What factors lead to success as an NFL head coach? Is it something quantifiable such as success as a coordinator or previous experience coaching, or is it the intangible factors that only present themselves when the situation arises?
Bill Belichick was mediocre as the head coach in Cleveland from 1991-1995 going 36-44 and only finishing over .500 once. He now has three super bowl rings as the coach of the New England Patriots. John Harbaugh had no previous head coaching experience prior to accepting the post in Baltimore, and he has won a playoff game in each of his five seasons there, including last year’s Super Bowl.
The right answer lies somewhere in the middle. Differing factors lead to success as an NFL coach. Of the 14 coaches with winning percentages above .550 in the last 10 years, 10 were successful as an NFL coordinator (successful being defined here as top-10 at their position in the three years prior to getting a head coaching job), 11 had worked for successful head coaches at some point in their career, three had previous NFL head coaching experience, and two were successful college coaches.
According to that list, NFL coordinators who have worked under great coaches are the most likely to replicate their success as a head coach. With that in mind, here are the 10 most likely to succeed as NFL head coaches in the future: