NFC East: Three Hall of Fame coaches?

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
4:37
PM ET
So, our man Herm Edwards has released his ranking of the NFL's head coaches Insider. He has them in tiers, with the coaches ranked by overall wins within each tier, and the first tier is "Hall of Fame Worthy" guys -- coaches who, in Herm's words, are "on the path to Canton when they retire." He has ranked six coaches in this tier, and three of them coach in the NFC East. They are Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, each of whom has won two Super Bowl titles, and Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles, who as we all know has yet to win one.

Now, Herm's a guy who's done this job and obviously has tremendous respect for the men who do it. He's also very enthusiastic and tends to think the best of people. I like that about him. Wish I had a little bit more of that, frankly. But there are only 21 coaches currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That works out to about 2.5 per decade, and so six Hall of Famers currently holding the jobs would put us in something of a golden era of coaching. Possible, but statistically improbable. Of Herm's six, the only one about whom I'd feel extremely confident as a Canton candidate is New England's Bill Belichick.

As for our three guys:
  • Coughlin has a good case, based on the two Super Bowls he's won with the Giants and the work he did building the franchise in Jacksonville prior to his time in New York. Assuming he keeps winning, adding to his 153-121 career record and maybe makes another Super Bowl run, I'd think he's going to get a long look from the voters when the time comes.
  • Shanahan has the two Super Bowls from his time in Denver, and there are some innovation elements on his resume with regard to zone-blocking, etc. But his coaching success is very much tied to John Elway, and I think he needs to accomplish something in Washington if he's to burnish his credentials to the point where he's a sure thing for Canton. Winning a Super Bowl with the Redskins would surely do it. Building a consistent contender and winning team would help even without the title.
  • As for Reid, you know I have nothing but respect for the job he's done with the Eagles and his abilities as a coach and a personnel man. I think his record holds up against that of anyone currently coaching. He's 136-90 and has nine playoff appearances in 14 years. In the salary cap era, what he's done in Philly is remarkable. However -- and Reid himself knows this -- he's not getting a sniff in that Hall of Fame voting room if he doesn't end up with a Super Bowl title on his resume. May not be fair, but that's the way these things work.

Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys, after a year and a half on the job, is in Herm's "Jury is still out" category, along with guys like Chan Gailey, Pete Carroll and Mike Munchak:
The big problem in Dallas in expectations. There are always expectations with that star on the side of the helmet. And Garrett didn't live up to them last season, missing the playoffs.

He'll realize that he needs to balance the offense, running the ball more, and coach the other side of the ball, as well. In only his second full season as a head coach, he'll protect the defense more this season.

So there you have it. Read through it all if you have Insider access. And if you don't... why not? Get it. There's lots of good stuff in there.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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