Harrison doesn't provide the criteria he used for determining his rankings so all we can assume is that 'winning' is a key part of the formula. Looking at Rivera at #21 I would say a fast climb to the top 10 is not warranted after only one winning season but he is a coach who sort of reinvented himself mid-season and made it work. I guess that got him out of the bottom couple of slots only. But when I look at some of the names above him it makes me go 'Hmmm'.
#21 Ron Rivera
Carolina Panthers The 2013 AP Coach of the Year might have some difficulty leading the Panthers back to the postseason in 2014, given that both the Buccaneers and Falcons should fare better than they did in 2013. Irrespective of what happens this upcoming season, the former linebacker did a heckuva job rallying back from being on the hot seat to finishing as NFC South champs at 12-4.
So here Harrison is basing his ranking on what he predicts will happen in 2014 rather than give weight to 2013: That the Panthers will take a step back while the Falcons and Saints will take a step up. Okay fair enough, he's buying into the medias view of the Panthers in 2014. I guess winning AP COY isn't THAT big a deal. Let's see if he continues with that criteria.
#16 Rex Ryan
New York Jets He might talk a lot -- OK, he does talk a lot -- but Ryan's tenure has carried much substance, as well. Ryan led New York to two straight AFC Championship Game appearances in his first two years at the helm, but quarterback woes have left Gang Green hovering in mediocrity over the last three seasons. Jets GM John Idzik has exhibited confidence in Ryan, providing him an opportunity to ride it out with either the young Geno Smith or veteran Michael Vick under center. That said, this could be a do-or-die season for the coach.
Three years of mediocrity equals a middle of the pack ranking, I guess that makes sense. He sure is seems to be confident they can turn it around in 2014 but tell, who is their QB again?
#14 Lovie Smith
Tampa Bay Buccaneers After a year out of the game, Smith looks to push Tampa Bay back into the NFC South competition. The Bucs have not been a true threat in the division since they took it in 2007, when Jon Gruden was still roaming sidelines (... as opposed to taking 20-year-old quarterbacks to the dry erase board). Smith's résumé includes a Super Bowl appearance, as well as an NFC Championship Game berth in 2010. His nine-year tenure in Chicago didn't seem to be appreciated until he was dismissed following the 2012 season -- speaking of which, Smith's firing came after a 10-win season.
While Smith may have a lovely resume he was fired after a 10 win season in 2012. How does that get you to #14? Smith got a raw deal in Chicago I agree so I guess he's getting a boast due to respect or empathy, you choose. He may be getting a bump for landing in Tampa who could eb much improved but he doesn't say that.
#13 Bruce Arians
Arizona Cardinals I'd like to see one more full year at the helm from Arians before placing him any higher on this pecking order. Arians was named 2012 AP Coach of the Year for his work as the interim head man in Chuck Pagano's stead, which led to his prompt hiring in Arizona last offseason. He continued his brief -- but impressive -- head-coaching run by pushing the Cardinals to 10 wins, including a victory over the soon-to-be-world-champion Seattle Seahawks -- at their place.
That sounds like a sympathy vote for the next HC stuck in the Arizona wasteland. So winning AP COY in even numbered years counts more than odd numbered years?
#8 John Fox
Denver Broncos Fox's career arc definitely has experienced twists and turns ... He took over a 1-15 Panthers outfit, and nearly guided it to a Super Bowl title in just his second year on the post. Fox took Carolina to the playoffs twice more, but his days were numbered after a horrific 2010 campaign. Fox then took on a new challenge in Denver, inheriting the Tim Tebow situation. He got that team to the postseason, too. And over last two years, Fox and Peyton Manning have teamed up to make the Broncos an elite threat in the AFC.
I guess getting blown out in the SB doesn't impact the rankings. Maybe having Peyton Manning as your QB does? It takes a smart HC in deed to sign one of the best QBs of all time and build your team around him. Oh and look who's getting credit for winning in Panther colors! [sarcasm].
#1 Bill Belichick
New England Patriots Still an easy choice as the top head coach in the NFL. Belichick had his Patriots in the playoffs last season for the 11th time in his 14 years on the job, with New England advancing all the way to the AFC Championship Game for the eighth time in that span. Belichick also has led New England to five Super Bowls, winning three. And let's not forget he earned two more rings as Bill Parcells' defensive coordinator in New York.
It's worth repeating from the intro of the piece: Mr. 'Greatest HC of All Time' Belichick hasn't been to the SB since 2004. Seems Lovie Smith got run out of Chicago for less.
Based on the remainder of the rankings I would place Rivera around #13 to #16 as a WORST case scenario. After this season it will be evidence where he belongs, in the TOP 10 if not TOP 5 after guiding these Panthers to the SB!