster, and the team seems to be tanking for the top pick in next year’s draft so they can get a franchise quarterback. Bowles probably won’t be around to coach that quarterback in 2018. Bowles is on the hot seat.