In a recent ranking of NFL head coaches, Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians ranked 7th out of the 32 NFL head coaches.
NFL.com media analyst Elliot Harrison put together a power ranking of NFL head coaches, and ranked 2 time Coach of the Year recipient, Bruce Arians at number 7. He ranked ahead of Tom Coughlin, Andy Reid, and Chuch Pagano (who were 8th, 10th and 11th respectively). Ranked ahead of Arians were all the Super Bowl winning coaches in the league, including Mike McCarthy (4th), Sean Payton (5th), and Mike Tomlin (6th).
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Not surprisingly ranked at the top of the list were Super Bowl XLIX coaches Bill Belichick, and Pete Carroll. After looking at the list, the question can be asked, was Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians ranked lower than or higher than he should’ve been?
Here’s what Elliot Harrison had to say about Bruce Arians:
"Arians just won his second Coach of the Year award in three years — and he wasn’t even officially a head coach when he captured it in 2012 for his work with the Colts as Chuck Pagano’s temporary fill-in. Running his own ship in Arizona, Arians has gone 10-6 and 11-5 in the past two seasons, despite dealing with a flurry of injuries last year that would have deep-sixed many teams. The next step for Arians is to win in the playoffs."
Given Arians’ track record in his 2 years with the Arizona Cardinals, Arians should have been ranked at least 5th, with Sean Payton falling to 6th and Mike Tomlin to 7th. In his first year with the Arizona Cardinals, Arians led the team to its first winning season in 4 years, and in his second season followed that with the team’s first playoff appearance in 5 years. Bruce Arians was also well on his way to guiding the Arizona Cardinals to the #1 seed in the NFC but injuries prevented this from happening.
On the other hand, Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton haven’t had as much success as Bruce Arians has had in his 2 years with the Arizona Cardinals. New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton, who is now 2 years removed from his bounty scandal, lead the Saints to a playoff birth in 2013 and then regressed to a 7-9 record this past season. Elliot Harrison gives the reason why he ranked Payton so high:
"Payton ranks this highly because you can’t ignore the organizational turnaround he engineered upon arrival in 2006, or the fact that he delivered a Super Bowl title in the 2009 season."
Mike Tomlin lead the Steelers to their first playoff appearance since 2011, but quickly bowed out in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens this past season. Before that, Tomlin delivered back-to-back .500 seasons. Tomlin was most likely ranked this high due to his 2 Super Bowl appearances, where he beat the Arizona Cardinals in one, and lost to the Green Bay Packers in another.
I highly expect to see Bruce Arians moving up in the rankings in the upcoming seasons. Though it is doubtful he’ll crack the top three (unless he wins a Super Bowl, which is definitely possible), he can certainly crack the top 4.