Who the head coach of your favorite NFL team is can make quite the difference. Not every head coach manages their team the same way, but some coaches have a notable influence over the results of their team for that season.
There are a variety of factors that go into making a good head coach, such as approachability, hiring, management styles, scheme development, and play calling.
From the list of the five newly head coaches, we put the three coaches who have never held a head-coaching position at the bottom of the list since there is no basis to go off of. Meanwhile, the two coaches who have previously held HC positions are ranked based on previous experience.
Heading into the beginning of the 2023-24 league year, let’s determine who the best coach is in the NFL.
NFL Head Coach Power Rankings 32-21
32. Jonathan Gannon, Arizona Cardinals
Gannon arrives in Arizona fresh off of a Super Bowl appearance as the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, but his tenure ended around uneasy circumstances. He reportedly engaged in contract talks with the Cardinals during the Super Bowl run, which is expressly prohibited under the NFL’s anti-tampering rules.
Gannon’s Arizona staff is young, with both coordinators coming in under the age of 35.
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31. DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
Ryans came over from the 49ers to coach the team that he played six seasons for, and he comes highly regarded after coaching the 49ers defense to an NFC Championship appearance.
30. Shane Steichen, Indianapolis Colts
Steichen is the third new head coach and the other Philadelphia coordinator to receive a job upgrade this offseason. The fit for Steichen in Indy feels natural, and it got even better once the team selected QB Anthony Richardson in the NFL Draft.
With Richardson, Steichen gets his version of Jalen Hurts, and it will be exciting to see how he helps to mold him.
29. Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Allen’s first season with the Saints was hardly memorable, going 7-10 while struggling through a season with Andy Dalton as his quarterback. Enter Derek Carr, who could be the savior for the Saints.
Allen is on thin ice, though, because the Saints may not choose to keep him if the team cannot make the playoffs in a very weak NFC South division this season.
28. Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bowles is in a similar situation to Allen, though he gets a tiny bit more leeway due to the fact that his quarterbacks this season are Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. His first season as the coach of the Buccaneers was Tom Brady’s last, and it didn’t end that well, as the team finished 8-9, winning the South but getting bulldozed in the first round of the playoffs.
With Brady out of the building now, the onus falls on Bowles to makeover this team in his image. How that process goes this year will likely determine how many more years he gets.
27. Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
McDaniels just kept finding ways to shoot himself in the foot last season. Former Colts’ coach Jeff Saturday had his lone win against him, multiple three-score leads were blown, and above it all, McDaniels seemed to place all the blame on outgoing QB Derek Carr, who he forced out the door only to bring in journeyman Jimmy Garoppolo to be the starter.
McDaniels feels destined to be the first coach to be let go this upcoming season, especially after there were reportedly multiple closed-door meetings between him and owner Mark Davis last year.
26. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
What has McCarthy done lately to merit any spot higher than this, truthfully? Great, he won one playoff game, but the Cowboys truthfully were much better than only one playoff win, after which the team fired OC Kellen Moore and McCarthy opined he wanted to “run the ball way more.”
I wonder if McCarthy realizes the NFL is a passing league?
25. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
“RiverBoat” Ron has a much better coaching resume than this ranking presumes, but it’ll all be naught in the meantime, as his star has taken a bit of a freefall in recent years. He has not won in the playoffs since 2015, and at this point, he shouldn’t expect to make the playoffs anytime soon with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett as his quarterbacks.
Last year, he notably was unaware of the Commanders’ likelihood of playoff elimination and had seemingly checked out, so it would not shock me if he also was relieved of his duties at some point this season.
24. Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears
It’s unfair to grade Eberflus’ first season as anything more than an incomplete, as GM Ryan Poles was still putting all the pieces together. That still holds true, but Eberflus should be able to assert more of his game plan on to the team this season, as the Bears added WR D.J. Moore, as well as a few other notable pieces.
It remains to be seen if the defensive specialist can address what was a horrific defense that had almost zero talent on that side of the ball last year, but if he can, he will keep control of this organization for a little bit longer.
23. Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Smith drafted two elite offensive talents in back-to-back years in Kyle Pitts and Drake London, so what do you think he did primarily on the offensive side whenever he could? That’s right, he ran the ball play after play after play.
To be fair, maybe he just didn’t have a ton of confidence in letting rookie QB Desmond Ridder air the ball out 35-plus times per game, but come on, get your star players involved, please? You spent top-10 picks on them.
With Bijan Robinson entering the mix this year, I expect the Falcons and Smith to once again run a ton, but if they don’t make the playoffs this season, Smith could be on his way out.
22. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
Stefanski is a solid coach, and blessed with the No. 2 unit in our NFL offensive line power rankings, but when asked to shift the Browns’ identity from being a run-heavy team (his specialty) to a pass-happy one (not), he floundered.
