The NFL postseason doesn’t only cement legacies for players. Head coaches are also ultimately judged by their wins and losses at this time of the year, and there’s some heavyweight names occupying that position in the 2024 NFL Playoffs. Here’s our ranking of the 14 head coaches in these playoffs, taking into account team talent, expectations, previous postseason experience and game day responsibilities.
2024 NFL Playoffs: Head Coach Rankings
14. Todd Bowles - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bowles went to the playoffs a year ago with Tom Brady at quarterback, but eventually lost to the same Cowboys team his squad beat in Week 1 of the season. The defensive-minded coach has put together an elite unit for Tampa Bay, but this offense simply hasn’t been able to consistently put points on the board. Bowles is a good head coach, but he’s the weakest in this field.
13. Sean McDermott - Buffalo Bills
The Bills are arguably the hottest team in the league entering the postseason, but McDermott has little to do with that. If anything, he moved on from former offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey too late and needed this late surge just to end where everyone expected Buffalo to be in the first place. Josh Allen continues to turn the ball over and that’ll eventually cost this team in a big spot. So far, McDermott’s regular season success has not translated to much in the playoffs.
12. Mike McDaniel - Miami Dolphins
McDaniel has had to deal with a lot of injuries this season at the skill positions, so this Miami offense might actually be better than we think. However, his quarterback and superstar wide receiver were healthy for essentially every game and he still squandered the division away. Now, the Dolphins have to play on the road in cold weather to advance. McDaniel is a rising coach but he’s had mixed results in the first two seasons. A deep playoff run can change everything though.
11. Mike McCarthy - Dallas Cowboys
No two names are more synonymous with postseason implosions than McCarthy and the Cowboys. The coach has actually done a great job calling plays this season, helping Dak Prescott lead the league in touchdown passes. The Cowboys also haven’t lost a home game all season and hold the No. 2 seed. However, all that matters now is what happens in the playoffs. And McCarthy’s former team is playing some of its best football ahead of the showdown with Dallas.
10. Nick Sirianni - Philadelphia Eagles
What does Sirianni really do for the Eagles? It’s a fair question to ask largely because this team has completely let the bottom fall out over the last five weeks. At one point, the Eagles were 10-1 and in complete control of their destiny for the division and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Now, they’re 11-6 and likely have to win road games all the way to get back to the Super Bowl. Jalen Hurts has plateaued, and A.J. Brown might be less than 100%. Sirianni better have the right gameplan against what figures to be a stout Bucs defense, otherwise there will be a lot of questions surrounding his ability to keep this team in the title conversation.
9. Mike Tomlin - Pittsburgh Steelers
I fully expect the Steelers to lose in the first round, and the only reason Tomlin is in this position is because the Jaguars fumbled away the division in Week 18. However, the track record is undeniable. Tomlin’s ability to maintain his cool and keep the team’s identity intact despite changing personnel and switching quarterbacks gives him an edge over some of the other coaches here.
8. Matt LaFleur - Green Bay Packers
There were times this season when LaFleur seemed to make the wrong call at a crucial time. The Packers head coach has made some questionable playoff decisions during his tenure but his ability to get the youngest offense in the league into the postseason deserves some attention. Green Bay will be the youngest offense in league history to play a playoff game, and that can only be a good thing for this group. His system has changed to fit Jordan Love’s skillset and the team personnel better, and the results are in front of us.
7. DeMeco Ryans - Houston Texans
The only reason Ryans isn’t higher is because he’s a first-year head coach with no postseason track record. The Texans were expected to be AFC fodder this season, even with C.J. Stroud at the quarterback spot. Ryans immediately transformed this defense, while Stroud caught fire late in the season and eventually led the team to a division title. Not only is Houston in the postseason, but it is hosting a playoff game. Ryans and the Texans are playing with house money now, and that can be a dangerous thing for a young football team.
6. Sean McVay - Los Angeles Rams
This defense is still a bit of a mess but the Rams are humming offensively thanks to McVay and Matthew Stafford. Many expected this group to finish at the bottom of the NFC West along with the Cardinals, but McVay just finds ways to make the offense work. He’s won a Super Bowl and been to two, so he knows how to get the job done in the playoffs.
5. Kevin Stefanski - Cleveland Browns
Imagine thinking you have one quarterback to start the season as the franchise guy. Then imagine having to rotate between a backup and a third-stringer. Now imagine none of those guys being the starter for the team currently. The Browns have been through the ringer at quarterback, and now have the veteran Joe Flacco leading them into the playoffs. Flacco has shown he can get hot in the postseason, but the key to Cleveland’s success is this defense. Stefanski has done a tremendous job holding this group together and should have a good plan in place for the rookie Stroud.
4. Andy Reid - Kansas City Chiefs
Reid has won everywhere he’s gone, and his track record is second to none. The Chiefs, however, have been lucky to get through to the playoffs despite playing some truly horrendous football. Kansas City’s defense is holding things together while Patrick Mahomes tries to figure out what to do with this offense. Reid might not be at fault for the Chiefs having very little in the receiving group, but he takes some blame for not developing Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney. Still, it’s the Chiefs and it’s Reid so there’s reason to believe this season can still result in a title.
3. Dan Campbell - Detroit Lions
Campbell has changed the entire identity of a franchise which was seen as the doormat of the NFC North for a long time. He’s embraced castoffs from other teams, stayed the course with player roles despite criticism and is a few questionable officiating calls away from potentially having the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The future is bright in Detroit, and Campbell can make an even bigger statement if he takes out McVay’s Rams in the wild card round.
2. Kyle Shanahan - San Francisco 49ers
The conservative play-calling of the past is largely out the window for this 49ers team. Shanahan knows this is arguably his best group ever, and he’s been dialing up the right plays at the right time regularly. Christian McCaffrey has a lot to do with San Francisco’s success, but Shanahan has built this offense into a true juggernaut. Is this the year he finally gets a Super Bowl title?
1. John Harbaugh - Baltimore Ravens
Harbaugh may get the label of an “old school” coach and he has certainly been conservative in situations where the Ravens ultimately gave away the game. However, he’s made some key changes to his staff and that has kept Lamar Jackson healthy heading into the postseason. Harbaugh was in this position before with Jackson and the Ravens laid an egg. Don’t expect him to take anything for granted. He’ll have this Baltimore team ready to go in what could be the most important postseason run of his career.