Image by: Keith Allison
By Thomas Stone
They call it “Black Monday.” It’s the first work day after the final game of the regular season when coaches and general managers from under-performing National Football League (NFL) teams are shown the door and given their walking papers.
It is a way for owners, players and fans to wipe the slate clean and start over. Overall, seven coaches were let go this past Monday, but two stood out as particularly sad: Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Philadelphia Eagles head man Andy Reid.
Both were under a tremendous amount of pressure this season to get their team’s the playoffs, and both men failed. But it was still a bit of a shock to see them go, for sure. Great guys, I’m sure they’ll bounce back. Or are they done? Tune in to find out.
But it wasn’t all bad news in 2012. There are a number of NFL coaches who saw their stocks rise due to having such a good campaign last year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano was plucked from the college ranks to take over a struggling Tampa franchise. They missed the playoffs, but the Bucs improved by three games this year.
Yet, even that type of enhancement isn’t good enough to make the top five. You know, the guys who are a cut above the rest, the coaches who are perennial playoff contenders, usually placing their team in a Super Bowl position year-in and year-out.
In celebration of those guys who represent the best of what the NFL has to offer, here are the top five NFL coaches in order, starting with the best.
#1 – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
For his career with New England, Belichick (pictured above) has 208 wins and three Super Bowls.
#2 – Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
McCarthy led his team to a Super Bowl win in 2010. Since that point, the Packers have lost just six games in the regular season.
#3 – John Fox, Denver Broncos
For the second straight year, Fox has his team in the playoffs. This time he’s doing it with Peyton Manning, and the Broncos are on an 11-game win streak.
#4 – Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
Kubiak has his team primed for a run at the Super Bowl. The Texans just posted the franchise’s first-ever back-to-back winning seasons.
#5 – Jim Harbough, San Francisco 49ers
This last slot was a little tough to choose. There is Harbaugh’s brother in Baltimore, Mike Tomblin in Pittsburgh, and Sean Payton in New Orleans, even though he’s suspended. But Harbough makes sense as many expect for him to lead the Niners back to the promised land.
These gentlemen are the cream of the NFL crop, and each have taken their teams to the playoffs. Out of the bunch, each team has a legit chance to win the Super Bowl. (Don’t agree with any of my picks? Leave a comment below.)
Bottom line, Belichick is always in this position, no matter the circumstances, and Kubiak is simply trying to show – and prove – that the Texans are a real contender.
Harbaugh is the new kid on the block, but the 49ers haven’t won this many games since the Seahawks were in the AFC.
Whichever coach emerges victorious as NFL champs after the Super Bowl, that individual is due for a hefty payday. Oh, and that parade at Disney World.