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Where Does Todd Haley Rank Among Head Coaches?


A popular topic of debate amongst Kansas City Chiefs fans over the past two years is just how good (or bad) of a job is head coach Todd Haley doing. There is a wide variety of opinions out there. Some feel (myself included) that he is doing an excellent job and deserves a large portion of the credit for the Chiefs turnaround from basement dweller to division winner. Others feel that Haley is more a product of Pioli’s personnel decisions, the play of “Herm’s guys”, and an easy schedule.

Today I thought I would try to put my “homer” views aside and look objectively at where Haley should be viewed among the 32 current NFL coaches. The fact is that Haley took over a terrible team and in his second season got into the playoffs. You can come up with all the reasons you want for why it happened, but I don’t think you can argue that the team Haley took over was bad and you can’t discount the fact that they did make the playoffs.

So where should that rank him compared to other coaches? After the break I’ll look at the other coaches by the numbers and see where Haley matches up.

Alright let’s get the clear cut choices out of the way first.

There are six current NFL coaches who have won Super Bowls. They are Mike McCarthy, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Tom Coughlin, Mike Tomlin, and Mike Shanahan.

Now the Chiefs fan in me says that I’d rather have Haley then Coughlin or Shanahan, but I’m forcing myself to be objective. So there’s no way you can claim Haley should be rated above any coach that has won a Super Bowl so he has to be below those six.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the coaches that have never been to the playoffs. This includes 7 first time head coaches Ron Rivera, Pat Shurmur, Jason Garrett, Leslie Frazier, Hue Jackson, Jim Harbaugh, and Mike Munchak. It also includes four returning coaches with no playoff births Jim Schwartz, Gary Kubiak, Steve Spagnuolo, and Raheem Morris. Now Haley detractors may want to argue that they would prefer one of these coaches over Haley, but if the homers can’t argue that they like Haley more then coaches with better resumes then we can’t put coaches with no playoff births ahead of him either.

So we now know that Haley is for sure behind six Super Bowl winning coaches and for sure ahead of 11 coaches with no playoff experience. That makes Haley one of 15 active coaches who have been to the playoffs but haven’t won a Super Bowl. Of those active coaches Haley has the worst career winning percentage (.438). Also, 13 of these 15 coaches have more than one playoff birth. Only Haley and Tony Sparano have been to the playoffs a single time.

So if we go strictly off resume and look at winning percentage and playoff births then Haley would rank last among those 15 coaches. That would rank him as the 21st best head coach in the NFL. Not terrible for a coach with only two years experience, but nothing to get too excited about.

The question then is would an objective fan rank Haley ahead of any of those 14 other coaches despite Haley having a lower winning percentage or less playoff births? Some of these coaches are clearly out of Haley’s league. Take Andy Reid, for example, who has a career winning percentage of .618 and has made the playoffs in 9 of his 12 seasons as a head coach. Here are the other thirteen coaches in this bracket along with their winning percentage and playoff appearances.

Jim Caldwell – .750 – 2 for 2 playoff births
Mike Smith – .688 – 2 for 3 playoff births
John Harbaugh – .667 – 3 for 3 playoff births
Rex Ryan – .625 – 2 for 2 playoff births
Lovie Smith – .563 – 3 for 7 playoff births
Tony Sparano – .521 – 2 for 3 playoff births
Jack Del Rio – .508 – 2 for 8 playoff births
John Fox – .507 – 3 for 9 playoff births
Pete Carroll – .500 – 3 for 5 playoff births
Ken Whisenhunt – .500 – 2 for 4 playoff births
Norv Turner – .485 – 4 for 13 playoff births
Marvin Lewis – .472 – 2 for 8 playoff births
Chan Gailey – .458 – 2 for 3 playoff births

So here’s where I want your input Addicts, where do you think Haley truly ranks on that list? Is it at the bottom?

Here are some of my thoughts. I should add that my objectivity probably stops at this point in the post.

Jim Caldwell – He has the best winning percentage on this list, but I’d still rather have Haley. Caldwell’s game management at the end of the Jets playoff game was terrible and I’d have no faith in his ability to coach a winning team without Peyton Manning.

Mike Smith – You can’t argue with his results. He took over a team devastated by the loss of their franchise QB and has a .688 winning percentage and two playoff births in three seasons.

John Harbaugh – .667 winning percentage and 100% playoff appearances ranks him above Haley even if he still has something to prove in terms of being an elite coach.

Rex Ryan – I really don’t like Ryan, at all. He did take over a much better team then Haley, but I don’t think you can justify putting Haley above Ryan with how well the Jets have done these past two seasons.

Lovie Smith – A Super Bowl appearance and making the NFC title game last year make his resume too strong for Haley.

Tony Sparano – The numbers make it appear that he should be ahead of Haley, but the fact that the Dolphins were shopping for a coach tells me they think it was more Parcels then Sparano that brought about their turn around. I think Haley’s arrow is pointing up and Sparano’s is pointing down. Advantage Haley.

Jack Del Rio – The king of doing just enough to not get fired. At no point in his 8 years have I thought the Jags were a team on the rise. I think the average NFL fan would rank Haley over Del Rio after the Chiefs turnaround season.

John Fox – Tough call here. I like Haley and Fox’s credibility has taken a hit with how bad the Panthers were the last couple seasons. However, Fox does have a Super Bowl appearance on his resume. In order to make sure I’m not being TOO big of a homer I’ll give Fox the nod.

Pete Carroll – The media loves this guy so when you combine that with three playoff births in 5 seasons he probably would land above Haley regardless of what we might think of their actual coaching.

Ken Whisenhunt – Like Fox, he’s coming off a really bad season but he does have a Super Bowl appearance. I’ll give Haley’s former boss the edge.

Norv Turner – The king of underachieving has only been to the playoffs in 4 of his 13 seasons as a head coach. He may be a bigger name but he’s not a better coach. Advantage Haley.

Marvin Lewis – This is a hard one to judge. On one hand he really hasn’t done anything as the Bengals coach. On the other hand, the poor guy has to coach the Bengals. Could anyone win there with that owner? Now his QB wants out. I don’t think he’ll survive the season. I’ll go with Haley.

Chan Gailey – Yes Chan has a better winning percentage and two playoff births but that’s due to two underachieving playoff births with the Cowboys a decade ago. When he was hired by the Bills most people were shocked he got a head coaching job. I think the average NFL fan would put him under Haley.

So when I went through the list I put him below Reid, M. Smith, Harbaugh, Ryan, L. Smith, Fox, Carroll, and Whisenhunt and ahead of Cadwell, Sparano, Del Rio, Turner, Lewis, and Gailey. That would rank him 15th out of 32 head coaches. That seems reasonable to me after taking a team that was terrible and making the playoffs in the second year, but I’m a fan of the guy.

So what do you think Addicts? I’d love to hear your opinions objective or not.

As usual, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!