We’ve seen a ton of rankings of NFL head coaches over the years, and Chuck Pagano normally doesn’t come out too well in them. He’s not the best coach in the NFL and many people attribute his success to Andrew Luck, so Pagano normally isn’t ranked too highly among NFL head coaches.
But what about his place among NFL head coaches as a player? That’s a ranking we haven’t seen before until today, when ESPN’s Kevin Seifert put it together based on how every coach fared as a player. The overarching theme we learned? That these guys should probably stick to coaching.
It’s important to note that this ranking doesn’t have anything to do with how good a coach is today, as the Patriots’ Bill Belichick was ranked 29th on this list as a player whereas he’s the runaway choice for number one as a coach (on a side note, this will probably be the only list ranking coaches in which Chuck Pagano is above Bill Belichick, so enjoy it while it lasts Colts fans).
Chuck Pagano came in at number 19 on the ranking, as he played Division I football at Wyoming as a safety. Here’s what Seifert wrote:
Pagano was a two-year starter at Wyoming and played a total of 33 games between 1980-82. Statistics from the time credit him with no interceptions, but he did have nine pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Something you might not know: Pagano played his home games 7,220 feet above sea level at Wyoming; War Memorial Stadium is the highest-standing Division I stadium in the country. That experience might or might not have helped the Colts to one of their biggest victories in Pagano's coaching tenure, a playoff victory in Denver, where Sports Authority Field sits a mere 5,280 feet above sea level.
Again, while it probably doesn’t have much impact at all on how the Colts do, it’s still interesting to read about Chuck Pagano’s career as a player. He was a defensive back, which helps explain why he has spent a long time in the coaching ranks working with players at the position.
So how does this ranking compare to the much more meaningful rankings of Pagano as a head coach? In short, it’s about the same. For example, Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty ranked Pagano 21st this offseason and the USA Today’s Steven Ruiz ranked Pagano 20th.