The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Every NFL Team’s Best and Worst Coach Since 2000

Darren - January 23, 2023

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Every NFL Team’s Best and Worst Coach Since 2000

Darren - January 23, 2023

Even the greatest player can’t win a Super Bowl without the right system and more importantly, the right coaches. It takes an elite head coach to work with his assistants and propel a team to true postseason success. Today we’ll look at every NFL franchise’s best and worst coach since 2000. It’s amazing the disparity between success and failure.

Some of these head coaches won multiple Super Bowls and had amazing winning records. Others ran franchises into the ground so much that it took decades to recover. Meanwhile, there are outliers like the Patriots who retained a single coach for multiple decades with repeated success. Then there are the likes of the Raiders who barely had one decent option to choose from. Remember these coaches – good and bad – right here.

AZ Central

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are one of the strangest NFL franchises out there. They don’t experience a lot of playoff success but occasionally threaten to build something special. Ken Whisenhunt is probably their greatest coach ever and led the team to its only Super Bowl appearance. That came in 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated them in Tampa Bay.

Sky Sports

Meanwhile, there are a few contenders for their worst coach since 2000. But Steve Wilks earned this dubious recognition after his one-and-d0ne 2018 season. He led the team to a miserable 3-13 record and showed no signs of improvement throughout the year. Arguably, the recently fired Kliff Kingsbury deserves mention for wasting some great talent (via Sports Illustrated).

Indy Star

Atlanta Falcons

There’s no denying that Dan Reeves was Atlanta’s best coach but his success came during the ’90s. That’s why we have to say that Dan Quinn was their greatest coach since 2000. He brought the franchise to the Super Bowl and turned them into a fully-fledged contender. He also stabilized the team after years of upheaval.

NBC Sports

Yes, that notorious meltdown in the Super Bowl stains his legacy but the Falcons were in their best place for a decade. But Bobby Petrino left them in a terrible state after he slinked back to college football. He inherited a mess after Michael Vick’s conviction. But he abandoned the team in the night with a losing record and no shame (via Clutchpoints).


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are in an interesting position because they’ve only had two coaches since 2000. Furthermore, both of these men won Super Bowl glory for Baltimore. However, John Harbaugh’s longevity earns him the top spot. In 2005, he masterminded a victory over his brother, Jim. Also, he has the most wins of any Ravens coach in franchise history.

Bleacher Report

Bizarrely, this means we’re calling Brian Billick their worst coach since 2000. The team had a phenomenal defense and held the Giants to 152 yards of offense in Super Bowl XXXV. Billick’s team also won the first Vince Lombardi Trophy of the new millennium. Baltimore fans adore him because he brought greatness to Maryland (via Baltimore Ravens). But a worst coach had to be named, so he was the only option left.


Buffalo Bills

Sean McDermott is on course to become the Bills’ greatest coach ever. As Buffalo became a bonafide contender, he transformed Josh Allen into one of the NFL’s leading quarterbacks. A Super Bowl win would be the icing on the cake yet that won’t be happening this year after their latest playoff exit loss to the Bengals. But McDermott deserves immense credit for making people take them seriously again.

The Tennessean

Mike Mularkey is probably their worst coach of the past couple of decades. Mularkey took the reigns in 2004 and led them to a miserly 5-12 record. Incredibly, they had a shot at the postseason but Mularkey failed them. He lost a game against backups to end the Bills’ playoff dream for another year (via Sportsgrid).

NBC Sports

Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera failed to secure a Vince Lombardi Trophy during his time in Charlotte. But he transformed the Panthers into one of the most exciting teams in the NFL. They went 15-1 in 2015 as Cam Newton became NFL MVP. It was the best season in franchise history and Rivera deserves more credit (via Washington Post).


George Seifert and Matt Rhule contend for the dubious title of worst Panthers’ head coach since 2000. The former led the franchise to a record-low 1-15 season before he lost his job. But Rhule had two five-win seasons before going 1-4 in 2022. The Panthers fired him because they weren’t going anywhere.

Bleacher Report

Chicago Bears

Boomer Esiason said that Chicago is where quarterbacks ‘go to die.’ This sums up the team’s lack of success over the past couple of decades. Lovie Smith was their most successful coach in this period as he guided them to a Super Bowl appearance. He also left the franchise with a winning percentage of .563.

New York Times

Meanwhile, there are several candidates for the worst coach in modern Bears’ history. But we’ve chosen Marc Trestmann because the franchise went nowhere during his tenure. They endured terrible losses including a 55-14 humiliation against the Packers. The Grey Cup maestro failed to hack it in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals

Marvin Lewis coached the Bengals for 16 seasons but never won a playoff game. He made the franchise respectable but didn’t do anything spectacular with them. The fanbase appreciates his loyalty but there’s no denying that everything went stale in the end. But the same can’t be said about Zac Taylor (via Fansided).

AP News

Nobody expected him to be Cincinnati’s best coach of the past two decades after a 2-14 rookie coaching season. But then they seized Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in 2020. This changed the franchise’s fortunes and they played in a Super Bowl two seasons later. They didn’t win but remained in contention as Taylor built an electrifying offense.

Cleveland 19

Cleveland Browns

It’s very difficult to identify the best Browns head coach since 2000. That’s because the franchise is better at being garbage than nearly every other team. Perhaps Kevin Stefanski has the edge over Butch Davis because he brought the team back from its 0-16 season. They made the postseason again in 2020 but lost the divisional game.

New York Post

However, the case for the worst head coach is very easy. Hue Jackson only won three games in three seasons with the Browns. This included one in his final two seasons in charge of the team. Amazingly, fans continued to support the team during this horrendous era (via Ranker).

Toledo Blade

Dallas Cowboys

‘America’s Team’ was the best franchise of the ’90s but it’s been all downhill from there. Bill Parcells is one of their all-time greats and revitalized the franchise in his second spell. But Mike McCarthy deserves credit because he overcame adversity to bring them back into contention (via USA Today Sports).

Dallas Morning News

It’s easy to identify their worst coach though because he’s the only one in franchise history with a losing record. Dave Campo went 15-33 as he ran the Cowboys into the ground. Nobody knows how he managed to stay with them for so long but he did a terrible job. It made Parcell’s job look even better.

Toledo Times

Denver Broncos

Gary Kubiak only coached the Broncos for two seasons but he won a Super Bowl. The franchise lost patience with John Fox after he came close to achieving glory. Ultimately, Kubiak got enough juice out of Peyton Manning to bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Mile High City (via SBNation).


Meanwhile, it’s a tie between Josh McDaniels and Nathaniel Hackett for the worst coach in their recent history. The former cheated and made terrible roster decisions. Hackett simply didn’t have the chops at the highest level and wasted Russell Wilson’s first season under center in Denver.

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Lions

By most franchise standards, Jim Caldwell had a middling record. But the Lions find new and innovative ways to hurt their fanbase every year. At least Caldwell guided them to the playoffs a couple of times and left with a winning record. We’ll give Dan Campbell an honorable mention for revitalizing Detroit (via Detroit Sports Nation).

Baltimore Ravens

There were plenty of awful Lions coaches over the years. Matt Patricia arrived with a big reputation as a defensive coach. But the Lions had the weakest defense in the league during his tenure. Nonetheless, Marty Mornhinweg is their worst coach of the modern era. Remember when he chose the wind instead of the ball against the Bears?

Green Bay Packers

Some fans will claim that Mike McCarthy underperformed as the Packers’ head coach. They’ll say that he wasted the prime years of Aaron Rodgers’ career. Despite this, the quarterback won his only Super Bowl ring in McCarthy’s system. That’s why he is their most successful coach of the modern era (via Bleacher Report).


