Coach Rankings
EdjSports ranks the performance of all 32 NFL coaches

Coach Rankings: Week 12

2020 Coach Rankings
2020 Coach Rankings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Rankings Table

Andy Reid

Matt LaFleur

Frank Reich

Mike Tomlin

John Harbaugh

Kyle Shananan

Kevin Stefanski

Sean McDermott


Kliff Kingsbury

Ron Rivera


Mike McCarthy

Raheem Morris

Bruce Arians

Mike Zimmer


Mike Vrabel

Sean Payton


Jon Gruden

Brian Flores

Sean McVay

Adam Gase

Doug Pederson


Pete Carroll

Romeo Crennel

Anthony Lynn

Bill Belichick

Vic Fangio


Joe Judge


Zac Taylor


Matt Nagy


Matt Rhule

Doug Marrone


Matt Patricia


EdjSports is widely acclaimed for its in-game risk management analysis and proprietary Game-Winning Chance (GWC) metric used by NFL teams and media. GWC is a team’s win probability at any point in the game and is generated from the proprietary EdjFootball simulation model. EdjSports is creating the industry standard for head coach rankings by allocating its GWC to coaching decisions.

About the EdjFootball model

Built on 20+ years of historical NFL play-by-play and statistical data, the EdjFootball model is a fully customizable simulation engine. It accounts for each team’s strengths and weaknesses on offense, defense, and special teams. Model inputs include game state (score, timeouts, quarter, clock, down and distance, and field position), venue characteristics (indoor, outdoor, grass, turf, elevation), second half kickoff team, key injuries and Football Outsiders DVOA. Each week the model evaluates team performances and adjusts team strengths and weakness accordingly. As a result of these analyses, over the course of a season the EdjFootball model simulates over 3 billion games to conclusion.

About the EdjSports Coach Rankings

EdjSports analyzes every coaching decision during the course of a season. The EdjFootball model enables an in-depth examination of all critical calls (4th downs, PATs, and kickoffs), in terms of the amount of GWC at stake. The coach’s play-calling choices (run, pass, field goal, punt) are assessed at the point of decision (pre-snap) and rated with respect to their impact on winning the game. As a result of this process all play calling decisions can be objectively classified as either optimal decisions (correct calls) or suboptimal decisions (errors).

The EdjSports Coach Rankings are based on this methodology and consist of two main components that result in the overall ranking.

Edj Power Indexes (EPI) Ranking

This is a cumulative ranking of the Edj Power Indexes (EPIs) including Offensive Pass, Offensive Rush, Defensive Pass and Defensive Rush. This ranking is a reflection of how teams performed in every situation during the season.

Offensive Play Calling (CCI) Ranking

This ranking is based on an analysis of offensive play calling on 4th downs and compares teams in terms of GWC lost or gained, on a normalized basis so that all teams are given the same test. Additionally, the CCI rankings are adjusted to account for the frequency and situational nature of critical calls to allow for fair comparisons of all 32 teams.

EdjSports Coach Ranking

This ranking is a weighted average of the Edj Power Indexes (EPI) and Offensive Play Calling (CCI) Rankings that provides a more comprehensive assessment of coaching strengths and weaknesses.


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25 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2020, 12:17pm

#23 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 06, 2020 - 11:48pm

An update to this at the end of the regular season would be appreciated. 

Points: 0

#22 by Frank Frigo // Dec 06, 2020 - 9:55am

I would like to address some of the comments/concerns regarding our initial 2020 Coach Rankings and also explain the methodology a bit.

  • The coach rankings are an assessment of performance on critical  4th down decisions (CCI)  and  overall team strengths and execution (EPI)
  • We give considerable weight to 4th down decisions because they often impact outcomes  a great deal  and  the Edj simulation model is particularly well suited to measure their effect.
  • Having studied 4th down decisions for almost two decades, the average NFL team gives up approximately 3/4 of a game per season on suboptimal choices, and these are 100% attributable to the coaches.
  • 4th downs are complex, often counterintuitive and very dependent on the game state.  While a strategy of greater aggression is important, they must be viewed in their  proper context and that is often very difficult.
  • We do account for venue, game state (ball location, score, clock, timeouts) and comparative team strengths (EPIs based on DVOA and DAVE) in all of our custom simulations.
  • We also find that weaker teams may be less likely to face highly leveraged 4th downs (fewer close games) than very strong offenses and  this  is accounted for by netting the value of good choices against poor ones.
  • There is  far more to being a good coach than 4th down decisions of  course, and this is why we put so much weight on the EPI.  The quality of  the players and execution in key situations  is a reflection of the head coach and captured in DVOA and  subsequently our EPIs.  Surprisingly to some, New Orleans shows up in the middle of our rankings as a  very strong team that often makes poor decisions. An enigma in that they are on top of one column and the bottom of  the other.  The Jets on the other  hand are  deservedly 32nd in EPI but Adam Gase has been fairly  sound on 4th down  decisions compared to his peers.
  • Finally, this list focuses solely on YTD data and not the historical successes of coaches. Some change their behavior over time, and if  they  are making poor decisions per our criteria this season if affects their ranking.  These rankings will undoubtedly change between now and week 16 when we reveal our Coach  of the Year.

Points: 0

#25 by Noahrk // Dec 07, 2020 - 12:15pm

Thank you for your comment. The biggest weakness I see in the model is not being to account for when your team is laying an egg or, at the other extreme, owning a superior team. Maybe an adjustment for in-game DVOA could help? In other words, how in-game EPI affects CCI.

