If your team wins the Super Bowl in dominating fashion, you’re the best, right? Not according to a leading NFL analyst, who says Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is just the seventh best amongst his peers.
Elliot Harrison with NFL.com has just released his annual Head Coach Power Rankings, with Carroll in the number seven spot.
Topping the list is New England’s long-time leader, Bill Belichick, who Harrison calls “an easy choice as the top head coach in the NFL.”
It’s tough to argue with, given Belichick’s three Super Bowl titles in five appearances, and a history of appearing in eight AFC Championships over 14 years.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton gets the second spot. Again, tough to argue since the Saints went 13-3 in 2011, then plunged to 7-9 the following year when Payton was suspended. Last season, they went 11-5 and made it back to the playoffs. He’s led the Saints to the playoffs five times, making the NFC title game twice and winning the Super Bowl in 2009.
That gets us to what’s sure to raise the ire of the 12th Man: Jim Harbaugh at number three.
Harbaugh’s only been in the league three years, but his resume is pretty impressive. Three NFC Championships Game appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl are pretty tough to argue with. But is he really better than Carroll?
“So why is Carroll ranked beneath his rival? Because Seattle went 7-9 in each of Carroll’s first two seasons with Seattle,” Harrison writes. “He also trails Harbaugh in the head-to-head series, four games to three.”
Still, Harrison is more than willing to move Carroll up the list quickly. “If Carroll gets his club back to at least the NFC Championship Game, he might fly past Harbaugh and vie for the spot just below Belichick.”
As for the others above Carroll on the list, every one above him has won at least one Super Bowl, except for Harbaugh.
Following Harbaugh is his brother John, who led the Ravens to the 2013 Super Bowl over Jim, followed by Tom Coughlin of the Giants and Mike McCarthy of the Packers.
Harrison had Carroll at number 15 in last year’s rankings.