Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi.
Great quarterbacks make great coaches.
Or maybe it's the other way around.
Regardless, stroll through the busts in Canton and, with few exceptions, the
So with this recognition of top-10 coaching performances of the 2014 regular season is the acknowledgment that an outstanding quarterback can make the guy holding the laminated play card look like a genius.
That said, some of the following coaches found a way to win games despite a revolving door of quarterbacks, or with good quarterbacks who went through rough patches, or with extraordinary distractions that might have caused lesser teams to crack.
A countdown to the league's best coaching job this fall:
10. JOHN FOX, Denver:
9. CHUCK PAGANO, Indianapolis: Granted, having
8. BILL O'BRIEN, Houston:
7. JIM CALDWELL, Detroit: The
6. PETE CARROLL, Seattle: It's easy to overlook what
5. MIKE McCARTHY, Green Bay: Yes, he has
4. JOHN HARBAUGH, Baltimore: The Ray Rice situation overshadowed football, and for good reason, but the Ravens still had a schedule to play. They wound up making it to the playoffs for the sixth time in Harbaugh's seven seasons, even though their secondary was a disaster. They placed six defensive backs — five of them cornerbacks — on injured reserve, not a recipe for success in a pass-happy league. Harbaugh held the season together. He's 10-4 in playoff games, an identical postseason record as the legendary Bill Walsh.
3. BILL BELICHICK, New England: When the Patriots got off to a 2-2 start, capped by a 41-14 loss to Kansas City, it just proved what people all over the league had been saying — the New England dynasty was kaput, and so was
2. JASON GARRETT, Dallas: Great timing by
1. BRUCE ARIANS, Arizona: Arians has re-branded a franchise that once was the definition of doormat. His team tied a franchise record twith 11 wins, and was the No. 1 seed in the NFC for much of the fall. "Next man up" was the rallying cry for a team that was basically a MASH unit in shoulder pads, losing 21 players for a combined 109 games, and that includes cycling through quarterbacks