Arguably Matt LaFleur is their worst coach in recent years. Many analysts believed that the Packers were potential contenders in 2021 but they fell short of expectations. Then there were roster problems under his watch with Davante Adams’ departure. He also didn’t stand up to Aaron Rodgers when it was necessary.

Sky Sports

Houston Texans

Picking the best Houston coach of the past couple of decades is like choosing the electric chair or a firing squad. None of the options are great but Gary Kubiak made the best of a bad situation. He stabilized the franchise before they harshly fired him after a losing season. Needless to say, they declined even further the following year.

Bleacher Report

Some fans will claim that Bill O’Brien was a bad coach but it was when he became G.M. that they went into a meltdown. This leaves Dom Capers as the worst coach in their short history. There’s nothing positive to say about his tenure except that fans celebrated when they finally saw the back of him (via USA Today Sports).

L.A. Times

Indianapolis Colts

This one was a no-brainer because it was one of the most successful eras in the Colts’ history. Tony Dungy inspired the franchise to victory in Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears. They dominated the AFC South and he gave Peyton Manning the platform for a Hall of Fame career.

The Athletic

We’ve tried to avoid including interim coaches on this list but it’s impossible to overlook Jeff Saturday. Nobody knows why Jim Irsay gave him the top job because he had no coaching experience at all. Saturday was a TV analyst before he took the reigns and ‘coached’ the team a 1-7 record (via The Cold Wire).

San Diego Union-Tribune

Jacksonville Jaguars

If this was a list of the best Jaguars coaches of the ’90s, Tom Coughlin would be a runaway winner. However, he coached three seasons in the 2000s with losing records. It may seem insane, but Doug Pederson probably deserves this after a year in charge. The way he stabilized the franchise after Urban Meyer’s reign of terror was incredible.

Fox Sports

Pederson led them to the postseason and injected new life into Trevor Lawrence after a year of chaos. Meyer’s tenure was an embarrassment for the franchise and he’s arguably the worst coach in their entire history. They endured scandal after scandal and he didn’t even survive the season (via The Athletic).

Sporting News

Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid is undoubtedly the Chiefs’ best head coach of the past 50 years. That’s because he helped transform them from one of the NFL’s most frustrating franchises into serial Super Bowl contenders. Yes, Patrick Mahomes fell onto his lap but he also handled the former Texas Tech star perfectly. Mahomes brought the good times back.

If Reid has the freedom of Kansas City, the same can’t be said about Romeo Crennel. As far as the Chiefs Kingdom is concerned, he doesn’t exist. They went 2-14 in his final season before Reid came in and turned them around. Crennel’s tenure was a disaster (via Deseret News).


Las Vegas Raiders

It says a lot about the state of the Raiders over the past couple of decades that Jon Gruden was their best coach. Remember, he had two spells with the franchise and brought them to an AFC Championship game in 2000. The franchise traded him to Tampa but brought him back for an ill-fated spell in 2018.

CBS Sports

Gruden’s second tenure came to a humiliating end after the email scandal. But there is a full rogue’s gallery of terrible Raiders’ coaching reigns. Art Shell and Tom Cable are two of the worst but it’s impossible to look past Lane Kiffin. His relationship with Al Davis deteriorated to nuclear levels (via USA Today Sports).

San Diego Union-Tribune

Los Angeles Chargers

Marty Schottenheimer brought the Chargers to new heights when they went 14-2 in 2006. The experienced coach brought them to the playoffs twice. Norv Turner took them on a deeper run to the AFC Championship game in 2007. But he loses points because the team deteriorated by the end of his tenure.

Bleacher Report

The Chargers are a team that threatens to be very good but rarely fulfills their promise. Mike McCoy and Anthony Lynn have similar records because they started relatively well. But then things went downhill and the front office lost faith. It’s a recurring story for the L.A.-based franchise (via Chargers).

The Spun

Los Angeles Rams

Mike Martz replaced Dick Vermeil as Rams head coach in 2000. This came after he won a ring with the franchise as their offensive coordinator. Martz held the top job for five seasons and brought them success including another Super Bowl appearance. Sean McVey deserves a mention for guiding his team of superstars to another Vince Lombardi trophy.