Points: 0

#10 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2020 - 9:14am

Without even examining the analytical framework here (my guess would be that it fails to adequately account for the nature of the matchups on the field in that particular game), I kind of dislike the fact that it promotes viewing coaches primarily through the prism of in-game decisions. It's the least important aspect of the job. 

Points: 0

#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2020 - 9:45am

The grand irony is that it loves Andy Reid, who is the elder statesman of Monday-Saturday coaches who struggle on game day.

Clearly this is a time-independent analysis.

Points: 0

#12 by ChrisLong // Dec 04, 2020 - 10:21am

I mean I feel like it views coaches half through the prism of in-game decisions, and half on the overall quality of the team.

Points: 0

#16 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 04, 2020 - 12:13pm

The model is based on the specific strengths and weakness of each team using the DAVE/weighted DVOA ratings as inputs. So at least that part, it should be adequately accounting for the matchups on the field.

Points: 0

#6 by murftastic // Dec 04, 2020 - 1:17am

So basically if I write the words "never punt" on a piece of paper, that piece of paper would immediately become a HoF-level coach.

Points: 0

#8 by Raiderjoe // Dec 04, 2020 - 4:22am

Based o n natbematjcal formulas and othdr equations og football things mixed in metaphorical boiling cauldron in m y basement,  piece of paper with Never Punt listed on it would havs led Loins to more wins than M. Patricia djd and Jets would not be 0-11. 



Points: 0

#9 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2020 - 8:43am

You could write "asjfhdhhdhdhehjxe7u487cnd8740of87b4e7ege" on a piece of paper and it would have made better decisions than Patricia.

Points: 0

#4 by KaosTheory // Dec 03, 2020 - 6:38pm

Doug Marrone should have gone for it on 4&8 in a tie game from his own 25?

Andy Reid should have gone for it from his own 23 early in the third in a tie game?

I think I get the reasoning, but I fail to see how these are wrong decisions even if the numbers disagree.



Points: 0

#2 by tightspirals // Dec 03, 2020 - 4:54pm

Unclear how Sean Payton could be ranked No. 1 in one measure, but dead last (No. 32) in the other metric.  Seems flawed.

Points: 0

#3 by ahzroc // Dec 03, 2020 - 5:16pm

because Payton is #1 in the EPI ranking, for all calls and decisions, but if you ONLY take 4th down, he's last?

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#7 by BobbyDazzler // Dec 04, 2020 - 2:13am

Yeah, not sure I agree that 4th down calls carry the same weight as ALL other calls in order to get some kind of average rating.

Points: 0

#21 by ChrisS // Dec 04, 2020 - 5:32pm

"This ranking is a weighted average of the Edj Power Indexes (EPI) and Offensive Play Calling (CCI)" edit: Though looking at the sum of the two measures it looks like the weights are close to 50% each

Points: 0

#5 by DisplacedSaintsFan // Dec 03, 2020 - 6:44pm

Surprising that kicking a field goal in OT on 4th and 6 is -12%.

Points: 0

#18 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 04, 2020 - 12:16pm

EPI is based on how well the team has played overall this season. The Saints are No. 1 in DVOA, thus they are No. 1 in the EPI.

Payton's performance in CCI is shocking. He's historically one of the most aggressive coaches in the league on fourth down. For some reason he's been very conservative in 2020.

Points: 0

#20 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2020 - 1:20pm

Goliath strategy? He does have the best team.

Points: 0

#1 by burbman // Dec 03, 2020 - 4:52pm

Not passing the eyeball test.  Any metric that puts Adam Gase ahead of most anybody, but specifically BB and PC who have coached consistently winning teams over the long term needs some greater explanation, 

Points: 0

#13 by Noahrk // Dec 04, 2020 - 11:51am

EPI doesn't sound that bad and it does have Gase at 32. CCI is pretty sound as well, for what it measures (in-game decision-making). My issue is with how the two are meshed together.

Points: 0

#15 by Noahrk // Dec 04, 2020 - 12:01pm

After reading some of the comments below, I changed my mind. In principle, maybe EPI and CCI could have equal weight: Imagine a coach that nearly always makes the optimal decision. That would be worth gold. The problem is that CCI is deeply flawed in that it's only a general guidance that cannot consider the specifics of each particular game situation: weather, opponent, relative strenghts and weaknesses, etc.

Points: 0

#17 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 04, 2020 - 12:15pm

CCI does take into account the strengths and weaknesses of each team and its opponent, for example that Green Bay has a very good offense and Jacksonville a very bad one, etc.

Points: 0

#19 by burbman // Dec 04, 2020 - 12:58pm

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

There is more to a coach than just in game decision making. I see what the rankings are trying to show, but a head coach is primarily a manager of personalities.  A great coach can take a bunch of pretty good players and make them a competitive team, a bad coach can take a bunch of superstars and lose a lot of games.  Judging them on just 4th down decisions, or team DVOA without regard for the talent available at the time, seems to be a gross oversimplification of the job.

Also, since coaching skills are usually not as fleeting as athletic ability, coaches should be evaluated over a longer period to account for varying talent levels on the team over time.  

Points: 0

#24 by Noahrk // Dec 07, 2020 - 12:10pm

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

That's good to know. Still, regardless of the season-long strengths and weaknesses, on any given day things may turn out quite different. The Seahawks inabilty to move the ball yesterday against the Giants is an example. Do you trust your season-long performance when making decisions or your game-day performance so far? I'm inclined more towards the former.

Points: 0

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