It will be key for him in a tough AFC North to figure out how to address making Deshaun Watson perform as well as he did while playing in Houston, because last year’s statlines were rough for a guy you just paid $230 million guaranteed to.
21. Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers (2023 New Hire)
Reich returns to the head coaching ranks after being ousted from the Colts in the first quarter of the 2022 season, and he immediately gets a shiny new QB to help mold in Bryce Young.
The Panthers have a ton of young pieces on both sides of the ball, and Reich’s reputation as a solid coach for quarterbacks should help Young flourish early.
NFL Head Coach Power Rankings 20-11
20. Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
What a difference a year makes, as Staley went from being regarded as the AFC’s wunderkind coach who could do no wrong and was heavily aggressive on 4th down in 2021, to a coach who seemingly made the wrong choice every time and was majorly hamstrung by checkdown-magnate OC Joe Lombardi, who let let go after the season.
Now, Staley did make the playoffs in 2022, so he has to get credit there, but overall, he is going to have to get better on the defensive side of the ball in 2023 if he expects to stay with Justin Herbert.
19. Robert Saleh, New York Jets
You have to give Saleh a lot of credit, as he transformed the Jets’ defense into a truly elite unit and handled the benching of former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson well. The problem was on the offensive side of the ball, where there was a revolving door at the quarterback position.
That issue is seemingly fixed now that Aaron Rodgers has arrived in town, so it will be interesting to see how Saleh handles his ego. That will be the true test of his coaching mettle.
18. Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
O’Connell was in the running for Coach of the Year honors last season, as the Vikings rode an insanely lucky record in one-score games to 13 wins, but then the voters came to their senses as they figured something was fishy with the Vikings having a negative-point differential.
KOC did let go of his DC Ed Donatell at the end of the season after the Vikings allowed close game after close game due to defensive mishaps, but he has to rebuild that defense from the ground up if he will have any shot at longevity.
All in all, O’Connell started well in his rookie campaign.
17. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
Everyone please be quiet about LaFleur winning at least 13 games in three of his four seasons with Aaron Rodgers, because now we get to see what LaFleur does WITHOUT one of the most talented quarterbacks of all-time.
My main issue with LaFleur is his play-calling choices, specifically in the playoffs. We saw a massive issue rise up without Davante Adams in the offense last season, and now, without Rodgers, we will truly see what kind of a coach he is when he has to mold the offense on his own.
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16. Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
Everyone loves themselves some kneecap-biting, or so I’ve heard. The culture shift in Detroit over the past 24 months has been profound, and we finally believe the Lions are close to returning to the playoffs in 2023.
Now the real question for Campbell is: can he get it right? Can he mash everything together in order to create a perfect storm?
The Lions have assembled a solid offense, and while their defense will have hiccups, there have been proactive moves made to address holes. The arrow is currently pointing up for Campbell.
15. Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
McDaniel came over from the 49ers last season and all eyes were immediately on how he would transform the remains of the program that Brian Flores left in disarray, and he did not disappoint. Despite closing the season with five losses in six games, the Dolphins made the playoffs, and nearly beat the Buffalo Bills despite starting Skylar Thompson at quarterback.
This year, McDaniel convinced grizzled veteran DC Vic Fangio to sign on to help the defense out, so there are a lot of expectations on the young coach to succeed. Right now, it appears he is set up to overachieve.
14. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
McDermott landing this low could be surprising to some, but to me, he just seems to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. He has coached well and carried the team far in previous years, but the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl just seems to keep avoiding the Bills, and I tend to think McDermott isn’t doing enough to address it.
To me, this feels like he keeps papering over the issues without fully understanding the problem. Until he makes a big shift in his defensive play calling, I’m not sure the Bills can get there.
13. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
Taylor has gone from being considered a bumbling coach to a fiery personality who is the engine of the Bengals’ success in recent years alongside Joe Burrow. He hasn’t had to do much though, as the offensive explosion from Burrow and his offensive weapons has played exceptionally well and the defense under Lou Anarumo has also overachieved.
12. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Pete came out of the Russell Wilson trade deal smelling like absolute roses, as the Seahawks used the draft capital and players acquired to completely reinvent their team. Carroll’s faith in Geno Smith paid off, as the Seahawks made the playoffs as a wild-card team and look poised to go even further in the 2023 season.
The main concern for Pete this season should be continuing to fix things on the defensive side of the ball, and if he can do that, he will be able to stay in Seattle as long as he wants.
11. Sean Payton, Denver Broncos (2023 New Hire)
Payton to Denver is a very interesting marriage because it appears that he is not the biggest fan of Russell Wilson at first glance, but he has committed to giving this a shot.
Payton brings his creative offensive schemes to an offense that is desperately in need of a boost on that side of the ball.
