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Best Head Coaches in the NFL Hierarchy

by Riley Baines
NFL Hierarchy 2021 Best Head Coaches in the NFL

Top 10 Best Head Coaches in the NFL 2021-22

This is my prediction for the best Head Coaches in the NFL going into the 2021-22 season. It’s a prediction not just based on how well I think each team will do. This is my opinion on the Head Coaches who make the biggest impact for their team.


TIER 1: 

Sean Payton – I don’t know why people constantly discount Sean Payton. I’ve seen a lot of people predict the downfall of the Saints, but I don’t buy it. This is still an elite offensive mind who will find ways to win. We saw him win games last season with Taysom Hill at the helm and the noodle armed Drew Brees. I expect the same next season with Winston.

Bill Belichick – People were saying “Belichick is nothing without Brady” or “Brady is nothing without Belichick.” Let’s be real, they both make each other better. Like the art of war, Bill Belichick exploits opposing team’s weakness’. He adapts and he conquers. Forget one of the best Head Coaches in the NFL or even one of the best Head Coaches in NFL history. Bill Belichick is the best Head Coach in NFL history.

Andy Reid – Sure, Patrick Mahomes put him over the top, but he was great without him. Andy Reid has 15 different seasons with 10+ wins over his coaching career. Since the NFL has shifted to a offense centric league, Andy Reid has started dominating. He is one of the best play callers there is and it shows.

Sean McVay – This is the new Sean Payton. Sean McVay is an elite offensive mind. He is so gifted that he was making Jared Goff look like a great Quarterback. Now with Matthew Stafford at the helm, I imagine his offense reaches its full potential.


Matt LaFleur – This would be one of the lower ranked player from the second tier. It’s hard not to respect his win loss record as a head coach which is 28-8. The thing is he has had the luxury of joining a team that was already great with Aaron Rodgers at Quarterback. Would he succeed with Jordan Love at the helm? Definitely not to this same degree.

Bruce Arians – Respects to him for giving the green light to sign Tom Brady. He knows greatness when he sees it. While I don’t think he’s the type of coach who can completely turn around a bad team into a good one, I do think he gets the best out of his players. He was a solid coach before this 2020 Bucs team and he brought the best out of them.

John Harbaugh – This man kept winning games with Joe Flacco. I mean, Flacco wasn’t horrible, but John Harbaugh does not get enough credit for his coaching ability. A couple of seasons ago there were rumors the Ravens wanted to go in a different direction. What a travesty that would have been. Now with Lamar at the helm, he keeps winning. But can he win in the playoffs?

Mike Tomlin – You can’t count the amount of losing seasons Tomlin has had with one hand… when you make a fist. This man has not had a single losing season as a head coach. That includes with Mason Rudolph. Why does he get so much hate? Probably because of Tik Tok. Jokes aside, give this man his respect.

Sean McDermott – Speaking of turnarounds, Sean McDermott inherited a pretty bad team back in 2017. Fast forward to 2021 and the transformation he has made is impressive. Now one of the best teams in the NFL, the Bills have become serious Super Bowl contenders. In the past I did not rank him as highly as he should have been. I will not make the same mistake for these rankings.

Kyle Shanahan – His losing record as a head coach is something you cannot overlook. His ability as a play-caller is also something you cannot overlook. The 49ers are a team that has been plagued by injuries. Going into 2021 I look at them as a team who will improve drastically with health restored. He has a knack for turning no names into somethings and will continue to do so.


Kevin Stefanski – Imagine being a head coach having to fill the shoes of Hue Jackson. That was a dream scenario for Stefanski as the Browns incompetence allowed for the stockpiling of high first round draft picks. Now one of the most promising young teams in the NFL, Stefanski has led them back into relevancy.

Mike Zimmer – It’s hard for a defense centric head coach to survive into today’s NFL, but Mike Zimmer has been getting it done. I don’t put too much weight into last seasons injury plagued season for the Minnesota Vikings. Over his tenure with the Vikings he has a 64-47-1 record. He lost Gary Kubiak and Kevin Stefanski in back-to-back years, but should continue to win games with a solid roster to lead.

Brian Flores – This man has completely changed the culture in Miami. They went from being one of the laughing stocks of the NFL to a near playoff team. People questioned trading Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it’s clear he only wants players willing to play for this franchise. He stockpiled on draft picks and set up one of the most promising young rosters in the NFL. If he continues to trend upwards next season, expect him in tier 2.

Frank Reich – Frank Reich does not get enough credit for the Eagles Super Bowl victory. He has made a history of getting the most out of his players. Andrew Luck retiring out of nowhere? No problem. Let’s win games with Jacoby Brissett. Old man Rivers? He can win with him too. The Colts are a team I’m excited to watch and it will be interesting to see what type of Carson Wentz that he can bring out in 2021.

