Sometimes, you guys make it easy for me. Wasting time on Twitter the other day, I put up a poll asking voters to pick the best coaching hire of the past five years. I listed four options and could have easily put a couple more into the conversation. The results were the internet equivalent of a four-way tie, with each option receiving between 22% and 27% of the vote.
With the league about to employ a handful of new coaches and many of the league's best hires from the past few years competing for a Super Bowl, I thought now would be a good time to weigh in with my own thoughts on the matter. There are potentially six coaches who would be plausible picks at No. 1, and that could change if one of them wins Super Bowl LVI next month.
To narrow down the list, I went with two rules, which conveniently left us with 10 coaches. One was that we're exclusively looking at coaches who were hired over the past five years, so coaches who got their jobs heading into the 2017 season. That distinction causes Doug Pederson to miss out, because the Eagles hired him before the 2016 campaign. His tenure in Philadelphia didn't end well, but it's tough to argue with a coach who took over a 7-9 team and won a Super Bowl two years later.
The other rule is that the coaches needed to have won at least one playoff game with their new teams to make it into the rankings, which leaves out a bunch of possible candidates. Kliff Kingsbury lost his chance when his Cardinals were blown out by the Rams. Mike McCarthy (Cowboys) isn't in the mix, and neither are Brandon Staley (Chargers), Nick Sirianni (Eagles) or Ron Rivera (Washington), each of whom have done solid work early in their tenures. I might put some of those guys ahead of some of the options at the bottom of our top 10 in a vacuum, but I think it's fair to set that distinction. Frankly, there's a pretty large gap between the top six candidates and everyone else.
I'll start with the 10th-ranked coach and work my way up to my pick as the best hire of the past five seasons: