clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sunday NFL Thoughts: Bill Belichick is a better head coach than the rest of the head coaches combined

Guess who owns half of the Lombardi trophies for all active head coaches?

1. Here’s a great note from Pro Football Focus’ Tyler Loechner highlighting the current head coaching landscape in the NFL:

Bill Belichick has five Super Bowl victories, equal to the combination all other head coaches in the NFL (Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, and Pete Carroll). All six of these coaches were hired in 2010 or earlier.

Marvin Lewis and Jason Garrett are the only two other coaches to be hired in 2010 or earlier and remained employed without winning a Super Bowl.

2. Lewis is clearly on the hot seat with zero playoff victories since taking over the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003. He has four division titles and seven playoff berths (including five straight from 2011-15) over those 14 seasons and a 0.533 winning rate. While that’s not a terrible resume, it’s hard to see any other franchise giving their head coach such a long leash.

In his favor, Lewis is responsible for one of the strongest coaching trees in the league with four former assistants serving as head coaches (Browns HC Hue Jackson, Washington HC Jay Gruden, Vikings HC Mike Zimmer, Broncos HC Vance Joseph). If I owned the Bengals, I would have preferred to hand the team off to one of these assistants and to move Lewis to the front office in a different capacity.

Some teams, like the 2015 Denver Broncos, needed a coaching change to change the mentality of the team. The Bengals have needed this change for a while.

3. Payton is another coach on the hot seat after three consecutive 7-9 seasons as the Saints failed to match their 2009 Super Bowl run. A lot of problems in New Orleans are linked to terrible decisions by the front office and Payton is going to get caught in the bathwater- although Payton isn’t clear of blame.

In Payton’s 10 years as the head coach of the Saints, the Saints have finished in the bottom eight of the league in points allowed five times; New Orleans missed the playoffs each of those times. The Saints don’t even need a good defense to make the playoffs, they just need a not terrible defense. Payton plays a role in those failures.

Of the eight coaches hired in 2010 or earlier, Payton’s five playoff appearances rank 7th, ahead of only Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (2). His three division titles rank 6th, ahead of Garrett (2) and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (2). Payton has one of the weaker resumes for the long-standing coaches in the league.

4. While he shouldn’t be on the hot seat, John Harbaugh (hired in 2008) and the Ravens are just 31-33 with one trip to the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. The Ravens are trying to rebuild on the fly and Joe Flacco’s albatross of a contract didn’t help.

5. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has coached 352 regular season games and 36 postseason games for a grand total of 388 games. Only Don Shula (526 total games) George Halas (506), and Tom Landry (454) have more under their belt and Belichick could play 19 games per year over the next 7 seasons as a head coach and still trail Shula in total games. Both Halas (0.682) and Shula (0.677) have better winning rates than Belichick (0.673), too.

Belichick (263 total wins) can pass Landry (270) in career wins with 8 wins in 2017 to claim the third-most wins in league history behind Shula (347) and Halas (324). Since 2010, Belichick has recorded exactly 100 total wins, or roughly 14.3 per season.

If Belichick can maintain his incredible pace for the foreseeable future (and his former mentor says that the game is getting easier for Belichick), he will pass Halas early in 2021 and Shula late in 2022.

Belichick has said in the past that he doesn’t want to coach into his 70s.

He will turn 70 years old in April of 2022.

6. Thanks to Bernd, Marie, Brian, and everyone for keeping up with the content on the site over the past week. I was busy getting married (#humblebrag) and took some time off. I’ll be back this week before heading out again for my honeymoon until August. I don’t expect too much to happen on the Patriots front, but if I return to a long term extension for CB Malcolm Butler or LT Nate Solder, I wouldn’t complain. Seriously, Bill and Nick and Ernie, it’s the least you could do after ignoring my wedding invitation.