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Chuck Pagano ranked as 20th-best head coach in NFL

Indianapolis Colts v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts decided to keep head coach Chuck Pagano this offseason (to the surprise of pretty much everyone), but that doesn't mean the opinion of the coach has changed much.

The reputation for Pagano has long been that he has been an average to below average coach carried by Andrew Luck. That's exactly what Steven Ruiz of USA Today's "For the Win" thinks, as in his ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches he has Pagano 20th.

Judging by the players’ reaction to owner Jim Irsay announcing Pagano’s surprising contract extension, the team clearly likes playing for him. His defenses, though, have been underwhelming, ranking outside the top-20 every season except for 2014. It’s fair to wonder how much of Pagano’s impressive win-loss record (41-23) is based on the brilliance of Andrew Luck.

This is almost identical to where Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty had Pagano ranked earlier this offseason, as Daugherty had Pagano 21st in his ranking (though it should be noted that unlike Ruiz, Daugherty didn't factor in the new hires in his rankings but rather grouped them together in a separate category).

The arguments for and against Pagano are old discussions at this point. On the positive side, Pagano is 41-23 (.641) in his four years with the Colts with three playoff appearances, two division titles, and a 3-3 playoff record. On the negative side, the Colts haven't been that great of a team overall during Pagano's tenure and his coaching has been suspect at times, while Ruiz also notes that Pagano's defense hasn't really been great either.

Overall, I think this ranking for Pagano is a fair one, as I think he's right around average in the NFL and at times below average. What I did find interesting, however, is looking at Pagano's playoff success when compared to other coaches. Every coach below Pagano has either a worse or equal postseason winning percentage, while only one has more playoff Wins (Jeff Fisher is 5-6 in the playoffs; Pagano is 3-3). Perhaps particularly interesting, however, is that of the 19 coaches ahead of Pagano, eight of them have fewer playoff wins than Pagano while another (Ron Rivera) has an identical record. Ahead of Pagano are guys like Jay Gruden (17th), Hue Jackson (18th), and Marvin Lewis (19th), who have never won a playoff game combined, while Mike Zimmer came in at number four overall (he hasn't won a playoff game either). None of this is to say that the rankings should be solely based on playoff record (and I already said I think the ranking is pretty fair), but it's very interesting to see the coaches who were included ahead of Pagano.

What are your thoughts on these coach rankings?