Top 10 Mediocre Coaches Propped Up By Great Quarterbacks

When it comes to many statistics in football, and really any other sport, it’s hard to determine cause and effect. Does a team win because it ran a lot during a game or does a team run a lot because they are winning throughout? Arguments can be made on either side of these sorts of discussions with various stats, and those who want to root for one side over another can choose how they want to decipher the raw data.

A similar thing happens between players. Does one player make another look better? Or worse? It’s not always easy to determine. Last year Eric Decker looked great playing with Peyton Manning. What was to come of him with the New York Jets (incidentally he probably went from the best passing team to the worst, so it’s still hard to say)?

The same also applies to players and coaches. Does a coach improve a player or does the reverse happen? Perhaps it’s somewhere in the middle. Truly interesting debaters arise from these scenarios because, in part, the answers are indeterminable.  Maybe RGIII would be better off if he hadn’t gone through Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden? What about Jay Cutler and his cycle of offensive coordinators and head coaches?

With that in mind, and following the heels of an NFC Championship Game where a series of questionable calls were made (spoiler alert), we will examine those coaches in recent memory who may have been overrated because of the play of their quarterback and the team around them. They’re not necessarily terrible coaches, but certainly ones where we have to pause and look beyond their stats and victories. In some of these cases, we’ve had head coaches that are winning and have won in spite of their own actions and due to the sheer talent of the players they have on the field.

Thus, here are the top ten mediocre coaches that have been boasted by great quarterbacks.

10 Jim Caldwell

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

9 Sean Payton

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

8 Jason Garrett

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

7 Mike Shanahan

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

6 Andy Reid

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

5 Ken Whisenhunt

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

4 Norv Turner

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

3 John Fox

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2 Mike Smith

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1 Mike McCarthy

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Look no further than the NFC Championship game if you're studying how to spectacularly blow a game. It was typical McCarthy, playing it a little too safe on the road and not trusting his players. Twice he kicked a field goal on fourth and one against the Seahawks. His team wasn’t prepared for a fake field goal in the fourth quarter, and he couldn’t find a way to get a first down late in the fourth quarter with the league’s frontrunner for MVP at the helm. McCarthy has only been the head coach of the Packers, and in his nine years there, he's had two seasons of Brett Favre and seven of Aaron Rodgers, two Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks. He and Rodgers won a Super Bowl, but if you had to pick one, who deserves more credit? Why he didn’t put the ball in the hands of his star quarterback to win the game is astounding.

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Top 10 Mediocre Coaches Propped Up By Great Quarterbacks