clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Sporting News ranks John Harbaugh as the sixth-best head coach in the NFL

New, comments

Where does Harbs stand in the league’s coaching hierarchy?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting News recently released their coaching rankings for all 32 teams in the league. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh placed just outside the top-five, slotting in at #6 behind Bill Belichick, Sean McVay, Sean Payton, Andy Reid, and Pete Caroll.

Here’s their justification behind Harbaugh’s ranking:

“Harbaugh appeared to be on the hot seat going into last season, but he turned to Lamar Jackson at quarterback, a move that led to an AFC North title and playoff berth. Harbaugh is one of seven NFL coaches with both 10 or more career playoff wins and a .625 winning percentage or better in the postseason. He will have to keep proving himself, though, in a tough AFC North.”

As SN notes, many expected this past season to be Harbaugh’s final campaign as the Ravens head coach. Harbaugh was on thin ice entering the 2018-19 season and in what was essentially a playoff-or-bust scenario, things weren’t looking too good for Harbs at the bye week.

Baltimore had lost three games in a row and at 4-5, their playoff hopes seemed to be slipping away. However, Joe Flacco’s injury opened the door for Lamar Jackson to become the starting quarterback. Over the final seven games of the season, Harbaugh guided the new-look offense to a 6-1 record and AFC North title.

Harbaugh deserves credit for making the difficult decision to stick with Jackson at quarterback when Flacco returned from injury. Very rarely do you see teams dramatically alter their offensive gameplan and change their overall identity midseason, but the Ravens did so and found success.

Just one day before the Ravens Week 16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, the Ravens announced Harbaugh would return for the 2019-20 season, the final year of his contract, and that the two parties were working on a new long-term deal. A few weeks later, news broke that Harbaugh had been given a four-year contract extension through 2022.

Since he took over as HC in 2008, the Ravens have made the playoffs seven times, won three division titles, and of course, claimed the Super Bowl XLVII title in 2012. Given his impressive resume and performance last season, Sporting News’ ranking of Harbaugh comes as no surprise.

Rounding out the top-10 of the list are Doug Pederson (Eagles), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Anthony Lynn (Chargers), and Frank Reich (Colts). After Harbaugh and Tomlin, the highest-ranked AFC North coach is Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens, who came in at #20.

Like Kitchens, the Bengals’ Zac Taylor is also entering his first year as a head coach. Sporting News wasn’t as kind to Taylor, however, as he ranked #31 on the list behind only Kliff Kingsbury. It’ll be interesting to see how Taylor and Kitchens fare in their debut seasons as head coaches.

Where do you think Harbaugh places among NFL head coaches and what are your thoughts on these rankings? Join the conversation below! even times,