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Top 5 most overrated head coaches in the NFL

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There are a lot of great coaches in the NFL.

Guys like Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, and even a youngster like Sean McVay are likely future Hall of Famers. We know all about those guys.

Then there are some underrated head coaches. Mike Vrabel doesn’t get enough love. Neither does Ron Rivera, who has dealt with some tough situations in his career.

And then, of course, there are the overrated head coaches. The ones who get a little too much credit. These are coaches that a team wins “in spite of”, not “because of”.

Here’s who I think are the five most overrated head coaches in the NFL.

5. Matt LaFleur — Green Bay Packers

Matt LaFleur is 39-10 in his first three years as the Packers’ head coach. Green Bay has won the NFC North in each of those three seasons.

It would seem that LaFleur is doing exactly what he was hired to do. So why is he on this list?

Well, for two reasons.

For starters, he still hasn’t made it to the Super Bowl, despite leading the Packers to 13 wins in each of his three seasons and having future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback.

Speaking of Rodgers, that’s reason No. 2.

How much credit does LaFleur deserve and how much does Rodgers deserve? I’d wager that if LaFleur didn’t have Rodgers, he’d probably be a .500 coach and on the hot seat entering the 2022 season.

4. Mike McCarthy — Dallas Cowboys

Packers NFL
Jun 14, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy talks to the media during a press conference at the Ford Center at the Star Training Facility in Frisco, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s stick with the Packers theme for a moment.

Mike McCarthy has a Super Bowl ring as a head coach, but that doesn’t mean he’s a future Hall of Famer.

McCarthy should have a couple of rings after coaching Aaron Rodgers for over a decade, but he never returned to the Super Bowl after winning it in early 2011. He was fired in 2018 after the Packers got off to a 4-7-1 start.

In 2017, Green Bay suffered their first losing season in eight years after Rodgers suffered an injury that forced him to miss nine games. That alone shows us McCarthy’s true abilities as a head coach.

McCarthy has been the Dallas Cowboys‘ head coach for the last two seasons. He’s 18-15 so far with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round of the playoffs this past season.

3. Kliff Kingsbury — Arizona Cardinals

Kliff Kingsbury has been the Arizona Cardinals head coach for three seasons and it still blows my mind.

This guy was fired from Texas Tech after three straight losing seasons and he immediately got hired by an NFL team. That’s not something you ever see happen.

So far, Kingsbury is pretty much doing what I expected. He’s been a very average head coach, going 24-24-1 during his first three seasons in Arizona. Kingsbury led the Cardinals to the playoffs this past season, but it was a fruitless trip as they lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

2. Zac Taylor — Cincinnati Bengals

I know Zac Taylor took the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl this past season, but I’m not convinced he’s a top-tier NFL coach.

For starters, the Bengals were dreadful in his first two years with the franchise. Cincinnati went 2-14 in 2019. In 2020, the arrival of Joe Burrow offered hope, but the Bengals still went just 4-11-1 (Burrow missed the final six games of the season after tearing his ACL).

This past season, Cincy barely won the AFC North (by a half-game over the Pittsburgh Steelers) and they got hot in the playoffs. That’s mostly because of Burrow and star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. It feels like Taylor is just along for the ride. Maybe he’s the right coach for the Bengals at the right time. That’s certainly possible. But I don’t think he’s a coach that would turn around a team without a Burrow-like quarterback running the offense.

1. Josh McDaniels — Las Vegas Raiders

packers NFL
Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t get the obsession over Josh McDaniels. I don’t understand at all why he’s a coveted head coach.

McDaniels already got his shot. And he blew it. The Ohio native didn’t even make it two full years as the Denver Broncos head coach (2009 and 2010) before getting fired (thanks to a 3-9 start in 2010).

Why do the Las Vegas Raiders think they’ll get anything different than what we saw in Denver?

The only reason McDaniels is getting a shot is because he’s associated with Bill Belichick (McDaniels was an assistant under Belichick from 2001-2008 and 2012-2021).

I have a feeling Raiders will soon be feeling a lot like Broncos fans felt in 2010.

Featured image via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Ragan
I write about sports stuff. Long-suffering Mets fan from the south. You can complain about me on Twitter at @zachTNT

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