There are several really good coaches in the league today. More so than ever, the top guy and the bottom guy are close. The competitive balance on the field also carries over when you're talking about coaching.
Sean Payton's success and hard work were rewarded with **a contract extension** from the Saints this week. With that, I offer up my top five coaches in the game today.
1. Bill Belichick, Patriots: He's as knowledgeable a football coach as I can remember. He reminds me a great deal of Tom Landry in that he's never the same. The Patriots are capable of coming out with 20 straight passes one week and have you guessing the next. Belichick has a great feel for trends and what it takes to be successful.
2. Sean Payton, Saints: He has great chemistry with players, especially his quarterback Drew Brees. That's important for a coach and his QB. You can find out what works and what doesn't. Payton is also the best play-caller in the game and very smart.
3. Tom Coughlin, Giants: Often maligned but all you need to do is look at what he did in Jacksonville. He put together four straight trips to the playoffs with what was basically an expansion team. The Giants lost the regular-season finale to New England in 2007 and then Coughlin got his team to the Super Bowl and **a victory over the undefeated Patriots**. He's a hardliner but very knowledgeable.
4. Mike Shanahan, Redskins: He has a great ability to coach quarterbacks. I know there's been some feeling that Shanahan's not as good without John Elway, but he's a very bright offensive mind. He also has a good mix of understanding the running game. The Redskins could be one of the surprise teams this season.
As I mentioned above, Payton is the best play-caller in the game. Here's my top five list:
1. Sean Payton, Saints
2. Norv Turner, Chargers
3. Mike McCarthy, Packers
4. Scott Linehan, Lions
5. Marty Mornhinweg, Eagles