If the NFL turned into the UFC for a week and there needed to be a ranking of the current head coaches’ fighting ability, how would they rank? Well, I’m here to break down this extremely necessary and important subject.
1. Mike Vrabel — Tennessee Titans
Vrabel is a former linebacker who was listed at 6’4, 260 lbs. He still looks every bit of 260 and I would take him in a fight over most players, let alone the coaches. Scary looking dude.
2. Anthony Lynn — Los Angeles Chargers
At 6’3 230 lbs (listed weight), Lynn is built like a beast and his stare is as scary as anyone in football. He looks like the type of guy who you want in a war and he doesn’t look like a coach you want to cross. Vrabel gets the edge because of size, but this is close.
3. Ron Rivera — Carolina Panthers
Riverboat Ron is getting up there in age, but he’s still a beast and watching him yell at some poor ref the other week reminded me that he can still kick some ass. He might be 56, but he’s in better shape than most of the head coaches and probably has a few good plays still in him.
4. Todd Bowles — New York Jets
Bowles is a gentle giant whose calming voice and attitude would seem perfect for Bob Ross’ painting special. However, don’t be fooled, I’ve been lucky (or not lucky) enough to see this man snap and it’s scary. He isn’t in the top 3 because he’s too calm too often, but if he gets mad, it gets ugly.
5. Mike Tomlin — Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s a very intense man and possesses the look of death, but he doesn’t possess the size of the ones above him. He’s only about 5’9 and while you can’t judge the fight in the dog, you can sure measure his height and weight and let’s just say it isn’t anything inspiring (coming from someone who’s 5’9). He gets a lot of points for toughness but isn’t in the elite class due to his size.
6. Matt Patricia — Detroit Lions
Speaking of size.... Patricia might take the cake (literally). Patricia is a big boy and sure can do some damage, but the problem is, big boys like him don’t possess great stamina and athleticism, which could hinder him in a fight. I’ll have to watch his stride next time he’s chasing down a ref or a doughnut, but for now, he stays at 6.
7. Matt Nagy — Chicago Bears
Nagy is much bigger than most people think and has a quiet rage to him. I haven’t seen him snap yet, but he is in good shape and could hold his own. He’s a potential riser.
8. Vance Joseph — Denver Broncos
Joseph has the size and is the right age to be a good combatant. While he has his moments where he gets visibly upset, he doesn’t possesses the genuinty of the others and I think if push came to shove he won’t stand up to the bullies. His smile also screams weakness. Nevertheless, his size and youth should help him against most of the other coaches.
9. Doug Pederson — Philadelphia Eagles
Pederson is a big bodied coach and former player with the biggest balls in the NFL. That alone makes him a top 10 coach. What seperates him from the top 5 is he’s not in the same shape as some of the others and he doesn’t possess the same youthful energy that the others possess.
10. Sean McVay — Los Angeles Rams
Boy Genius has good muscle definition, is the youngest coach in the league, and is in the prime of his fighting age. He doesn’t have the rage of some guys in the top 10 and he isn’t a former player with great size, but he can definitely hold his own and that’s good enough for me.
11. Steve Wilks — Arizona Cardinals
Wilks looks the part of a tough guy, but he isn’t super vocal in games and doesn’t stand up to any of the refs. His players want out, which demonstrates a lack of control in the locker room. He’s one of those race horses that people pay a million bucks for and then end up shipping to the glue factory after a year. All for show, but I don’t think he has it in him. I could be wrong and his 11 ranking is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
12. Frank Reich — Indianapolis Colts
Frank, a former quarterback, possess great size and is still young enough to do some damage to most people. We know he has balls of steel, so he’s probably wiling to do whatever it takes to win a fight, which is a very important quality. There are still a lot of unknowns with big Frank and because of that he’ll rank outside the top 10, but he definitely qualifies as a potential riser for next year’s list.
13. Mike Zimmer — Minnesota Vikings
If we were to judge coaches purely based on their fight and their attitude, Zimmer would be number 1 and it wouldn’t be close. When he essentially challenged Lamarcus Joyner to a fight a few years ago because of a dirty hit on Teddy Bridgewater, it said everything you need to know about Zimmer. He’s tough, he’s old school and he’s ready to throw down whenever. Problem is, he’s in his 60s and he doesn’t have great size or strength. He won’t go down easy, but the younger, stronger guys are better choices.
14. Dan Quinn — Atlanta Falcons
Quinn is a tough looking guy. Anytime you have a guy who’s completely bald, he automatically looks a hell of a lot tougher. So while he might be more bark than bite (like McDermott), I think Quinn has some genuine rage to him and with his pretty good size, he could do some damage in a fight.
15. Marvin Lewis — Cincinnati Bengals
Marv is one of a kind. He runs a team with a bunch of hard-nosed, dirty, tough player so that demonstrates that he has some fire to him as well as some character and confidence. He has good size but is relatively old compared to the others, so that hinders his overall effectiveness as a fighter. Not the worst guy to have in your corner, but if there’s a big fight, he’ll probably find a way to screw up and choke.
