Another week, another list to anger Eagles fans.
On Monday, CBS Sports ranked the Top 10 head coaches in the NFL. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson appeared on the list, at No. 9. Rams head coach Sean McVay appeared at No. 6.
Top 10 coaches in the NFL— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 29, 2020
(According to @seanjwagner)
1. Bill Belichick
2. Andy Reid
3. John Harbaugh
4. Sean Payton
5. Kyle Shanahan
6. Sean McVay
7. Mike Tomlin
8. Pete Carroll
9. Doug Pederson
10. Mike Zimmer pic.twitter.com/JVVuns5Oj8
The list received a ton of blowback from Eagles fans for putting McVay ahead of Pederson. Even Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills chimed in Tuesday:
Doug Pederson won a SB his 2nd year in the league with everybody saying he wasn’t going to be a good head coach and a injured roster...y’all trippin https://t.co/ev42GdeuSi— Jalen Mills (@greengoblin) June 30, 2020
The author eventually released a video explaining his thought process:
Ok, Eagles fans calm down. Here is your explanation why Sean McVay is a better coach than Doug Pederson according to @seanjwagner— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 29, 2020
Career records as head coaches:
• Pederson 38-26 .594 win%
• McVay 33-15 .688 win% https://t.co/qObPOGoMHu pic.twitter.com/QS9JuMZ8q1
Wagner-McGough's desire to have the debate be holistic, and not just a "Ringz!" shouting match, is admirable. But it's also misguided. At one point, he argued online that McVay's "body of work" is better than Pederson's, as if a random Week 7 game matters just as much as a playoff game when evaluating head coaching.
More often than not, great coaches win the big games, and good coaches reach them. Until recently, Andy Reid was the exception, not the rule, but now even Big Red has his trophy. And McVay isn't Reid.
Frankly, the debate over whether Pederson or McVay is a better coach isn't much of a debate.
Does McVay have a better winning percentage? Yep, absolutely. But that's where his advantages begin and end.
Pederson holds the head-to-head advantage against McVay. He also holds the Super Bowl advantage against McVay, and against basically the exact same opponent in back-to-back years.
More recently, the Rams showed major regression in 2019, not just in the win column, but all over their offense. Jared Goff often looked lost and had his worst season since his rookie year, despite retaining all of his major pass-catchers and playmakers from the past two seasons. Moving backwards is never a good sign.
The Eagles had a bumpy 2019 season, plauged with injuries across the board on offense, and yet Carson Wentz showed obvious growth, both on paper and from a leadership perspective. The team won high-pressure games down the stretch to reach the playoffs. Winning big games in the face of adversity, particularly with low-quality talent, is a hallmark of good coaching.
And this is all before factoring in Pederson needing to pilot through the end of 2017 and all of 2018 with a question mark at the quarterback position, the most important position in the game. He managed to coax Hall of Fame play out of Nick Foles, an average-at-best quarterback who wasn't even supposed to be playing. Adaptability and maximizing the hand you're dealt: another hallmark of good coaching.
I tried to see both sides of this debate, but I kept coming up short when it came to McVay. He's a fine coach, but Pederson has proven so far to be the more valuable head coach in basically every category.
We'll see what 2020 brings.
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