Arizona’s Kilff Kingsbury not viewed a top-20 head coach in the NFL

(Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Kliff Kingsbury
(Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Kliff Kingsbury /

Kliff Kingsbury is heading into a critical year with the Arizona Cardinals that could determine his future with the franchise.

Before the Arizona Cardinals made the decision to hire him in 2019, Kliff Kingsbury was the head coach at Texas Tech University for a total of six seasons. Behind his lead, Texas Tech had some of the most explosive offenses in the nation during that six-year period.

Despite Kingsbury‘s winning percentage at the college level being below .500, the Cardinals still felt like he was the right choice to be their head coach in 2019.

Two years into his stint with Arizona, the team has only won 42 percent of their games, and the offensive explosiveness from Texas Tech has yet to show up. Kingsbury is running out of time to prove he’s capable of being a successful head coach at the NFL level.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury not highly ranked among his peers

As Kingsbury prepares for his third season with the Cardinals, it’s fair to say his first two years haven’t been very encouraging. Arizona displayed some good progression last season by starting 5-2. But then they were a failed Hail Mary attempt away from losing seven of their final nine matchups.

So heading into the 2021 campaign, where does Kingsbury deserve to be ranked among all of the current head coaches in the NFL? Well, according to Pro Football Network, not very high.

Pro Football Network’s Dalton Miller recently shared his NFL head coach rankings for the 2021 season and he’s got Kingsbury slotted in the No. 23 position. Miller explained his reasoning behind the placement of the Cardinals head coach on his list.

"“The Arizona Cardinals improved to 8-8 in Kliff Kingsbury’s second season as head coach. The team appears to be building, but they still lack what I would define as adequate cornerback talent on the roster.Kingsbury is self-aware enough to know that he failed up from Texas Tech to the NFL. The team now has what feels like a bus-load of viable receiving options on the roster. Still, they play in what is the best division in football. If they can compete there, Kingsbury will climb on this list going into 2022.”"

Kingsbury is the lowest-ranked head coach on this list from the NFC West, behind Kyle Shanahan (13), Pete Carroll (9), and Sean McVay (6).

Shanahan at No. 13 seems very high for a head coach that has only led the San Francisco 49ers to more than six wins in a season once in his first four years with the team. But for some reason, he continues to get the benefit of the doubt.

Some of the other head coaches who ranked above Kingsbury on the list are Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears (22), Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys (19), Joe Judge of the New York Giants (18), and Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers (16).

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The argument can be made that the Arizona head coach could be moved ahead of a few guys ranked higher than him on the list. But Kingsbury at No. 23 isn’t too preposterous of a ranking considering what the Cardinals have failed to do in his two years with the team.