In what is the slowest sports time of the year, his rankings of the top 10 coaches in the NFL gave all NFL fans all over the country something to talk and argue about for a full day. For that, we thank him and give him credit for a job well done.
The Eagles head coach, for better or worse, is not much of a self promoter. He doesn’t do many national media interviews, he doesn’t go on many national shows, and honestly, he really doesn’t like to do much media at all.
In my four years covering Pederson, he is at his best and most comfortable just coaching and talking about football. Even at league events, Pederson is more of a guy who keeps to himself, as opposed to making the media rounds with the national reporters. This attitude is likely why he and Howie Roseman haven’t had anything close to a power struggle, despite the success they have had in such a short amount of time together.
A look at Pederson’s actual resume, however, shows he is without question a top-five head coach — and belongs ahead of Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, who came in sixth.
To start, if you want to go by the simplest metric, Pederson is one of nine active head coaches that has won a Super Bowl ring. The other eight are Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Mike McCarthy, Mike Tomlin, Jon Gruden, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll.
Of those nine, Gruden and McCarthy are easy scratch offs when putting together a top-10 list. McCarthy wasn’t in the league last year and Gruden hasn’t come anywhere close to the success he had in 2002 with Tampa Bay.
That leaves seven. Belichick, Reid, Tomlin, Payton, Harbaugh, Carroll and Pederson all definitely belong in the top 10, both because of what they have accomplished and the job they are currently doing. As for the other three spots, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan deserves one, and deserves to be pretty high on the list as well considering he is 21-6 since getting Jimmy Garoppolo as his quarterback.
The other two spots? McVay deserves one, and I’ll give the other to Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who helped lead his team to within a game of the Super Bowl last season. Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LeFleur is also in the conversation, although with just one year under his belt, doesn’t crack the list just yet.
With all that being said, my top 10 would look like this:
1) Bill Belichick
2) Andy Reid
3) Doug Pederson
4) Pete Carroll
5) Kyle Shanahan
6) Sean Payton
7) Mike Tomlin
8) John Harbaugh
9) Sean McVay
10) Mike Vrbael
I landed on Pederson third for a two main reasons, and really, they are the most important metrics to judge a head coach by — consistent success and winning in the playoffs.
Pederson’s tenure with the Eagles has not been perfect, but in his four seasons with the team, all he has done is win big games. Sine 2017, Pederson is 11-3 in the month of December in meaningful games, and overall, is 15-5 including the playoffs. Both of his losses in the playoffs the last two seasons came with backup quarterbacks playing, and both would have likely been wins if 1) Alshon Jeffery catches an easy pass vs. New Orleans or 2) Carson Wentz doesn’t get knocked out with a concussion vs. Seattle. You can play the what-if game for every team, but the fact remains that when the games have been important, Pederson has not been the reason his team has lost. You can’t say the same for some of the playoff losses by Payton, Carroll or McVay.
As a result of consistently winning big games, Pederson is one of only four head coaches to lead his team into the playoffs each of the last three seasons. That is extremely impressive considering how dramatically teams swing in the NFL and the injuries Pederson has had to deal with. The other three teams to do it — Patriots, Saints and Chiefs — all have their coaches in the top six, with Payton being the only one that falls outside of the top five. Payton gets knocked down a spot for three-straight years of disappointing losses in the playoffs. Belichick, Reid and Pederson, on the other hand, have all won a Super Bowl during that stretch.
In fact, of all the coaches in both my top-10 list and Wagner’s, only Belichick has more playoff wins over the last three seasons than the four Pederson has won. The alone should put Pederson in the top five of any list.
The bottom line is that until Pederson wins another Super Bowl, you will likely find him ranked lower on these lists than he should be.
Despite the day of interesting conversation, however, Eagles fans should rest easy knowing they have one of the best head coaches in the NFL on their sideline.