Vince Lombardi

QuantCoach.com

No Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Follow QuantCoach on Twitter

THE CHALKBOARD

Ranking the 2014 NFL Head Coaches

Like the 32 NFL coaches that are emerging from their off-season laboratories for the start of training camp, the QuantCoach is emerging from his off-season laboratory.

For the first time ever, that lab work included ranking the NFL head coaches from number one to number thirty-two.

These rankings are completely objective and based entirely on coaching statistics. Each coach was numerically ranked according to his average play design differential rank (Ha +/-) and average play design differential rank (TO +/-). His numerical ranking in each category was then summed to obtain a total numerical score. The lower his total numerical score, the better his final ranking. The best possible numerical score is "2." The worst possible numerical score is Ken Whisenhunt.

Like a financial balance sheet, the rankings are a snapshot in time.

The rankings are based solely on NFL games. College games, such as those coached by Chip Kelly, are not included. Up to the last 80 games (5 years) of a coach are included. If a current head coach was an offensive or defensive coordinator during some of those games prior to becoming a head coach, the games are still included in the calculation, although only games as a head coach are listed in the "GMs" column of the rankings table. As a result, the position of some head coaches in the rankings--e.g., Joe Philbin and Bill O'Brien--is likely to change, perhaps dramatically, as data from their tenure assisting successful head coaches drops out of the calculation and is replaced by data generated during their tenure as a head coach. In such cases, the rankings should NOT be interpreted to mean the former assistant of a successful head coach is a better head coach than a head coach who is ranked based only on his data as a head coach--e.g., Pete Carroll and Sean Payton.

The contribution of critical assistant coaches is not separated in the data. For instance, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin ranked first in play design differential and former Steelers' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, now Arizona's head coach, ranked fifth in that category. Undoubtedly, their positions in the rankings have been bolstered by the outstanding design of Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

For NFL head coaches who have been in the position for at least 48 games (3 years), the following conclusions are supportable:

1. A head coach with a final score under 30 is a keeper. There are 12 such coaches, the same number as the number of teams that qualify for the NFL playoffs. Six of those 12 coaches (50%) have led their team to a Super Bowl win. Among the other 20 current NFL coaches, only the Giants' Tom Coughlin has led a team to a Super Bowl win (5%). The top 12 NFL coaches have won a total of eight Lombardi Trophies and are a combined 8-2 in the Super Bowl (.800) while Couglin's pair is the only Lombardi Trophies won by the other 20 coaches, who are a combined 2-6 in the Super Bowl (.250).

2. A head coach with a score between 31 and 40 is serviceable. These coaches like Coughlin, Lovie Smith, Marvin Lewis and Andy Reid win a lot of regular season games and division titles and occasionally advance to the Super Bowl. But, as stated above, only Coughlin has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

3. A head coach with a score above 40 is either: (a) a first or second year head coach who took over a declining or bad team; or (b) on the "hot seat" or likely will be soon unless he is lucky enough to have Peyton Manning as his quarterback; or (c) is named Jeff Fisher, who is usually good against the point spread, but just so-so on the field.

Rank

Coach

Team

GMs

Ha +/-

TO +/-

Total

Comment

1.

Kelly

Phil

16

2

5

7

You say you want a revolution?

2T.

McCarthy

GB

80

4

4

8

He's Jim Harbaugh plus a few years.

2T.

Harbaugh

SF

48

6

2

8

He's Mike McCarthy minus a few years.

4.

Belichick

NE

80

12

1

13

He is "Grand Master No Flash."

5T.

O'Brien

Hou

0

11

3

14

Romeo, Mangini, Josh didn't fare well as HC.

5T.

Philbin

Mia

32

8

6

14

Would be No. 31 on just his Miami data.

7.

Carroll

Sea

64

9

7

16

Both Ha +/- & TO +/- have improved every year.

8.

Rivera

Car

48

7

13T

20

First Ha +/- improved, then TO +/- did too.

9.

Payton

NO

80

3

19

22

Would be higher with Mike Smith's TO +/-.

10.

Gruden

Wash

0

10

16

26

Picked a great stretch to work in Cincinnati.

11T.

Tomlin

Pitt

80

1

27

28

Tied with HC of Steelers' bitterest rival.

11T.

Harbaugh

Balt

80

17

11

28

Tied with HC of Ravens' bitterest rival.

13.

Arians

Ariz

16

5

26

31

He's finally out from under LeBeau's shadow.

14T.

Trestman

Chi

16

23

9T

32

Fixed O-line, but may need new DC to move up.

14T.

Pagano

Indy

32

20

12

32

Needs to improve Ha +/- to move up.

14T.

L. Smith

TB

80

25

9T

32

Average.

17T.

Coughlin

NYG

80

13T

21T

34

Average (with 2 great playoff runs).

17T.

Lewis

Cin

80

13T

21T

34

Average.

17T.

Zimmer

Minn

0

13T

21T

34

Pass D has improved each of past 4 years.

20.

Garrett

Dal

48

18

18

36

Slightly below average (except to Jerry Jones).

21.

M. Smith

Atl

80

30

8

38

Would be higher with Sean Payton's Ha +/-.

22.

Reid

KC

80

22

17

39

He's surprisingly low on this list.

23T.

Pettine

Clev

0

19

21

40

Will move up with fewer giveaways.

23T.

Marrone

Buff

16

27

13T

40

Will have to do better to keep job after sale.

25T.

Fisher

St. L

80

29

15

44

Be careful betting against him.

25T.

McCoy

SD

16

16

28

44

Will move up with more takeaways.

27.

Bradley

Jax

16

31

19

50

Seattle apples fall far from their trees.

28.

Caldwell

Det

48

26

25

51

Imagine if he didn't have Peyton for 2 years.

29.

Fox

Den

80

21

31

52

Imagine if he didn't have Peyton for 2 years.

30.

Ryan

NYJ

80

24

29

53

His Ha +/- has diminished every year of his tenure.

31.

Allen

Oak

32

28

30

58

Next please.

32.

Whisenhunt

Tenn

64

32

32

64

Can somebody please get this man a QB?

(Archives Home)

10 Commandments

About QuantCoach

Recipe Equations

WeeklyStatistics

Team Standings

Football Knowledge

YOU MAKE THE CALL:
What game or team would you like the QuantCoach to analyze using QC's coaching statistics? Use Twitter or the headset to send QC a game that you remember or a team that you followed and QC will post an analysis using the QC coaching statistics on the Chalkboard.

Contact QuantCoach

© 2009 QuantCoach.com
QuantCoach.com is not affiliated with the National Football League or any of its members.
The material contained on QuantCoach.com is for entertainment purposes only.