There has never been a year in NFL history in which there were nine head coach hires in one offseason. But that was the case in 2022, with more than one-fourth of the league changing coaches.
So which teams made the best hires, and which ones left a lot to be desired? Here are our 2022 head coach hire rankings.
Ranking 2022 NFL Head Coach Hires
9. Lovie Smith, Houston Texans
It’s tough to get behind the Lovie Smith hire for the Texans. He was already on the staff last year, and they could have just kept him and David Culley. Instead, Smith has even more responsibility despite his defense being among the worst in the NFL last season.
This is even more concerning because Smith has flamed out in his last two jobs as a head coach (combined record of 23-63 in his previous 86 games as a head coach), and he turns 64 this year.
Smith isn’t a long-term solution, and the Texans needed someone to help the offense get back on track. Unfortunately, Lovie Smith accomplishes neither of those goals.
Houston should have held onto Culley or have gone with a younger, offensive-minded coach like Eric Bieniemy or Byron Leftwich. Instead, this hire seems doomed from the start.
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8. Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears
Matt Eberflus is widely regarded as one of the better defensive coordinators in the NFL, but this hiring doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, Chicago has always been a defensive-minded city, and they might be trying to go back to their roots with an old-school defensive coach.
However, this organization will ultimately sink or swim because of Justin Fields. Better options were available that could have helped Fields grow, such as Brian Daboll, Josh McDaniels, or Eric Bieniemy. But, instead, they went with Eberflus.
I don’t hate it, but they could have done better during this head coaching cycle.
7. Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
Given Zac Taylor and Matt LaFleur’s success this season, it’s tough to criticize anyone hiring a coach from Sean McVay’s staff. But Kevin O’Connell has been a coach for just seven years, and it’s fair to wonder what he might look like away from McVay.
However, we should credit O’Connell for his work this year with the Los Angeles Rams. They finished No. 6 in points per game and were No. 1 in the NFL in yards during the 2020 season. His offenses have been creative, and they’ve maintained a good run-pass ratio, which should be encouraging for Dalvin Cook.
O’Connell promised to work with Kirk Cousins, and they may be a perfect match as his offense utilizes a ton of play-action and throws over the middle of the field. As long as they can protect Cousins, he should put up some big numbers in this upcoming season.
Despite O’Connell coming in at No. 7 on this list, this does feel like a pretty good hire for the Vikings.
6. Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton retired late in the coaching cycle process, leaving the Saints scrambling. However, they did well by promoting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to the head job.
Allen obviously knows the franchise and the personnel well, as he’s been with the team since 2015. He’s still relatively young at 49, and his defense just finished No. 4 in the NFL in points allowed per game.
The Saints are about to go through a rebuilding process because of their cap situation and quarterback, but Allen should be able to keep them competitive with his defense. This isn’t the flashiest hire in the world, but this one made a ton of sense for New Orleans.
5. Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
If the Jaguars had hired Byron Leftwich instead, they might have been No. 1 in our rankings. It just seemed like a perfect fit, but the rumblings around the league were that he declined the job because he didn’t want to work with Trent Baalke.
Instead, Jacksonville goes with a proven coach in Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.
Pederson is one of the better offensive-minded coaches in the league, and he should be able to help Trevor Lawrence develop. But Pederson’s departure in Philadelphia is still a bit worrisome, as the team went just 4-11-1 in 2020.
Could a year off helped Pederson? It’s certainly possible.
BET TIP: The Jaguars have now owned the No. 1 pick in back-to-back years. If Pederson can get this team close to a winning record or into the playoffs, he’ll be among the favorites to win the 2022-2023 Coach of the Year Award. Keep an eye on his odds once they are released, as a competent head coach in Jacksonville may be all they need to be competitive soon.
4. Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
For several weeks, it appeared to be a lock that Dan Quinn (defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys) would be the next head coach of the Broncos. But out of nowhere, Nathaniel Hackett got the job, and it’s only fair to wonder if that was due to the potential interest of Aaron Rodgers.
Hackett was the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers over the last three years, and Rodgers won the NFL MVP in two of those seasons. For a quarterback that appeared to be in decline in 2017 and 2018, Hackett helped him get back on top.
Even if Hackett and the front office don’t get Rodgers to Denver, he is still a worthy hire for the Broncos. His work with Buffalo and Jacksonville was incredible, and he’s only 42 years old.
Whatever quarterback lands in Denver, look for Hackett to help make them better and improve the entire offense.
3. Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
The firing of Brian Flores is still mind-boggling, considering the Dolphins had back-to-back winning seasons. But as unjust as that firing was, they nailed this hire as Mike McDaniel could be the next offensive guru in the NFL.
