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

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.