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Friday, June 3, 2011
Fired-up Friday: Rank the NFC East coaches

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Awwwww yeah. It's Friday, people! And that means it's time to argue.

Two weeks ago, we got all lathered up about Eli Manning vs. Tony Romo. Last week we ranked the division's wide receiver corps against each other. Each time, the result was a wave of commentary and a good, fun Friday debate in which no one said anything mean or nasty and we all learned a little by being open-minded to each other's points of view.

Or something like that.

Anyway, we're doing it again, and this time we're ranking the coaches. Simple, right? How do you rank the four head coaches in the NFC East? Here's my list:

1. Andy Reid

2. Tom Coughlin

3. Mike Shanahan

4. Jason Garrett

First, let's get Garrett out of the way. For all we know right now, he could turn out to be the best coach of this bunch. But as of today he can't be in the discussion with these guys. He's got eight games' worth of track record. The other three have a combined 44 years.

So how do we sift through those 44 years and rank the other three? Well, it obviously wasn't just based on Super Bowl titles, or else the order (as I'm certain some of you are planning to point out) would have been reversed. Shanahan has the two from Denver, Coughlin has the one from three years ago and Reid is tied with you and me in this category, which is the main thing the city of Philadelphia seems to hold against him.

But for me, there's just no way to argue with Reid's consistent level of success. In 12 years as the Eagles' head coach, he's had nine winning seasons, eight double-digit-win seasons, seven first-place finishes, 10 playoff wins and a conference title. His teams contend or win every single year. He's retooled his offensive skill positions on the fly over the past three years without a hiccup. He's not afraid to make a decision no one else likes if he believes it to be the right one for the team. He has guts, conviction and my vote for the top spot.

The second spot was actually tougher for me. Coughlin has eight winning seasons, six first-place finishes and eight playoff wins (including that one really big one) over 15 years as a head coach. He won 49 regular-season games and four playoff games in the first five years of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, then came to the Giants and built a Super Bowl winning team. Shanahan has nine winning seasons, four first-place finishes and eight playoff wins (including two really big ones) in 17 years as a head coach. In the end, I think I went with Coughlin because I think he eschews nonsense where Shanahan seems to court it and because he's had success in two different places. But it was close for me. Heck, it was close three ways. But if I were picking a coach for my team right now out of this group, I believe I'd pick Big Red.

But enough about me. What do you guys think? Remember ... play nice!!!!