Friday, March 15, 2013

stevo's nfl coaches power poll, 2013 edition

"Take my hand.
Come with me baby, to love land.
Let me show you, how sweet it could be,
Sharing love here with me.

I want you to float, float on.
Float on, float on ..."

-- "Float On" by the Floaters.  Anytime you can work "come with me baby to love land" into a song?  I gotta reference it at least once ...


Well, now that the *cough fourteen weeks over cough* season in review is complete, it's time for (noone's) favorite feature: the Stevo NFL Coaches Power Poll, offseason edition!!!

Sadly, we've lost some great ones this year -- Pat Shurmur, Mike Mularkey, Norv Turner, and Romeo Crennel, all mainstays at the bottom of the rankings, all unemployed.  So, so sad.

Here's a primer on how this works, for those of you unfamiliar with this (usually) annual post:

1. The coach ranked number 1, is Chuck Noll (who I consider to be the best coach in NFL history) good.
2. The coach ranked number 32, is Rich Kotite (who I consider to be the worst coach in NFL history) awful.
3. I count down from the worst (32) to the best (1).
4. Wherever your coach is ranked, determines what ranking I'd hire him in.  For example, if your coach is ranked 22nd, I would hire him over everyone ranked 23-32 ... but fire him to hire anyone ranked 1-22 that's available.
5. I tend to be very tough on first year head coaches.
6. Bias is, as always, a factor.

Let's begin!

Prior editions:

* 2012 edition.
* 2011 edition.
* There is no 2010 edition.
* 2009 edition.
* 2008 edition.

The 2013 Stevo NFL Coaches Power Poll Rankings
(c) 2013, Stevo Productions, No Rights Reserved

Key: 2013 ranking.  Coach, Team (2012 ranking).  Reasoning and Commentary.

32. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers (15).  A very large drop from 2012 to 2013, but man, did Mr. Rivera own it.  Put it this way: when you're the only coach in the NFL that can claim to have lost to the 2012 Chiefs in regulation?  You have "earned" the bottom of the ladder designation.  He's the odds on favorite in the "first to be fired" pool for 2013, and deservedly so -- he's an absolutely atrocious head coach.

31. Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans (25).  Like Mr. Rivera, he took a few steps back down the ladder this year, and like Mr. Rivera, he's likely going to be fired no later than December 30th.  Once the Titans season collapsed, he should have turned the reigns over to Jake Locker.  Instead, he stuck with Matt Hasselbeck in a (successful) effort to save his job.  It only delayed the inevitable, Mike.

30. dennis allen, oakland raiders (30).  I expected nothing from this hire, and I was proven right.  oakland is going nowhere anytime soon, which is perfectly fine and acceptable by me.

29. Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns (NR).  What.  The.  Hell?  No, really.  What.  The.  Hell.  Cleveland?  You fired Pat Shurmur (the right move) ... to hire the guy you fired to bring Shurmur on board to replace?  Crennel, to Mangini, to Shurmur, to Chudzinski.  My God, it just keeps getting worse!

28. Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins (31).  I almost hate to say this ... but we're already damned close to the line where "if this guy was my head coach, I wouldn't renew my tickets" ends.  Damned NFL GM's learning how to hire smart, competent coaches to oversee their teams.  Philbin actually did a semi-decent job in Miami last year.  A little too semi-decent -- the Dolphins finished one game ahead of the Bills, meaning the Chiefs have to go to Buffalo (no way I'll go), instead of Miami (would have already booked the flight).

27. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions (17).  And we're there.  Every coach remaining, I would have no problems whatsoever, with them coaching the Kansas City Chiefs.  This ... is terrifying.

I mean, consider 1996.  These fine coaching specimens were drawing a paycheck as a head coach that season:

* Mike White, oakland raiders.  7-9, fired after season.
* Bob Ross, San Diego "Super" Chargers.  8-8, resigned after season.
* "Drunk" Dennis Erickson, Seattle Seahawks.  7-9, last place AFC West.
* Ted Marchibroda, Baltimore Ravens.  4-12, last place AFC East.
* Dave Shula, Cincinnati Bengals.  Fired after 1-7 start.
* Lindy Infante, Indianapolis Colts.  9-7, AFC Wildcard; fired after following season.
* Rich Kotite, New York Jets.  1-15, fired after season.
* Barry Switzer, Dallas Cowboys.  10-6, NFC East champs; fired after following season.
* Norv Turner, Washington Redskins.  9-7, 3rd NFC East.
* Vince Tobin, Arizona "Super" Cardinals.  7-9, 4th NFC East.
* Ray Rhodes, Philadelphia Eagles.  10-6, NFC Wildcard.
* Dave Wannstedt, Chicago Bears.  7-9, fired after season.
* Wayne Fontes, Detroit Lions.  6-10, fired after season.
* Rick Venturi, New Orleans Saints.  Interim after Jim Mora resigned at the bye week.
* George Seifert, San Francisco 49ers.  12-4, NFC Wildcard.
* Rich Brooks, St. Louis Rams.  6-10, fired after season.
* Dom Capers, Carolina Panthers.  12-4, NFC West champs.
* June Jones, Atlanta Falcons.  3-13, fired after season.

