The 2023 regular season is in the books and the NFL Playoffs are underway! Each year, there are a handful of coaches who just stand out among the crowd and lead their teams to greatness by handling adversity. Some coaches are massive surprises by leading their teams from the depths to atop the standings.
Let’s take a look at some of the best the NFL has to offer at the Head Coach position.
Ranking the Top 10 NFL Head Coaches from the 2023 Regular Season
Quite possibly the odds-on favorite to take home this year’s Coach of the Year Award is Kyle Shanahan. No matter where you are, betting on the San Francisco 49ers’ coach is good money. For some, you could take advantage of promos available at a range of Virginia online sportsbooks and make a pretty penny.
Shanahan’s 49ers finished the season 12-5 and, again, took home the NFC West crown. Additionally, the road to the Super Bowl on the NFC side runs through San Francisco as they’ve locked up the top overall seed.
Shanahan is a wizard on the offensive side of the ball and has turned the literal last pick in the draft into a legitimate MVP candidate. He’s well worth the COTY award.
The interesting thing about the game of football is that injuries happen. Injuries are a great equalizer and can separate the great coaches from those who ride talent to success. It’s apparent that Kevin Stefanski was among the elite coaches in 2023.
14 Cleveland Browns players found their way to the I.R. They lost three starting offensive linemen (one of which was a replacement for one of the others) and had to play five starting quarterbacks. To make it even better, Stefanski was able to coach Joe Flacco to the playoffs and give the team actual Super Bowl hopes.
When healthy, the Ravens are perpetually one of the elite teams in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is an MVP-worthy player year in and year out…when healthy. Well, in 2023, the Ravens were as close to healthy as they could be.
Usually, the Coach of the Year awards tend to go to one of the top overall seeds in the playoffs. Harbaugh is certainly deserving. You don’t have both coordinators at risk of being poached without being a good coach. The Ravens are a dangerous team in this playoffs this year and Harbaugh is a massive reason why.
Leading the Detroit Lions not only to the playoffs but to an NFC North division title deserves nothing short of a statue. And Dan Campbell as rejuvenated the Lions franchise in just his third year at the helm. Watch your kneecaps because this guy will bite ‘em.
The Lions were an exciting team in 2023 and will be a popular dark-horse Super Bowl team, if that’s possible. They play with a physicality and grit that can only be described as Campbell-esque. Watch out for this Detroit team in the playoffs.
For most top coach considerations, the entire season is great. For Sean McDermott, it’s recency bias but it’s justified. 10 weeks into the season, the Bills were 5-5 with losses to the Jets, Jaguars, Patriots, Bengals, and Broncos. None of those teams made the playoffs. Then, they caught fire and won six of the final seven and beat the likes of the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Dolphins along with who they should beat in the Jets, Patriots, and Chargers. That lone loss was in overtime to the Eagles in a sloppy mess of a game.
Buffalo could have tucked tail and limped to the offseason. Realistically, they were a loss away from missing out on the playoffs altogether. Not this team. They ran through the toughest stretch on their schedule and went to Miami and took the AFC East crown from a Dolphins team that stumbled down the stretch.
17 seasons. has been the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for 17 seasons and has yet to have a losing season. This year truly looked like the year that was going to bring it all down. They could not move the ball, they could not score, and they just did not look good.
Then, they finally fire Matt Canada and beat up on division rivals to get to 10-7 and earn yet another playoff spot. Seriously, getting 10 wins out of Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph is so impressive the Coach of the Year award should be named after him. Pittsburgh did what it does best: lean on that defense. They’ll have to slow down the red-hot Buffalo Bills team in what could be a snowstorm.
Count out Tomlin at your own risk.
Despite the fact that the Dolphins stumbled down the stretch, it cannot be ignored how good this team was in the regular season. It’s rare that a team goes over 40 points in a game. Miami put up 70 in a game.
Mike McDonald is a player’s coach through and through and they buy in. It just so happens that he leads one of the best offenses in the league thanks to a pair of elite receivers in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Mike McDaniel is just getting started in his coaching career and if 2023 is any indication, he’s going to be a champion sooner rather than later.
Getting to coach Patrick Mahomes certainly makes life easier. Getting to coach Marquez Valdez-Scantling and the rest of the Chiefs’ butter-fingered wide receiver corps is significantly more difficult. Even then, Andy Reid and his Chiefs won the AFC West just again but are in unfamiliar territory.
For the first time in the Mahomes-Reid era, the Chiefs (presumably) will have to play at least one playoff game on the road. This year’s team is probably the worst that Reid has had to coach in his time in KC. Even then, bet against them at your own risk.
Last year, the were among the worst teams in the league despite having one of the better receivers. This year? Whole different story. Sean McVay, despite all of the offseason retirement rumors he dealt with, coached his way to a 10-7 record and a Wild Card spot.
The former Super Bowl champion took the league by storm and there was a time where guys who said hi to him in the parking lot were getting NFL head coaching gigs. It looked like the league caught up to him. And then, he was able to ride a new-look Matthew Stafford and rookie receiver phenom Puka Nacua to the playoffs.
In 2023, Matt LeFleur did something that Mike McCarthy couldn’t: take his franchise Packers quarterback to the playoffs in his first year as starter. After starting 3-6, the obituaries on the Packers 2023 season were already being drafted up. Jordan Love and this young receiver corps were busts. LaFleur is on the hot seat.
Then, the youngest roster in the NFL got hot. They won six of their final eight games and reaffirmed the idea that Aaron Rodgers’ ownership of the Bears was in fact passed along to Love. Green Bay is a literal wild card in this year’s playoffs. They could very easily get smashed by the Cowboys in the Wild Card round as easily as they could win it all. LaFleur has his team playing its best ball at the best time. What he’s been able to do with the league’s youngest roster is incredible and well worth a look as Coach of the Year.
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