On Monday, CBS Sports released their list of the top-10 active head coaches in the NFL. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already seen the list, but here’s a quick refresher:
First things first, every coach on that list deserves to be there. No one’s really questioning that. It’s the order in which they’re ranked that has some fans up in arms — including Eagles fans.
Doug Pederson never seems to get the love he deserves from the main stream sports media. Winning a Super Bowl, especially in the circumstances Pederson won his, should carry a lot of clout. Pederson’s won a Super Bowl more recently than every coach on that list except for the top two.
There are even two coaches ahead of Pederson who have yet to bring home a Lombardi Trophy, although both have made appearances since Pederson’s 2017 championship. Both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay are great coaches and offensive geniuses in their own rights, but how anyone can firmly say they’re better head coaches than Pederson is beyond me.
Let’s address the McVay ranking first because I’ve felt strongly about this for awhile now. I’d take Doug Pederson over Sean McVay every day of the week. Granted, McVay’s winning percentage (.688) is better than Pederson’s (.594), but that doesn’t tell the whole story, as stats rarely do.
Pederson inherited a awfully constructed team in 2016 with a rookie quarterback leading the way, and he still managed a 7-9 record. Since that year, Pederson has gone 31-17, made three straight playoff appearances, won two NFC East titles and he beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback. The same coach-quarterback duo that embarrassed McVay in the Super Bowl the following year.
Pederson is also 2-0 against McVay, with both wins coming in Los Angeles. You could argue that McVay has clearly had the better talent to work with as well. His team traded for one of the best corners in football last season, yet failed to even make the postseason. Pederson, on the other hand, has seen his rosters get decimated by injuries the past two seasons, and still found a way to get his team in the playoffs.
As for Kyle Shanahan, recency bias is obviously a factor with CBS’ list, but I’d still take Pederson over him. Shanahan is unworldly with his play design, he keeps defenses off guard at all times. But, he’s proven to be a bit of a choke artist in the biggest moments. As the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, he played a huge role in the infamous 28-3 debacle in Super Bowl 51. Then just last season, he squandered a two possession lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, while having the best rushing attack in all of football.
Both Shanahan and McVay will be around for while, and they may end up hoisting the Lombardi at some point. But right now in 2020, Pederson is the better coach.
I’m not sure what it’ll take for main stream pundits to put more respect on Pederson’s name, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what any of these lists say. We have one of the best in the business with Pederson calling the shots, bottom line, and that’s enough for me.