McDaniel has worked under Kyle Shanahan for most of his career, and he’s been a big reason why the 49ers have had such a good rushing attack over the last five years. Their run game concepts are among the most unique in the NFL, and he helped turn Deebo Samuel into one of the league’s most dynamic offensive weapons.
With the franchise banking on Tua Tagovailoa in 2022 and beyond, McDaniel might be the perfect coach to get the most out of him going forward. Look for him to create easy reads and throws that should make him much more comfortable under center.
2. Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels did not work out as a head coach the first time around as he was one of the youngest coaches in NFL history. But after leaving the Broncos and going back to New England, it appears he has matured as a coach.
The Patriots had a ton of success on offense over the last decade, and McDaniels’ work with Mac Jones as a rookie was highly impressive. But one of the reasons why this hiring makes so much sense for the Raiders is that McDaniels can work with a proven quarterback like Derek Carr.
The Raiders won 10 games last year with an interim head coach, and if McDaniels can improve the play from Carr even a little bit, and with the offense not that far from being elite, this team should be right back in the playoff hunt in 2022.
1. Brian Daboll, New York Giants
Daboll is precisely the type of coach the Giants needed after Joe Judge. He’s got a ton of experience working with young quarterbacks, and he’s coached under Bill Belichick and Nick Saban throughout his career.
Daboll’s experienced, he calls plays, and is a proven winner. Plus, he’s got the right attitude and mindset to thrive in the New York area.
Daboll was the best coaching candidate during this cycle, and the Giants were wise to grab him and pair him with defensive mastermind Don “Wink” Martindale. Don’t be surprised if Daboll makes the Giants playoff contenders sooner rather than later.
Current NFL Coaches 2022
|Team||Head Coach||Offensive Coordinator||Defensive Coordinator|
|Arizona Cardinals||Kliff Kingsbury||Kliff Kingsbury||Vance Joseph|
|Atlanta Falcons||Arthur Smith||Dave Ragone||Dean Pees|
|Baltimore Ravens||John Harbaugh||Greg Roman||Mike Macdonald*|
|Buffalo Bills||Sean McDermott||Ken Dorsey*||Leslie Frazier|
|Carolina Panthers||Matt Rhule||Ben McAdoo*||Phil Snow|
|Chicago Bears||Matt Eberflus*||Luke Getsy*||Alan Williams*|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Zac Taylor||Brian Callahan||Lou Anarumo|
|Cleveland Browns||Kevin Stefanski||Alex Van Pelt||Joe Woods|
|Dallas Cowboys||Mike McCarthy||Kellen Moore||Dan Quinn|
|Denver Broncos||Nathaniel Hackett*||Justin Outten*||Ejiro Evero*|
|Detroit Lions||Dan Campbell||Ben Johnson*||Aaron Glenn|
|Green Bay Packers||Matt LaFleur||Adam Stenavich*||Joe Barry|
|Houston Texans||Lovie Smith*||Pep Hamilton*||Lovie Smith|
|Indianapolis Colts||Frank Reich||Marcus Brady||Gus Bradley*|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Doug Pederson*||Press Taylor*||Mike Caldwell*|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Andy Reid||Eric Bienemy||Steve Spagnuolo|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Brandon Staley||Joe Lombardi||Renaldo Hill|
|Los Angeles Rams||Sean McVay||Liam Coen||Raheem Morris|
|Las Vegas Raiders||Josh McDaniels*||Mick Lombardi*||Patrick Graham*|
|Miami Dolphins||Mike McDaniel*||Frank Smith*||Josh Boyer|
|Minnesota Vikings||Kevin O'Connell*||Wes Phillips*||Ed Donatell*|
|New England Patriots||Bill Belichick||To Be Hired||Bill Belichick|
|New Orleans Saints||Dennis Allen*||Pete Carmichael||To Be Hired|
|New York Giants||Brian Daboll*||Mike Kafka*||Don Martindale*|
|New York Jets||Robert Saleh||Mike LaFleur||Jeff Ulbrich|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Nick Sirianni||Shane Steichen||Jonathan Gannon|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Mike Tomlin||Matt Canada||Teryl Austin*|
|Seattle Seahawks||Pete Carroll||Shane Waldron||Clint Hurtt*|
|San Francisco 49ers||Kyle Shanahan||To Be Hired||DeMeco Ryans|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Todd Bowles*||Byron Leftwich||Kacy Rodgers/Larry Foote*|
|Tennessee Titans||Mike Vrabel||Todd Downing||Shane Bowen|
|Washington Commanders||Ron Rivera||Scott Turner||Jack Del Rio|
* — indicates new hire