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All 32 NFL head coaches ranked ahead of the 2022 season

All 32 NFL head coaches ranked ahead of the 2022 season
Andy Reid
Jul 27, 2022; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid enters the media tent after training camp at Missouri Western University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach matters in the NFL more than any other sport. There are too many moving parts to waltz into the season with a lame duck coach, even if you have a talented roster. Our 2022 NFL head coach rankings will let you know if you can feel good heading into the upcoming season.

NFL head coach rankings 2022

There are many different coaching archetypes — some guys are known for building an incredible culture, being remarkable leaders, and having a knack for getting even the most challenging personality to row in the same direction, like Mike Tomlin.

Others are savant game planners and play designers but maybe stick to one side of the ball, such as Sean McVay or Todd Bowles. Some do it all, like Bill Belichick, and others do very little. Here are our preseason NFL rankings for head coaches.

On their way out the door

These coaches haven’t put up a lot of W’s. So unless there are drastic changes, they’ll be handing out resumes sooner rather than later.

32. Matt Rhule

Some coaches lead men, some draw up the x’s and o’s, and Matt Rhule does neither. His college coaching resume was impressive, and he’s not Urban Meyer in the NFL by any means. Still, his NFL stint has been somewhere between underwhelming and bad.

He fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady, and the offense got worse by six points per game. Even the defense, which started strong, limped through the last seven weeks of the season, giving up 30 points per game. It’s easy to blame a trash quarterback situation, but he hasn’t done anything to inspire confidence with the Carolina Panthers.

31. Lovie Smith

The Houston Texans‘ cupboards are bare, but still, Lovie Smith hasn’t proven he can elevate a roster in over a decade.

The once-talented defensive mastermind fielded a bottom-five defense last season in Texas. It’s hard to say whether or not the game has passed Smith by, but what he’s doing isn’t working.

30. Arthur Smith

It doesn’t look good when you’re supposed to be an offensive guru, and your offense falls flat.

The Atlanta Falcons have won just 11 games over the past two seasons, and it’s fair to start asking how much of Arthur Smith’s success with the Titans can be attributed to Derrick Henry. Some players are good enough to get everybody in their orbit paid, and King Henry was one of those dudes.

Unproven yet promising

You can have an outstanding resume, but it’s impossible to know how that’ll translate once you’re sitting in the captain’s chair. These coaches were promising coordinators, but we don’t know what the future will hold.

29. Kevin O’Connell

Kevin O’Connell and the next entrant suffer from the same problems — they only have short stints as coordinators and were under the shadow of offensive prodigies. The Los Angeles Rams had good, not great, offenses under O’Connell’s guidance, but how much of that is McVay?

During his lone year as the Washington Commanders’ offensive coordinator, they rolled out one of the worst units in recent memory. Although some teams, like Washington, prove to ruin everything they touch.

28. Mike McDaniel

If Kyle Shanahan is an offensive genius, how do we rank those who work for him?

Immediately Mike McDaniel will be an upgrade at head coach for the Miami Dolphins if he can pick one offensive coordinator. Ultimately he’ll be judged on his work with Tua Tagovailoa – if his track record from the San Francisco 49ers continues, it’ll be a smashing success.

27. Brian Daboll

Brian Daboll’s work with Josh Allen had been nothing short of spectacular.

I don’t think Daniel Jones has it in him for the same turnaround, but at least with Daboll, we’ll get to see his ceiling. The New York Giants have been in coaching purgatory since Tom Coughlin retired, but that appears to be ending.

26. Nathaniel Hackett

The case for Nathaniel Hackett working out is almost bulletproof. Under Hackett’s tutelage, Blake Bortles played at a Pro Bowl level, and the Jacksonville Jaguars damn near made the Super Bowl. The odds of reaching that success with Bortles and the Jaguars were astronomical.

Since 2019, Hackett has been the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. They had one of the best offenses in the NFL during that time, and Aaron Rodgers won two MVPs. It’s difficult to splice Hackett’s success from LaFleur and Rodgers, though.

25. Matt Eberflus

People are out on defensive coordinators these days, but Matt Eberflus has a sterling track record. Before saddling up with the Indianapolis Colts, they had the worst defense in the league. But, since his arrival, they’ve been in the top ten, a rarity for the Colts.

The early returns on Eberflus seem to be blossoming already, with Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson saying, “It’s different than what the standard was last year. But, they’re coming in and re-establishing a different culture, re-establishing a different foundation, a different way of doing things, a different way of moving.”

Are we sure they’re good?

A group of men who will successfully steer your ship for 17 games from point A to point B. Will they win you a Super Bowl? Probably not. Get you into the playoffs? Maybe! Are they good? We don’t know. Are they the best current NFL coaches? No.

24. Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen and the New Orleans Saints have fielded one of the better defensive units in the league over the past five seasons. That’s promising.

Unfortunately, Allen’s only other stint as a head coach was a disaster — the Oakland Raiders went 8-28 in two and a bit seasons with Allen calling the shots. Was this a case of Allen being a lousy coach or Oakland being a cesspool during that time? We’ll get the answer in 2022, as Sean Payton has handed him the reigns.

23. Zac Taylor

This is controversial coming off a Super Bowl appearance, but Zac Taylor isn’t a great coach. Before a healthy Joe Burrow fell into his lap, Taylor won six games with the Cincinnati Bengals. The offense was supposed to be his calling card, yet the Bengals were a tire fire. In the same vein of Derrick Henry getting Arthur Smith a job, Burrow has done that tenfold for every coach he’s had.

Being in Joe Burrow‘s orbit gives Taylor a cushy job.

22. Mike McCarthy

This is where the head coach rankings in 2022 get a little tighter. Mike McCarthy is a good coach, probably even a little underrated. But what is the ceiling? The league caught up to the west coast system, and now Kellen Moore is calling plays for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys had a top-five offense in the league last season, but boneheaded coaching decisions doomed their chances at a deep playoff run.

How do you rank a coach that can get you to the playoffs, but only if he’s not calling the plays? And then he might coach you out of the game once you get there? Schrodinger’s coach.

21. Ron Rivera

Ron Rivera has a losing record with the Washington Commanders, and he might be overachieving.

He is not the best NFL head coach, but staying competitive in Washington feels like a success in its own right. The team is an unmitigated disaster. However, River Boat Ron gives them a sliver of hope heading into next season.

20. Todd Bowles

I’m higher on Todd Bowles than most cause I love what he’s done with every defense he’s been the coordinator for. The problem is, his track record as the New York Jets coach wasn’t very good.

One winning season was followed by three seasons as a bottom feeder. Can we attribute that to the Jets being a black hole? Probably.

We won’t get to know Bowles’ true coaching prowess as he’s riding the Tom Brady express with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

We need more time

I like these coaches, but they haven’t been under the microscope long enough.

19. Robert Saleh

Bad coach or a victim of coaching the New York Jets? I believe he’s being punished for being part of the Jets’ orbit.

In 2021, they had one of the worst personnel groups in the entire league, and Zach Wilson looked about as bad a quarterback can look. It will be disheartening if we don’t see success in the Meadowlands this season, as the Jets keep winning the offseason while losing on the field.

18. Dan Campbell

I’m a Dan Campbell stan, I’d happily throw on some Metallica and follow him into the Upside Down.

We’ve watched the Detroit Lions be mostly terrible for decades, so I’m not going to dock him for three wins in year one. Dan the Man has the Lions buying in and proved to be a decent play-caller. Detroit got significantly better with him on the headset down the stretch. I’m excited to see the Lions in year two with a more cohesive roster and an uptick in talent.

17. Nick Sirianni

We have already seen Nick Sirianni show a willingness to change. Many coaches will coach their way straight out of the league when their system doesn’t work. When the Philadelphia Eagles offense got off to a rocky start in 2021, Sirianni assessed and changed the situation for the better.

They leaned into Jalen Hurts‘ strengths, and now they’re many people’s favorite to win the NFC East.

Really good coaches

If your coach is below this line, you have an excellent coach. We’re getting near the top of the NFL head coach rankings for 2022.

16. Kevin Stefanski

Cleveland was ready to put up a statue of Kevin Stefanski and the entire Cleveland Browns roster following the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the shine has come off a bit since the shellacking of the Pittsburgh Steelers during those playoffs. But, Stefanski has proven to be a solid coach, even after a challenging 2021 season.

One thing to keep an eye on: Despite a winning record in Cleveland, the Browns finished with a negative point differential in both seasons and haven’t fielded a top-ten offense.

15. Josh McDaniels

A problematic run with the Denver Broncos has many questioning Josh Mcdaniels’ competence as a head coach. On the other hand, he made the playoffs with Tim Tebow and has proven adaptable on offense with the New England Patriots.

14. Kliff Kingsbury

Kliff Kingsbury is an underrated coach, and I wish I could place him higher on this list.

The competition is just too steep from this point on. His record isn’t impeachable, but every Arizona Cardinals team he’s led has been well-rounded, and he’s proven he can win without his star quarterback.

13. Brandon Staley

Some corners of the internet will tell you Brandon Staley is the most overrated coach in the league, and his aggressive playcalling cost the Los Angeles Chargers a playoff spot.

I vehemently disagree. The Chargers had too many defensive holes to overcome last year, and their offense needed to keep the ball and score points if they wanted to win. His success in the upcoming season will dictate his spot on the NFL head coach rankings for 2022.