18 -- 18! -- of the NFL's 30 head coaches in 1996, were certifiably incompetent!

(And who, you ask, replaced Dave Shula at midseason?  (norm macdonald voice) You guessed it -- Frank Stallone!  No, I mean, you guessed it -- Bruce Coslet!  Somehow, the Bengals hired someone WORSE than who they fired!  Oh.  Right.  It's the Bengals.)

I mean, re-read that list!  It's atrocious!

You think that's bad?  Check out 1994:

* Bob Ross, San Diego "Super" Chargers.
* Art Shell, los angeles raiders.  Fired after season.
* Wade "Son of Bum" Phillips, denver broncos.  Fired after following season.
* Chuck Knox Tom Flores, Seattle Seahawks.  Fired after season.
* Dave Shula, Cincinnati Bengals.
* Jack Pardee, Houston Oilers.  Fired during season.
* Pete Carroll, New York Jets*.  Fired after season.
* Ted Marchibroda, Indianapolis Colts.  Fired after season.
* Barry Switzer, Dallas Cowboys.
* Rich Kotite, Philadelphia Eagles.  Fired after season.
* Norv Turner, Washington Redskins.
* Buddy "You've Got a Winner In Town" Ryan, Arizona "Super" Cardinals.  Fired after following season.
* Dave Wannstedt, Chicago Bears.
* Wayne Fontes, Detroit Lions.
* Sam Wyche, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
* George Seifert, San Francisco 49ers.
* Chuck Knox, Los Angeles Rams.  Fired after season.
* June Jones, Atlanta Falcons.

Still 18 -- 18! -- atrocious coaches ... but there were only 28 openings.

I feel like a bad infomercial voice -- BUT WAIT!  There's more!

The six competent AFC head coaches (Schottenheimer, Cowher, Belichick, Levy, Parcells, Shula)?  Were your six AFC playoff teams.

(*: people forget how atrocious Pete Carroll was in his "one and done" season as the Jets head coach.  All you need to know, is that his teams were so piss poorly prepared to play ... that they fell for the Marino spike to lose to the Dolphins.)

Now?  In 2013?  It's 6 of 32 that fail to meet the competency test.  (tony bruno voice) That's an outrage!

Back to the regularly scheduled program ...

26. Mike McCoy, San Diego "Super" Chargers (NR).  I think he'll pan out quite well.  But it's gonna be a rough year or two for the Bolts.

25. Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills (NR).  The guy cleaned up the absolute cesspool that Greg Robinson left behind at Syracuse, and had them bowling the last two years.  Dude can coach.  But he's in for a rough year or two with the Bills.

24. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (NR).  An unquestioned defensive genius during his tenure with the Seahawks.  The question now is, is he Gunther Cunningham, Mike Nolan, and Dom Capers ... or is he Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, and Mike Tomlin?  Honestly, I lean towards the latter grouping of defensive coordinators who successfully made the jump.

23. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys (23).  As I noted last year, before you start screaming about a decent coach being ranked in the bottom third of the league's coaches ... just stay tuned and read who I'd take over him, and try not to nod too much, it might give you like a stiff neck or a headache or something.

22. Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans (19).  I am not a fan.  At all.  Yes, I am aware some of that is bias against the denver broncos ... but what, pray tell, has Mr. Kubiak accomplished?  He's won two straight AFC South titles, and beat the Bengals twice in the wildcard round, before crapping out in epic fashion on the road in the divisional round.  In other words, a regular Tuesday for denver broncos.  By far and away, he's the most overrated coach in the NFL.

