NFL teams need good players to win games but they must also have the right guy leading the way. The Jacksonville Jaguars lacked one during most of the 2010s and had to take several shots before they landed Doug Pederson, who oversaw a huge turnaround in his first year at the helm. Pederson isn't a one-year wonder though, having won the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, which is why former NFL player Ross Tucker put him in the top 10 of his head coach ranking.
Tucker, for The 33rd Team, ranked all 32 NFL head coaches and placed Pederson, at No. 10, noting that he beat the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 with Nick Foles as his quarterback and also had the Jags making the playoffs in 2022.
"The guy beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl with Nick Foles and had the Jacksonville jaguars giving the Kansas City Chiefs all they could handle in Year 1 in the Divisional Round. Maybe he should be higher?"
Following the dismissal of Doug Marrone in 2020, the Jaguars believed Urban Meyer could oversee a rebuild. However, Meyer routinely showed a massive lack of competence and managed to sink the team even lower. He was fired less than a year after getting hired. To fill the vacancy, Jacksonville chose Pederson as their head coach after an extensive search. One year later, it looks like they made the right decision.
Pederson helped the Jaguars heal from the Meyer debacle and led them to their first division title since 2017. Under his leadership, players that had underperformed in 2021 and several newcomers shined last season. Trevor Lawrence is the most notable example but safety Rayshawn Jenkins, tight end Evan Engram, right tackle Jawaan Taylor — now with the Kansas City Chiefs — and wide receiver Christian Kirk all went on to have career years.
Here are the other head coaches in the top 10 of Tucker's ranking.
- Andy Reid
- Bill Belichick
- Mike Tomlin
- Sean Payton
- Nick Sirianni
- Kyle Shannahan
- Sean McVay
- Brian Daboll
- Pete Carroll
Jaguars HC Doug Pederson may indeed deserve a higher spot in The 33rd ranking
Looking at the top 10, you could argue that Pederson deserves a higher spot. He got it right with Andy Reid at No. 1 and Bill Belichick second. While the former is one of the best head coaches in league history, his track record in recent years hasn't been as great. Mike Tomlin's spot also seems right given that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been a perennial contender since they hired him in 2007.
But after Tomlin, the top 10 gets confusing. Sirianni hasn't won the Super Bowl but still appeared at No. 5. Daboll instantly had the New York Giants competing but he's been their head coach one season. Similarly, Sean Payton won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints but he's just taking over the Denver Broncos.
If Tucker is using recent success as the basis of his ranking, why are Belichick and Payton so high? Conversely, if he's using championships as the parameter, what are Daboll and Sirianni doing in the top 10? To his credit, he acknowledges that Pederson might be deserving of a higher spot. He turned the Jags into a playoff team in Year 1 but has also won the Super Bowl. Then again, you could ask 10 different people who the best 10 head coaches in the NFL are and you would probably get 10 different lists.
In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars found the long-term answer at head coach and if Pederson can lead them to the AFC Championship or even the Super Bowl in the upcoming years, it won't matter where he ranks among his peers.