St. Louis Post

There’s no denying that Steve Spagnuolo is the worst coach in Rams history. In his first season, they finished with the worst offense in the league. They fell a long way from the Greatest Show on Earth. Fans celebrated when he left because he was a complete disaster (via Clutchpoints).

Naples Daily News

Miami Dolphins

When people think of great Miami coaches they automatically discuss Don Shula. However, this isn’t an all-time list so suddenly we’re picking at the scraps. Arguably, their best head coach of the past couple of decades was Dave Wannstedt. The team won a postseason game under his tutelage in 2001.


It’s easier to point out their worst coach because he betrayed the franchise. Nick Saban’s worst season saw him go 6-10 but that’s not the main reason why he was so bad. He consistently denied interest in taking the Crimson Tide job. In his defense, he showed loyalty to Alabama with over 15 seasons of glory (via Tuscaloosa News).


Minnesota Vikings

Many people consider the Vikings to be a joke of a franchise. They should have been Super Bowl contenders when they had Randy Moss on their roster. But they fell short of greatness over and over. Mike Zimmer is probably their best coach since 2000 because they made it to the NFC Championship game (via Star Tribune).

North Jersey

Leslie Frazier took Minnesota to a Wild Card Game in 2012 but this was against the norm. Otherwise, the worst coach of the past couple of decades was a disaster. He departed with a cloud over his head and a .398% winning percentage. Perhaps we should say losing percentage because that’s more accurate.

The Spun

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick holds the extraordinary record of being the Patriots’ only head coach since 2000. This makes the franchise an outlier on this list because of its unique relationship with him. Belichick’s achievements are legendary because he brought six Super Bowl titles to the franchise (via NBC Sports).


Furthermore, he took a chance on a sixth-round backup quarterback and made him the NFL’s greatest-ever player. Incredibly he held the Jets’ job for a day before he jumped ship and moved to Massachusetts. Now he’s the winningest head coach in NFL postseason history and an icon of the sport.

Sports Illustrated

New Orleans Saints

It’s simple to identify the best modern Saints head coach. Sean Payton captured the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title in his fourth season in the role. He made them a serious contender and developed Drew Brees into a bonafide Hall of Famer. Payton will probably reunite with his former quarterback in Canton (via Clutchpoints).

The Tennessean

However, it’s more challenging to identify the worst coach of the modern era. There’s a case for Jim Haslett because he only brought them to the playoffs once in six seasons. Then there was the interim duo of Joe Vitt and Aaron Kromer during Payton’s suspension. Time will tell if Dennis Allen can do better than they did, but it’s not looking good.

NBC Sports

New York Giants

Tom Coughlin easily takes the title of best Giants coach ever. The legendary New York native won two Super Bowls as the franchise’s head coach. He also collected a ring as an assistant. His first success against the Patriots was an iconic victory that nobody expected. Eli Manning deserves credit but he also owes Coughlin for his faith.

Everybody remembers Pat Shurmur because he dropped Manning and replaced him with Daniel Jones. There’s nothing else notable to say about his tenure except that he ran them into the ground. “Big Blue” went through a spate of poor coaching selections after Coughlin’s departure (via Audacy).

New York Post

New York Jets

Adam Gase is arguably the worst Jets coach ever, never mind the weakest since 2000. He led the franchise for two seasons and ran them into the ground. Meanwhile, he destroyed Sam Darnold’s confidence after the Gang Green placed their faith in the young quarterback. The lesson is never to listen to Peyton Manning’s coaching advice (via SNY).

CBS Sports

Meanwhile, Rex Ryan exists on the other side of the coin. There’s no pretending that things didn’t sour for him in New Jersey. But he brought them to a couple of AFC Championship games. Sometimes he rubbed people up the wrong way but the fans appreciated him when he was doing well.

ABC 27

Philadelphia Eagles

The big question is if Doug Pederson’s Super Bowl win is enough to displace Andy Reid as the best Philly coach of the past 20 years. But this becomes less complicated when we remember that Nick Foles was the game’s MVP. With apologies to Reid, there’s no arguing with this fact (via NBC Sports).

S.F. Gate

It’s harsh to judge Pat Shurmur off one game as interim coach. This automatically leaves Chip Kelly as the Eagles’ worst coach in modern history. Kelly went 10-6 in his first two seasons and made the Wild Card game in Year One. But things fell apart for him in the City of Brotherly Love.

Bleacher Report

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have only had two coaches since 2000 and it’s very difficult to separate. First, there’s Bill Cowher who sat in the hot seat from 1992 to 2006. He won two Super Bowls and was also a two-time NFL Coach of the Year. Then there’s Mike Tomlin who had a remarkably similar record.


Tomlin’s Steelers made two Super Bowl appearances in his first four seasons. He also became the youngest coach in history to win a ring. The experienced coach never had a losing season but arguably held onto Ben Roethlisberger for too long. Nonetheless, these are two of the best in Pittsburgh history (via Bleacher Report).


San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan won’t like it but Jim Harbaugh was the best modern 49ers coach. It’s still wild that he quit the NFL to return to college football. But he revitalized the franchise after the disastrous Mike Singletary era. They won the NFC West twice and made it to the Super Bowl in 2012 (via Sports Illustrated).

Bleacher Report

We could choose Mike Singletary as their worst coach with all of the drama that he brought. But Dennis Erickson arguably has a darker legacy. He destroyed a decent roster and set in motion events that would hold the franchise for almost two decades. It took them a long time to recover from his ineptitude.


Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll is the greatest coach in Seahawks history and a future Hall of Famer. He guided the ‘Legion of Boom’ to their first Super Bowl victory and made them a contender for many years. If there’s one criticism it’s that they didn’t consolidate their success into a full-on dynasty. But Carroll proved his abilities over and over again as he evolved his tactics.

The same can’t be said about Jim Mora after he inherited the top job in 2008. In the end, his five-year contract wasn’t worth the paper that he signed. He survived until the end of his first season as Seattle went 5-11. Then Carroll entered the picture, and the rest is history (via Fox Sports).

Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s amazing how a coach’s fortunes can differ between franchises. Lovie Smith was generally decent in Chicago and maintains a lot of popularity there. However, things didn’t work out for him in Tampa Bay. He had two losing seasons and turned the locker room against himself (via Sporting News).


But there’s no question that Bruce Arians is their favorite coach in recent years. He helped to convince Tom Brady to come to Florida and guided the franchise to glory. They became the first team to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy at home after a season of major ups and downs in 2020.

The Tennessean

Tennessee Titans

The Titans almost hired Josh McDaniels instead of Mike Vrabel in 2018. In the end, they probably made the right choice because he created one of the NFL’s best offenses. The Titans may have underachieved by failing to play in a Super Bowl during his tenure. But there’s no denying that it’s fun to watch them.

Penn Live

Then it’s a straight shootout between Mike Munchak and Ken Whisenhunt for their worst. The latter probably takes this dubious prize because the franchise had a 2-14 record in his first season. Munchak’s era was wretched too because they went nowhere with him in charge (via Fansided).

The Spun

Washington Commanders

Dan Snyder took over the Commanders in 1999 and ran the franchise into the ground. It wasn’t until he brought back three-time Super Bowl winner, Joe Gibbs, in 2004 that they became respectable again. Gibbs returned the team to the playoffs but left because he was old and didn’t want the stress (via Washington Post).

Florida Times-Union

But it’s challenging to choose the worst coach of the modern era because there are several terrible options. Jim Zorn didn’t know what he was doing while the less said about Marty Schottenheimer’s tenure, the better. Steve Spurrier tried to turn the Florida Gators into an NFL franchise and that didn’t work out.