May 302012

You can always tell when it is a slow news day in the NFL. Someone at Bleacher Report or ESPN or, in this case, The Sporting News comes out with a list.

And why not? Lists are great fun. They cause a stir, create debate and generally keep the football stew stirred until it is time to eat.

Today's list is brought to you by Clifton Brown, NFL scribe. As lists go, I have seen worse. I have seen better, too.

Brown ranks the current NFL coaches. Brown's criteria is almost arbitrary and completely autocratic. He pretty much admits it is a formula-free opinion:

These rankings consider what a coach has accomplished. But they also consider where each coach stands now — and who you would want on the sideline if you had to win one game. Read on, and let the debate begin.

Brown's top five coaches seems pretty solid. They are, from one to five, Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh. Four of the five have won Super Bowls. The fifth leads a pretty salty Baltimore team that fell one win short of a Super Bowl appearance last year.

The top five may be a Who's Who in today's coaching ranks, but the bottom five is more of a "Who's That?" From 28 to 32, the bottom feeders are  Greg Schiano,  Chuck Pagano, Joe Philbin, Dennis Allen and Joe Vitt. They have a combined record of 0–0, since they are each set to begin their first year as a head coach in the National Football League. How one ranks one of these dudes over the other is a mystery known only to Clifton.

Now to the important fact: Brown ranks your Cowboys head signal caller Jason Garrett 23rd overall. If you do what you should and throw out the bottom five guys that have no record to go on, this means that among coaches with an actual NFL record, Brown thinks there are only four worse than Garrett: Chan Gailey, Mike Mularkey, Pat Shurmur and Leslie Frazier.

Concerning Garrett's ranking, Brown writes, "Garrett must do better in close games, when his play-calling tends to become too conservative."

Okay. So, that makes the man with a 13–11 record in his first two years at the helm among the worst coaches in the NFL?

Pete Carroll with his sparkling 47–49 failed NFL bit is better? I assume Carroll's success at USC is unofficially taken into account. Better go ahead and take into account the cheating that went on under his watch while in the college ranks and look at the shambles in which he left that storied program.

Ron Rivera at 6–10 is better than Garrett because…? And Romeo Crennel at number 19 is better than Norv Turner?

It becomes increasingly difficult to take Mr. Brown seriously and difficult not to wonder what manner of spirits he consumed before he made his list. I mean, he did actually list two-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan at number 16, behind Gary Kubiak and Marvin Lewis.

Someone please introduce this fellow to the NFL. Buy him the NFL Ticket. Encourage him to learn the game—or at least watch a few.

All kidding aside, though, if Jason Garrett is only what the average fan seems to think he is, if he is no better than the the pundits-at-large believe him to be, Jerry Jones' commitment to Garrett's tenure with the Cowboys will set them back another decade.

I, for one, believe Garrett is better than advertised and will prove it.

Well, he has to prove it or it isn't so.

We will see—Clifton Brown, you and me.