21. Rex Ryan, New York Jets (16).  The problem with coaches like "Sexy Rexy" isn't that they're no good -- quite the opposite, as Ryan's first two years showed (two AFC Title Game appearances, a 4-2 road playoff record, including beating the AFC's top seed on the road two straight years.)  The problem is that they have a very, very small shelf life.  Players tune out coaches like Rex when things inevitably head south.  The Jets are headed south.  Rex will be fired no later than December 30th.  You heard it here first, as the (probably) only Jets fan you'll ever know.

20. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints (14).  Dip is due to the fact that dude didn't coach last year (which was ridiculous, and yet another reason why the owners should impeach and/or remove Roger Goodell ASAFP).  I'd expect a dramatic rise in 2014; dude can coach.

19. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts (27).  Why the rise?  Simple: teams quit on coaches they don't respect.  The Colts went 9-3 as he bravely fought cancer.  The biggest regret I have from this Chiefs season, aside from the whole f*cking thing, is that Chuck Pagano didn't return to the sidelines until a week after his team visited Arrowhead.  I'd have loved to give that man a standing ovation ... and he'll be only the fourth visiting coach, I have ever cheered, when he emerges from the tunnel at Arrowhead this fall.  (Two of the three, are obvious if you think about it.  You gotta go way back into the archives of Arrowhead history, for the third.  I'll insert the answer, somewhere between here, and the end of the post.  (dusty voice) Godd*mmit Stevo, you would do this to make us read this crap!  (stevo voice) no sh*t, sherlock.)

18. Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings (28).  My comment(s) from last year: "I still think this guy is going to be a decent head coach".  It's amazing what a ten win, playoff bound season does for your ranking in this (poorly read) poll.

17. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles (NR).  Whoa, a first year, never before NFL head coach in the middle 50 percent?  This guy's gonna succeed.  Big time.  He's the future.  His offense (a modified version of the Pistol that the 49ers run) is going to overtake the league over the next 3-4 years.  (Pause.)  And yet, he's not the highest rated first year NFL head coach in this poll.  Let's just say, there were two first time hires, that I thought hit (reggie jackson voice) second f*cking base*.  This was the second.

(*: for those of you unfamiliar with this story, and it's epically good -- Game 6, 1977 World Series.  Reggie hits three home runs in his first three at-bats, as the Yankees win the series 4-2 over the Dodgers.  Afterwards, he's interviewed about his epic night, and a reporter threw out the "where did that last one land?"  (It had smacked off the facade in left field.)  Reggie's response?  "Second f*cking base."  Meaning, he'd hit it so hard and so far, that when it hit 340 feet away, the bounceback took it to second base before landing.  I really, really, really like that story, in case you can't tell.  That's arrogance worth respecting!)

16. Bruce Arians, Arizona "Super" Cardinals (NR).  I would have been perfectly fine, had "Fat" Andy Reid rejected the Chiefs, if Arians was the fallback hire.

15. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks (13).  The 1994 Stevo is in utter shock and awe that the epic failure Pete Carroll has won a national championship, and two playoff games, in the last 12 years.  Utter.  Shock.  Oh, and Petey?  Stevo STILL hasn't forgiven you for the Marino spike, and never will.  Deal with it.  God, what an epic debacle that game was.

14. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (24).  Turned in a rock solid season last year, earning the Bengals their first back-to-back playoff appearances since ... uuh ... well, ever.  That'll get you a ten spot rise in the rankings.  Still though, 0-4 in the postseason.  Might want to win one once you get there, buddy.

13. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers (9).  At this point, with all seriousness -- the twelve remaining non-first year coaches, and remaining rookie, are so damned good, you might as well flip a coin, or play rock / paper / scissors.  If your team employs any of the remaining 12 guys, be very, very happy.  (kellie voice) aw, I haven't seen john fox yet.  That's good!  (stevo voice) (insert string of obsenities over how good john fox is, here.)

12. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams (20).  Accomplished quite a bit in his first year in St. Louis.  One of those "just needed a change of scenery" guys who never forgot how to coach.  And yes, my ranking for "Fat" Andy Reid is based solely and completely upon that theory that (usually) proves correct of the good ones.

11. Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12).  Tampa is winning a Super Bowl within the next five years. And Schiano is why.  God, I love this coach.

10. Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons (10).  Another year, another ten plus win season, another playoff berth.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  The Falcons, prior to Smith's arrival, had NEVER had back to back winning seasons, let alone playoff seasons.  The Falcons have never been worse than 9-7 under Smith, with playoff appearances in 4 of his 5 years in charge, including the last three.  That's impressive.

9. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (5).  I still think he's the luckiest son of a bitch to come down the pike since Barry Switzer ... but at some point, it has to be quality coaching that keeps the Giants in the hunt every year, right?