Mike Vrabel – A 29-19 record in three seasons is nothing to scoff about. This ranking may seem low to most, but hear me out. I’m a little worried for Vrabel in 2021. He lost both Dean Pees and Arthur Smith this past season which leaves big holes in coaching. Players adore him, but I’m not as high on the Titans as most going into next season. I don’t think Vrabel will be able to fill those voids as much as people think.

Pete Carroll – This is a legend to the game of football. It’s hard to put him this low considering his resume as a football coach. The glaring issue was from last year. He should have let Russ cook. It’s almost like he is stuck in his defense first ways that brought him his first Super Bowl. This is a very different team. The defense is not the same and you no longer have Beast Mode to carry the load. Something needs to change next season for me to move him up.


Kliff Kingsbury – Early last season, the Cardinals were killing it with the Kyler Murray read option keep. Then it  got old real quick. Even while teams learned to stop it he kept with it costing them games. With him getting even more legit players added, another losing season and he’s on the hot seat. The Cardinals have been pretty fortunate with injuries with some good pieces in place yet he has a losing record to show for it.

Jon Gruden – Elite personality, and I mean elite. He’s found decent success with this team, but I think this is a guy who is too stuck in his ways to succeed. He isn’t innovating and I don’t think the Raiders will make strides forward because of that. Until he learns to adapt to the new NFL they will be nothing more than a middle of the pack team.

Ron Rivera – You have to love Riverboat Ron. His story last season was inspirational as he willed his Washington Football Team into the playoffs while battling cancer. The reason he isn’t higher is because he hasn’t been overly impressive enough. He is barely above a .500 win percentage and is one of the defensive minded head coaches that can only do so much.

Joe Judge – Call me crazy, but it was actually impressive the Giants pulled off 6 wins last season. Joe Judge was put in a situation with a horrendous defense and I mean horrendous. I believe he changed the culture and there has been legit hype built up for the Giants going into next season. If Daniel Jones can get away from his turnover machine ways then they are playoff contenders.

Vic Fangio – I was very high on the Broncos last season. I thought their defense was going to be one of the best in the NFL. Then injuries happened. Some of their best players were injured before the season even started and Fangio had to pick up the pieces. They got some of those players back, but a defensive minded head coach can only do so much. He won’t be the one transforming Drew Lock who clearly needs help.


Arthur Smith – Speaking of coaches not getting enough credit… The turnaround of Ryan Tannehill didn’t happen by accident. Arthur Smith completely transformed that offense. I have no worries about him stepping into the Atlanta Falcons and making the offense dangerous. The defense is what will be problematic, but he helped bring Dean Pees back out of retirement to be the DC.

Brandon Staley – This is a case of what I think is a mediocre head coach given the best case scenario. The Los Angeles Chargers are one of the best promising young rosters in the NFL. The transition to head coach doesn’t get more easy than this.

Urban Meyer – I nearly included him in tier 6, but held back. You have to acknowledge his very impressive college resume. The Tim Tebow signing and move to tight end is questionable. Even the 1st round selection of running back Travis Ettienne has me scratching my head. This is another coach I’m in wait and see mode with, but as of now I’m giving the benefit of doubt leaving him out of the bottom tier.

Matt Rhule – I don’t put too much weight into last season for the Panthers. This was a bad roster that got even worse when Christian McCaffrey was injured all season. As of now I’m in wait and see mode for Matt Rhule. There is a lot of talent on this offense, but they can’t be contenders if their defense doesn’t vastly improve.

Robert Saleh – You won’t find a single person from the 49ers organization say a bad word about Robert Saleh. He was loved by all and rightfully so. I really like him as a coach, but unfortunately for him he’s transitioning to a Jets team in re-build mode. I’m sure they will give him a couple of years to turn this team around.

Matt Nagy – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Two seasons ago many would have regarded him as one of the most gifted offensive minds in the NFL. After this season, not so much. The Bears have been carried by their defense. On offense it’s almost as if he’s too smart for his own good getting too fancy with his play-calling. Another coach on the hot seat.


Nick Sirianni – A disciple of Frank Reich with absolutely no experience as a play caller. He is an unknown at this point entering an Eagles franchise that has been trending downwards. I expect the Eagles to win a handful of games at most.

David Culley – There are dream scenarios and then there is the Houston Texans. This is the absolute worst situation for any head coach to enter. Bill O’Brian made it his goal to set up this team with no future. The Deshaun Watson sage certainly didn’t help. This is one of the coaches with the least amount of credentials in the worst possible scenario.

Dan Campbell – “We’re going to bite a kneecap off.” Honestly, as a personality I love Dan Campbell. I think he’s hilarious and I can only imagine the stories he tells with a couple of beers in his system. The problem is he is unproven and inherited one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Lions are young and have a promising future, but in 2021 they are going to be really bad.

Zac Taylor – I actually had high hopes for Zac Taylor. I haven’t completely given up on him, but a two season record of 6–25–1 does not get me excited. I imagine this season is his last chance to prove he can be the future coach of this team. If he cannot win expect him to be out the door.



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