NFL Media’s Elliot Harrison put forth a different spin on power rankings yesterday morning when he rated every single head coach in the league from "worst" to "best". Unproven coaches like Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson were predictably down at the very bottom of the rankings, while future Hall of Famers like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll were all the way at the top. But where did our very own Bill O’Brien rank between on this spectrumr? Well…smack dab in the middle, surprisingly enough.
16) Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans
O'Brien might not be top-shelf just yet, but it's hard to argue with his results thus far. The Texans' record under O'Brien -- 18-14 with one playoff appearance -- ain't too shabby, considering Houston was a 2-14 team when he arrived from Penn State. O'Brien also managed to lead the Texans to the postseason with a Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett/T.J. Yates/Brandon Weeden concoction at quarterback. Even Jon Voight couldn't pull that off.
Most of the coaches that are placed ahead of O’Brien are expected – Arians, Tomlin, Reid, Harbaugh, Peyton, and a host of other big names. Two of the top 15, however, are perplexing for a Texans fan like myself. I ask of thee, Mr. Harrison, how in the world does one put Chuck Pagano (15) and Gary Kubiak (10) ahead of Bill O’Brien? How can one justify Pagano’s ranking at all when he was reportedly close to being fired after the 2015 season? How does Gary Kubiak get credit for a Super Bowl run that had more to do with Wade Phillips’ brilliance than his own archaic, restrictive West Coast offense?
This makes no sense. None. Bill O’Brien is a phenomenal head coach who has managed to stay above .500 with a roster that had to be completely gutted just to become sort of semi-competitive. The quarterback situation was deplorable, their first overall pick in 2014 could not stay healthy, and outside of DeAndre Hopkins, there were no legitimate threats on offense (after Arian Foster’s injury). To put together a playoff team from that mess is extraordinarily impressive, especially when compared against Pagano’s failure to accomplish the exact same task when his own starting quarterback was out with an injury.
Bill O’Brien is one of the ten best head coaches in this entire league, and hopefully someday soon the rest of the nation will realize that.