Ranking the New NFL Head Coach Hires

New York Giants Introduce New Head Coach Joe Judge
New York Giants Introduce New Head Coach Joe Judge / Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With the Cleveland Browns' hiring of head coach Kevin Stefanski, all coaching vacancies in the NFL have hereby been filled. Some of these make more sense than others.

5. Joe Judge - New York Giants
This is easily the biggest reach on this list. His previous NFL jobs were all special teams-related, all with the Patriots, making this a massive jump in responsibility. Perhaps it was the connection to the Bill Belichick coaching tree that lured the Giants to Judge, but considering how other Belichick disciples have turned out as head coaches (Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Josh MacDaniels), history is not on the Giants' side with this decision. Nor is common sense.

4. Mike McCarthy - Dallas Cowboys
Good news, Cowboys fans. Your coach, notorious for his ultra-conservative playcalling and misuse of prodigious talent, is no longer your coach! Yay! Who's his replacement? Why, another former head coach notorious for ultra-conservative playcalling and misuse of prodigious talent...oh...
Well, he did win a Super Bowl ring-- a decade ago, but still, it's something.

3. Kevin Stefanski - Cleveland Browns
The timing of the Browns' hiring Stefanski is suspect to say the least - less than 24 hours after his Vikings put up a mediocre showing against the 49ers. Granted, the 49ers were the top seed, but it is jarring to think that the Browns also could have had the man who coached that Niners defense, Robert Saleh. Still, there is hope. Stefanski and his assistants helped groom Kirk Cousins into a more polished quarterback, and Baker Mayfield could use that kind of support after suffering a sophomore slump.

2. Ron Rivera - Washington Redskins
You can't blame Dan Snyder for taking a chance and snagging Riverboat Ron the second he was available. He has a proven track record with the Panthers - four playoff appearances, three division titles, and a Super Bowl appearance. That said, the last two seasons - well, one-and-three-quarters, considering he was fired with four games to go this season - have been rough, and it remains on him to show the Redskins faithful that 2018 and 2019 were a fluke. He's already made his mark on the team in a way, by removing the ping-pong table from the locker room. It's a start, anyway...

1. Matt Rhule - Carolina Panthers
The situation the Carolina Panthers have tasked Matt Rhule with solving is practically a cakewalk compared to the hell on earth that awaited him in 2017, when he took over a Baylor program still scarred from a sexual assault scandal. In three seasons he took the Bears from 1-11 to 11-3 and within a hair's breadth of the College Football Playoff. The quarterback situation in Carolina is uncertain, but he'll have much longer than three years to turn this team around; the Panthers gave him a seven-year, $60 million deal to make his mark.