OK, we've hit the upper 25 percentile.  Included in this grouping is (if I added it up right) 7 Lombardi Trophies, 13 Super Bowl appearances... and a guy making his NFL head coaching debut the second weekend in September.  All seven returning coaches, have made at least one Super Bowl appearance.  Let's wind this baby down.

8. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers (2).  Something just didn't click for the Steelers this year, but hey -- Cowher had his down years too.  I will be absolutely stunned if the Steelers don't win the AFC North this year, given the Ravens losses.

7. Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears (NR).  Hang on, I'll give you all a couple minutes to chug whatever you're drinking in utter disbelief ... or to clean up what you just spit out when seeing who I ranked as the 7th best coach in the NFL.

Yes, a guy that has never been a head coach in the NFL, is ranked 7th, despite my bias against first year coaches.  Why?

Because of all he's accomplished.  Let's take this stop by stop in the NFL ... and CFL:

* He was the Browns offensive coordinator from 1986-1989.  Also known as the "only time in history the Cleveland Browns haven't sucked ass".  They went to three AFC Championship games (losing all three to the denver broncos, two in excruciating fashion) in those four years, and somehow, riding Brian Sipe, reached the playoffs in the fourth season.

* The guy can flat out coach quarterbacks with even a limited bit of potential.  He was the 49ers QB coach from 1994-1996, when he turned Elvis Grbac into the most coveted backup in the league.  He then went to the Lions in that capacity, and made Scott Mitchell a Pro Bowler.  He then went to the oakland raiders, serving as offensive coordinator in the 2002 Super Bowl season, in which Rich "Dick" Gannon won the NFL MVP award.

And in the stench of the raiders 2003 collapse ... he got blacklisted.  So he went to Canada, where this is what he achieved, as the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes:

2008: 11-7, won East Division, lost Grey Cup (Canadian Super Bowl).
2009: 15-3, won East Division, Grey Cup Champions.
2010: 12-6, won East Division, Grey Cup Champions.
2011: 10-8, wildcard team, lost in divisional semi-final.
2012: 11-7, won East Division, lost divisional final.

Final record: 59-31 (5 seasons), 5 playoff berths, 4 division titles, 3 championship appearances, 2 titles won.

Uuh, yes please?

* I can hear the rebuttal already -- "but Stevo, it's the CFL, not the NFL!  Nobody goes from the CFL to the NFL and succeeds".  Uuh, guys?  There's only been one franchise willing to take a chance on a CFL championship coach in the last 30 years.  Ask the Buffalo Bills how well hiring Marv Levy worked out for them.

Trestman is an incredible offensive mind.  The Bears are my dark horse / sleeper candidate to be 2013's "whoa, where did they come from?!?!" Super Bowl participant, ala the 2000 Giants, 2001 Patriots, 2003 Panthers, 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants, 2008 Cardinals, 2010 Packers, 2011 Giants, or 2012 Ravens.

6. "Fat" Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs (6).  From my posting last year: "Oh sweet Jesus, how I wish the Eagles had fired him after their tremendous underachievement last year."  Wish granted one very painful season later.

5. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins (8).  It's amazing what a competent quarterback can do for a coach's rankings, no?

(the answer to the "visiting coaches Stevo has cheered" question from way back five pages ago, in the Chuck Pagano ranking?  Marty Schottenheimer (2001 Redskins preseason visit, 2002-2006 Chargers regular season visits); Herm Edwards (2005 Jets regular season visit) ... and Mark Mangino, as KU was the visiting team in the 2008 KU / MU football game.  What, you were expecting anything different?)

4. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots (3).  Over the last fifteen years?  Without question, the best coach in the league.  Over the last four or five years?  Merely top five.  But still -- this guy had damned well better be a first ballot Hall of Famer someday, when he walks away from the sport.  And I say that as a Jets fan still pissed as hell at his 48 hour "gig" as the head coach of the team in 2000.

3. John Fox, denver broncos (7).  The denver broncos will never be irrelevant, as long as Fox is calling the shots.  And it is a testament to how much I respect this guy as a coach, that I capitalize his name.

2. Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers (4).  Admit it -- did you actually think, when Jim Harbaugh benched Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick ... that it would NOT be the gutsiest mid-season switch a Harbaugh would make, that would pan out?

1. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (1).  If I rank him atop every other coach when he isn't the Lombardi Winner, do you really think I'm not gonna rank him number one, when he is?

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the third thursday thirteen ...

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