|Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports|
|Bill Belichick (left) has three Super Bowl rings, but he's lost his last two games on the big stage to Tom Coughlin.|
The Mike Rice video made me sick. There's no place in athletics for that kind of abuse.
But I've had my fill of despicable coaching practices for this week. Let's shift focus to exemplary leaders of men, ranking the top coaches in the NFL, Schein Nine style. A nice, feel-good piece that will bring a smile to your face -- unless your coach didn't make the list or you passionately disagree with my order. I'm fascinated to get your take. Hit me on Twitter @AdamSchein.
Without further ado, my list of the nine best coaches in the NFL today:
Sure, he made a big gaffe managing the game at the end of the first half on Championship Sunday. But don't get it twisted: Bill Belichick is the single best coach in sports today. I'd stack his résumé up against anyone else in pro sports in the last 25 years -- Phil Jackson, Joe Torre, Scotty Bowman, whoever -- factoring in his brilliance in New England and how he ran the Giants' defense under Bill Parcells. Belichick is 151-57 over 13 regular seasons in New England, going 17-7 in the playoffs while winning three Super Bowls and making five. And please, save the "What has he done since Spygate?" nonsense. Because the answer is double-digit wins every year.
It drives me nuts when I get calls on our SiriusXM radio show or tweets from haters who complain about McCarthy's play selection and lack of a run game. Last time I checked, he has Aaron Rodgers. And McCarthy's finger prints are all over Rodgers' development into becoming the best quarterback in the NFL -- from McCarthy's offseason quarterback school to his practices to the in-game play calling where Rodgers and McCarthy seemingly share a brain. McCarthy is a robust 74-38 as Packers head coach. He's done a great job assembling strong assistants, too. The Packers are always under the microscope and McCarthy handles the noise (think: Brett Favre) with aplomb.
I know he's only coached in the NFL for two seasons. But I also know how fantastic Harbaugh is, dating back to his days as a college head coach. In just two years on the job, Harbaugh has totally eradicated the Mike Singletary stench he inherited. Before Harbaugh arrived, the Niners were fodder for late-night talk shows, thanks to Singletary's ranting and raving. With Harbaugh, they're a featured attraction on primetime NFL games. Harbaugh is 24-7-1. He was a fumble away from the Super Bowl in his first year. He was yards away from winning the Super Bowl in his second year. He isn't afraid to make the tough decision, like changing quarterbacks midway through a season.
I know how this looks. Yes, John just beat Jim in Super Bowl XLVI. But Jim gets the nod with regular-season winning percentage and his immediate turnaround in San Francisco. Understand, I think John has been nothing short of brilliant steadying the ship in Baltimore -- putting his own stamp on the Ravens while managing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Let's not minimize that. Harbaugh is 54-26 in Baltimore. And he led the Ravens to a Super Bowl triumph -- keeping them focused through adversity, injury, Lewis' retirement announcement, the replacement of an offensive coordinator and other distractions -- despite the fact that at no point during the regular season did they resemble the best team in the NFL. Truly a tremendous accomplishment.
Tomlin gets teams to out-kick their talent. With the exception of last season, Tomlin teams are mentally tough and play their best when it matters the most. He has the ring and the winning percentage to back it up.
He's back! If you ever doubted the greatness and importance of Payton, you saw it last year when New Orleans fell apart sans his leadership. Payton is aggressive and passionate -- qualities that are apparent in the way he coaches. He calls plays with that attitude and goes for it on fourth down. He conducts practices in that style. Thus, the Saints play with an edge and play for him.
Even though I think he should've pulled Robert Griffin III at 14-0 in the first round of the playoffs to protect the franchise QB from further injury, Shanahan did a great job with Washington last year after struggling mightily in his first few seasons on the job. I still think he's an exceptional leader and I don't forget the championships he won in Denver.
The last two years in Philly were an abject failure, but let's not pretend the years prior didn't exist. He won seven division titles in the NFC East. The Eagles were a regular participant on Championship Sunday. Andy Reid changed and rescued Eagles football. The Chiefs have an elite head coach.
Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.