By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With meaningful football games on the horizon, we have almost successfully made it through the time period of preseason rankings and predictions that for the most part get thrown out the window when the first snap of the first regular season game takes place.
With that said, people still do them and as football enthusiasts we still look at them. Will we look back after the season ends to check the validity of them? No, but it is somewhat entertaining to debate them now especially knowing that our opinions will get washed away along with the rankings themselves.
ESPN has ranked the 32 NFL coaches in a tier system much like they did earlier this summer with NFL quarterbacks. 30 league insiders were polled to put the ranking together. The group of experts was comprised of eight current general managers, four former general managers, four personnel directors, four executives, six coordinators and four position coaches.
The individuals ranked each coach on a 1-5 scale with one being the best and five being the worst. The coaches were then placed in tiers based on the average of their grades.
Chip Kelly wound up with a 2.20 average placing him as a tier 2 NFL coach and as the 12 best coach in the league overall.
Kelly seemed like a tough coach to rank. He obviously ended up in the second tier, but nine voters put Kelly in the third tier. He still seems to have an aura of mystery about him. Does he really know what he’s doing, or is his system a fad that got lucky in a rather weak division?
“Kelly is the fascinating guy to me, because with a lot of these young [coaches] I’m not sure, but Chip has a chance to be really special,” one of the former general managers said of the Eagles coach. “He thinks his system can overcome everything and sometimes those guys know. He interests me greatly.”
“I just think he doesn’t give a s— what other people think, and he has his beliefs, he is outside the box and he is true to himself,” one of the current general managers said. That general manager also ranked Kelly as a tier 1 coach.
The coaches that ended up making up tier 1 were Bill Belichick (1.07), Pete Carroll (1.23) and Sean Payton (1.30). Joining Kelly in tier 2 were Andy Reid, Tom Coughlin, Mike McCarthy, Mike Tomlin, Jim and John Harbaugh, John Fox, Jeff Fisher, Bruce Arians, Lovie Smith and Marvin Lewis. No coach finished below tier 4.
What does all of this really mean? It is understandable that these rankings do not necessarily carry a lot of weight, but the surveyed group and the clouded nature of it almost leaves all of this up to opinion.
How accurate can a survey about NFL coaches be if it doesn’t include players? It doesn’t include the people who exist the most in a direct symbiotic relationship with the men on the list. It would be unrealistic to survey the 53 players on every NFL roster, but the media constantly cycles in a stream of former players every year. Their insight could maybe help in a piece like this.
This is not to say that Kelly, or any of the other coaches for that matter, does not deserve the received ranking whether you think it may be too high or too low. It may just be the musings of someone who has seen his share of preseason rankings and is just ready for some football.
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