AFC North: Coach Rankings

AFC North
photo credit:brownsgab.com

Two of the AFC North head coaches have had long tenures and possibly are future hall of fame candidates. Those two coaches are Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh. However, the other two coaches are nowhere near hall of fame status and are early on in their tenure. Kevin Stefanski and Zac Taylor are the new young head coaches. With the storied history of the AFC North, the head coaches play a very intricate role in its history. Therefore, we rank the current head coaches from 1st-4th.

Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin is the longest-tenured head coach in the AFC North and the most successful. Undeniably the division’s best coach he holds a career record of 154-85-2. Having coached the Steelers for 16 seasons he’s had two Super Bowl appearances and won a Super Bowl. It is also important to realize that just in his second season as head coach he won the Super Bowl in 2009. At age 36 he was the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl until Sean Mcvay did this past season. Tomlin has never had a losing season as a head coach and has sent 66 players to the pro bowl. In conclusion, Mike Tomlin has coached in 17 playoff games with a record of 8-9 in said games.

John Harbaugh

John Harbaugh owns the second longest-tenured head coach in the AFC North. He is a future hall of fame option in his own right as well. He owns a career record of 137-88. Since Harbaugh’s arrival in 2008, the Ravens have had the 5th most wins amongst any franchise in the NFL. In addition, John Harbaugh and the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012 against the San Fransico 49ers. Harbaugh at this point in his career has experienced great playoff success. He has 11 playoff wins since his head coaching tenure started in 2008. Similarly, he owns the most road playoff wins (8). As well John Harbaugh has appeared in 3 AFC Championship games in 2008, 2011, and 2012. In 19 playoff games, his playoff record is 11-8.

Kevin Stefanski

Kevin Stefanski going into his 3rd season as head coach of the Cleveland Browns has been what the doctor has ordered for this franchise. For instance, in his early tenure after 33 games Stefanski has a career record of 19-14. As a rookie head coach in 2020, he won coach of the year and led the Browns to an 11-5 record. As a result of his successful rookie season, he took the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Previously he served as the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for two seasons. Interviewed for Brown’s head coaching job twice and was a finalist those two times before he became the head coach in 2020. So far Kevin Stefanski has a playoff record of 1-1.

Zac Taylor

Zac Taylor 4th season as Cincinnati Bengals head coach he enjoyed a magical run this past season. With an overall record of 16-32-1, he took over for Marvin Lewis in 2019. During the 2021 season, he led the Bengals to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. One of the reasons for Taylor being hired in Cincinnati was because prior to his arrival the team hadn’t made it out of the first round of the playoffs in years. However, this season they did just that on their way to a Super Bowl showdown with the Rams. Zac Taylor led his team to an AFC North Championship and won the AFC Championship as well. Zac Taylor has achieved a playoff record of 3-1 from this past season.

Conclusion

Both Mike Tomlin and John Harbaguh are head and shoulders above the other two coaches in the AFC North. Both as hall of fame canidates have had the luxury of more time and organizational stability. Simiarly Kevin Stefanski right now is in the middle road as a head coach. Former coach of the year Stefanski so far has brought stability and alignment to a franchise that needed it the most. Zac Taylor was on the hot seat prior to this past season. His team got hot at the righ time and benefitted from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase tandem.

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