16. Andy Reid — Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid is one massive human being. Every time he looks at his play call sheet, I feel like he’s just ordering a hamburger and making some specific specifications. I rarely see Andy Reid and he barely moves on the sideline, but his sheer size (and only his size) puts him in the top half of the NFL. You might be able to move around him and distract him, but if he lays a hand on you, it’s over.
17. Bill O’Brien — Houston Texans
Billy Butt Chin has a lot of fire to him, but he isn’t an imposing figure and he’s a bit long in the tooth. I wouldn’t be upset with him in my corner, but you can definitely do better.
18. Adam Gase — Miami Dolphins
Gase is still a relative unknown, but his youth and decent size should make him a decent matchup against most. He has his moments, but I’m not sure if he’s the type of guy who can throw a punch if it comes down to it. Because of his unknown status, I’ll rank him around the middle of the pack.
19. Doug Marrone — Jacksonville Jaguars
Same as Adam Gase, but add 10 years and a bit more size.
20. Mike McCarthy — Green Bay Packers
McCarthy has great size and has shown his angry side at times, but in general, he’s very mellow and way too conservative in games, which indicates a potential conservativeness in his fighting style. Both are big no-no’s in this fighting league and he’ll get points docked off for that.
21. Sean McDermott — Buffalo Bills
McDermott is a little pitbull. He isn’t a big guy, but he has the same angry/confused look on his face in every game and he roams the sideline like a pitbull. I give him major style points, but his size and gingerness indicates he might be more bark than bite.
22. Bill Belichick — New England Patriots
Bill is one of the older coaches in football, looks completely out of shape and doesn’t possess too much fire anymore, however, I’m almost 100% sure he’ll turn into Gandolf the Grey if he were to get into a fight. It’s purely speculation so I’ll keep him at a modest 22 right now.
23. Jay Gruden — Washington Redskins
Gruden was a tough one to rank and him at 23 might generate some major controversy. He has good size, but doesn’t look very athletic and I’m not sure if he’s someone who can throw down. A potential riser if he manages to keep his job after the season.
24. Pat Shumur — New York Giants
Shurmur isn’t a small guy, but by the way he calls the game you would think he’s a dwarf. His size will get him by in fights, but he shows no aggression on the sidelines and I literally saw him baby Odell Beckham countless times this season, so I don’t think he has a backbone. This could be a generous ranking, but either way, I don’t expect him to be on this list next year...
25. Hue Jackson — Cincinnati Bengals
Hue Hue Hue... what can you say about Hue? While he is one of the worst head coaches in NFL history, he possess good size and does have a bit of an angry side. I might be a bit generous with this ranking, but he gets the nod over some of the others because of his size.
26. Jon Gruden — Oakland Raiders
Chucky is still one fiery bastard, but several years in the booth has added a lot to his gut and he isn’t as young as he used to be. Raiders or early Bucs Gruden would easily be a top 12 fighter, but mid 50s Gruden is not in shape, doesn’t possess the fire he used to have and after dumping his entire team for draft picks, I don’t think anyone will rush to his aid. A potential riser if he gets back in shape.
27. Sean Payton — New Orleans Saints
Payton has an angry side, but he’s up there in age and is too lanky to be an upset contender. He’s also mellowed out over the past few years. However, he’s as aggressive as they come in terms of his coaching style, so he’ll get a few style points for that.
28. John Harbaugh — Baltimore Ravens
Harbaugh isn’t a big guy and might be the weakest coach on this list, however, he has a fiery side and is wiling to go toe-to-toe with anyone, including the #5 guy on this list. I like the fight in him, even if he doesn’t possess the size of strength of some people in the top 15. A good offseason workout routine could vault him into the top 15.
29. Dirk Koetter — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
You can tell a lot about a coach by the way he calls a 4th and 1 down by 3 in the 4th quarter in the opponent’s zone. Dirk Koetter is a scared man and I wouldn’t pick him to win many fights, let alone ones against former athletes and tough looking coaches. Koetter has decent size, but that’s about it.
30. Jason Garrett — Dallas Cowboys
The Clapper has cost me a couple of bets this season so I might be biased against him, but even with his playing experience in the NFL, he just isn’t an intimidating guy and his excessive clapping doesn’t help his image. He always seems happy too and to be a good fighter, you need to have an angry side, which he definitely doesn’t possess. Put him at the bottom of the barrel.
31. Kyle Shanahan — San Francisco 49ers
Shanahan has youth on his side, but he’s a lanky guy who wears clothes that a 13 year pubescent kid would wear. That demonstrates lack of self-esteem and I don’t think someone who dresses like that could seriously beat a grown man in a fight. Add the fact he doesn’t have much strength and you get a bad combo.
32. Pete Carroll — Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll is a gem, a beauty and in fantastic shape for someone in their 60s. However, he’s way too frail and too old to compete in a fight against anyone, let alone a head coach in the NFL. Mike Vrabel would turn him into a pretzel if they got into a fight. Pete is also a lover and not a fighter so I don’t think his angry side is very intimidating. Great guy, but not a great fighter.