NFL Head Coach Power Rankings 10-1
10. Brian Daboll, New York Giants
The 2022 Coach of the Year Award winner had to get into the top 10 here, even though there was a name we’ll get to soon who deserved it more. Daboll took a hapless Giants team that was totally devoid of talent on the offensive side of the ball apart from Saquon Barkley and turned them into a playoff team that took out the 13-win Vikings on the road in the NFC Divisional Round before falling to the Eagles.
He has always been a creative offensive play caller, but can Daboll truly do more than that with Daniel Jones as his franchise quarterback? I would put my money on no, but I’ve been wrong about franchise quarterbacks before.
9. Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Dougie P. made his return to the NFL head coaching ranks by making a playoff run that was absolutely thrilling, coming back from a 27-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the following round. By doing so, he proved that his book of tricks had not run stale with the Eagles, and he was ready to dive back in.
Pederson has control of a fun offense with multiple weapons surrounding franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence, so expect him to keep creating fun things there with Lawrence looking better and better.
NFL Coach of the Year Bet: Doug Pederson (+2200) • DraftKings Sportsbook
8. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
Vrabel’s Titans tumbled down the stretch last season, a byproduct of his system that relied on role players playing like stars, running like you were being chased by a car, and a defense that played out of its mind. It was truly a house of cards, but it worked, up until it didn’t.
Now that the Ryan Tannehill era is coming to an end, how will Vrabel go about reconstructing an offense that is devoid of quite a few pieces, including complementary wide receivers and a truly solid offensive line? Derrick Henry can’t do everything himself, so Vrabel will have to drum up some truly special magic to get back to the top.
I believe he can do it.
7. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
The offensive wunderkind himself tumbles a bit in these power rankings after last season revealed just what happens when you run on fumes for years without having depth to restock the cabinets. Things had to come to a head at some point, and many thought McVay would depart LA for greener pastures (read: TV).
He didn’t, though, and came back, but one certainly could wonder what kind of timetable has McVay put on this semi-rebuild that the Rams have to go through in order to be a perennial contender again?
6. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Shanahan is one of the best offensive play callers in the league, and somehow has been able to run deep in the playoffs with quarterbacks like Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy leading the way.
The question remains, though, if he can take his team over the top. The answer so far seems to be no, as his quarterbacks end up being the weakness that gets exploited on the biggest stage year after year.
Until that changes, we are unsure if he can get any higher than this
5. Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
I truly believe that Sirianni deserved the Coach of the Year Award last season, and it’s not because I’m an Eagles fan. It’s because Sirianni went 14-3, was the engine behind one of the three best offenses in the entire NFL, and truly showed that he had what it takes to manage a team to a Super Bowl appearance in only his second season on the job.
Some people take issue with his mannerisms or how he acts on the sideline, but Sirianni is a perfect fit for the Eagles’ culture, and it currently feels like he’ll be in Philadelphia for a long time.
4. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
The years continue to throw whatever they can at Tomlin, and he just responds the same way every season: by winning more games than he loses. He has not had a losing record in any of the 16 seasons that he has coached the Steelers, and he just keeps on pushing through in admirable ways.
He is a no-nonsense coach who always manages to do more with less, and despite the fact that deep playoff runs are probably out of the picture without an elite QB for this roster, Tomlin always has a shot.
3. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Another coach that rises above issues, Harbaugh has only had two losing seasons in his 15 years as the head coach of the Ravens. The main issue with Harbaugh is that he has been too patient at times, an issue that reared its head with recently-fired OC Greg Roman, who stayed probably two years too long with an antiquated offensive system revolving around running the ball.
Harbaugh set out to fix this problem by hiring former UGA OC Todd Monken, whose high-flying passing offense could rejuvenate newly-signed Lamar Jackson to some career numbers. In any case, Harbaugh’s job security should be safe as long as he wants to stay.
2. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Many people will opine that Belichick is the greatest coach in modern NFL history, and there isn’t a disagreement for it. Tom Brady was the engine to his success, but Belichick was a master strategist and his defensive tendencies are among some of the best in football history.
Don’t ever count out Belichick, as even with Mac Jones bumbling around at the helm he has almost managed multiple playoff appearances. Still, eras come and go in the NFL, and despite the two coaches being from the same era, one has a quarterback that is able to do much, much more for his team currently.
1. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
The top team at the end of this past season’s NFL Power Rankings also has its coach claim the No. 1 2023 preseason spot here after the NFL Draft.
This Eagles fan loves to see a former Eagles coach at the top, and Reid deserves all of the adulation he has garnered over the past several years. Sure, some of it comes from having the best football player on the planet in Patrick Mahomes quarterbacking your team, but Reid is an offensive genius whose strategies and tactics go all the way back to the early 2000s when he was honing his skills as the Eagles’ head coach.
Reid had a reputation for years as a coach who was formidable but couldn’t win the big game, but that has changed as he has brought two Super Bowl titles to Kansas City. Something tells me he’s not quite done yet.