12. Doug Pederson

Super Bowl winning head coach Doug Pederson is good at his job. His ability was thrown into question after Frank Reich left and had success with the Colts.

But, since seeing what a disaster of a quarterback Carson Wentz was, we can chalk up his lack of post Super Bowl success to an Eagles roster that was worse off than we thought.

Perennial winners

All these coaches do is win win win no matter what.

11. Pete Carroll

Long gone are the days of the Legion of Boom. Still, Pete Carroll has kept the Seattle Seahawks competitive despite a dearth of talent.

2022 will be an uphill climb as the Seahawks have the worst quarterback situation in the league. However, I still expect some level of competency on the west coast.

10. Frank Reich

Frank Reich has compiled a winning record and top ten teams despite a revolving door at quarterback. In year five, he’ll start the season with his fifth starter, Matt Ryan.

Ryan will be a significant upgrade over the likes of Carson Wentz and Jacoby Brissett, but it’d be nice to see what kind of concoctions Reich could come up with if he had a more youthful quarterback.

9. Mike Vrabel

Early returns on Mike Vrabel have been immense. The Tennessee Titans have had a winning record all four seasons he’s been their coach and finished atop the division twice.

Vrabel proved adept when his best player went down, and the Titans went 6-3 over the last nine weeks of the regular season in 2021.

8. Sean McDermott

Since Marv Levy retired following the 1997 season, the Buffalo Bills had cycled through countless coaches.

Now they’re Super Bowl favorites, and Bills Mafia has been jumping through tables since Sean McDermott was hired. His pairing with Josh Allen has led to unparalleled success for Buffalo since the early ’90s, and McDermott’s first-rate culture has been a contributing factor.

7. Kyle Shanahan

Every offense Kyle Shanahan touches turns to gold. Whether it was maximizing Robert Griffin in Washington or turning Matt Ryan into an MVP, Shanahan is a step ahead of his competition.

The difference in style between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance is as vast as one can get, but I’m excited to witness Shanahan readjust the San Francisco 49ers offense for 2022. Whatever the Niners do will surely be something seldom seen at the NFL level.

6. Matt LaFleur

In the three seasons since becoming the Green Bay Packers head coach, they’ve won 13 games three times. No coach in NFL history has started their career with that kind of success. That’s not all that makes Matt LaFleur one of the best current NFL coaches — he’s also a great manager of egos.

When it looked like MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers was ready to move on from Green Bay, LaFleur stepped in and helped mend the relationships.

5. Sean McVay

Like his friends Shanahan and LaFleur, McVay is an offensive guru. Unlike his friends, he has some shiny new hardware.

In 2021, McVay earned his place near the top of the NFL head coach rankings for 2022 by winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. He and Shanahan have been side by side revolutionizing how offense is played in today’s NFL, and the Rams are must-see TV for any football junkie.

The gold jackets

Some of the above coaches may join these guys, but the following four coaches already have their gold jackets waiting for them. They also haven’t lost their fastball and continuously manage to evolve with the NFL through the decades.

4. John Harbaugh

Whether the Baltimore Ravens are fielding a lightning bolt like Lamar Jackson or a tree like Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh will ensure the team compliments their talents. He’s won with a good offense, and he’s won with a good defense.

Often his teams have had both.

Harbaugh is a tireless competitor, and while he often gets under the skin of his opponents, the Ravens always show up Sunday with fire. It’s a delicate balance to go 110% without burning out your players, and Harbaugh walks it seamlessly.

3. Mike Tomlin

In 15 seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, they’ve never fallen below .500. He’s a one-of-one when it comes to that level of sustained success.

He’s dealt with some of the league’s more challenging superstars, and for the most part, the Steelers dirty laundry always remained in Pittsburgh. Tomlin has a high approval rating among his players for being forthright and running a no-nonsense program. Sometimes his teams play down to their level of competition, but for the most part, Tomlin has earned his place near the peak.

2. Andy Reid

After winning a Super Bowl in 2019, Andy Reid finally earned his spot near the top of the NFL head coach rankings and will remain there in 2022. Not just one of the best offensive minds in the game, but one of the best NFL coaches of all time.

He was ahead of the rest of the league regarding passing volume and helped usher in the passing revolution. His patterns, formations, and plays get copied league-wide to this day. He pays fine attention to details, ensuring the Kansas City Chiefs remain disciplined in their play calling.

1. Bill Belichick

Other people may have dropped Bill Belichick a couple of spots after the past few seasons. But I’m still taking Bill to put together my game plan for one game or season.

No coach in the history of the NFL has proven to be as good as Belichick at outmaneuvering his opponent. The New England Patriots aren’t what they were with Brady, but I suspect Bill still has a few good years left before I’m willing to write off the greatest coach of all time.

That’s why Bill Belichick sits atop my NFL head coach rankings in 2022.