Power Rankings: Belichick top coach

April, 5, 2011
4/05/11
2:15
PM ET
NFL Power Rankings: CoachesESPN.com Illustration

ESPN's NFL coaches Power Rankings are out, and guess who was voted unanimously No. 1?

Yes, Bill Belichick won the votes of the eight panelists, with little room for argument.

Here's part of Tim Graham's AFC East Blog report:
Bill Belichick is the great unifier.

For the first time in ESPN.com's individual Power Rankings series, the eight panelists reached unanimity. Each of us voted Belichick the NFL's best head coach, and there's little room for argument.

As someone who has scrolled through their comments for the past three years, I can hear the Spygate whiners already.

But Belichick hasn't won anything since the New England Patriots were caught videotaping defensive hand signals ...

That's true, I suppose, if you don't consider 51 victories, a .797 win percentage, three division titles and a trip to the Super Bowl not winning anything. I'm pretty sure fans of any team other than the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants gladly would trade their past four years for the Patriots' so-called embarrassments.

And I'm guessing fans would find ways to justify those three Lombardi Trophies if their teams were in the Patriots' situation.

Belichick wasn't the only coach voted on with conviction. Head coaches are the fifth installment of our Power Rankings series, and the 13 combined nominees from our ballots were the lowest number of nominees so far. Our panel nominated 17 tight ends, 17 pass-rushers, 16 wide receivers and 15 running backs.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was second in the Power Rankings, and the lowest he rated was sixth on NFC West blogger Mike Sando's ballot. The minus-4 differential from Sando -- not a substantial disparity at all -- was the largest negative margin relative to final placement in the entire process.

Sando explained his deviance from the pack.

"I favored coaches that walked into tough situations, won relatively quickly and then sustained the improvement over more than one season," Sando said in a statement issued through an NFC West blog spokesman. "Tomlin took over a healthy operation and kept it going. He deserves credit for that -- I ranked him sixth -- but not as much credit as if he had produced similar results after taking over a struggling franchise.

"We should view the success Bill Cowher enjoyed in a similar context. Both worked for an outstanding organization."

To be honest, I actually considered putting Cowher on my ballot just for the heck of it. But I opted against getting cute.

To take a closer look at the voting and read the entire story, click HERE.

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