The only head coach that New England Patriots head man Bill Belichick has lost to in a Super Bowl is Tom Coughlin, and the New York Giants clipboard-holder was able to do it twice where Mike Martz, Andy Reid (1oth), and John Fox (12th) failed. Those numbers in parentheses are the rankings for Reid and Fox’s in CBS Sports analyst Pete Prisco’s head coach rankings, which feature Bill Belichick at the very top of the list and Coughlin in second place.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media during rookie minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Belichick being ranked at the top of a head coaching rankings list is nothing new, and that’s just where the three-time Super Bowl winner (five appearances) belongs. The Hoodie, as Prisco notes, has had ten playoff appearances in New England with a .726 winning percentage that is pretty mind-boggling. This season is going to be an even bigger test for Belichick and Tom Brady, but it is easy to forget that this team made it to the AFC Championship game last season and the Super Bowl the year before.
What is really impressive about Belichick, especially in comparison with another legendary coach in Tom Coughlin, is the fact that his Patriots teams have been so consistent. You will almost never see a bad year in Foxboro, and that has something to do with both Brady and Belichick. After all, there are 52 other players on the roster, and it is up to Belichick to both pick those guys and manage their snaps (although he has plenty of help from the likes of Nick Caserio and Josh McDaniels in those duties).
Prisco ranked all the first-time head coaches at the bottom of the pile, so there is really no sense in talking about where Buffalo Bills new head man Doug Marrone slots in. Miami Dolphins second-year head coach Joe Philbin was 22nd, while Rex Ryan was the only other AFC East coach to be in the top half of the rankings at 14th. Ryan is somebody I have defended several times on the site as a quality head coach, and I agree with that ranking at 14. He isn’t great at all, but he’s solid and took the New York Jets to two AFC Championship games on the strength of a nasty defense that he built.
A snub on that list? Ron Rivera. He was only ranked 25th, and I feel like Prisco has given Rivera unrealistic expectations. While it is true that he now has Cam Newton, this team was never good enough to make the playoffs in those two years, and he improved their record in each of his two seasons at the helm. The Panthers already made a switch (a good one, at that) at GM, and this team is a darkhorse in the NFC. Heading into this third year, Rivera’s job should be safe.