It seems like just last week Green Bay and Chicago were kicking off the NFL’s 100th season on Thursday night. Alas, the 2019 NFL season has seen 16 weeks come and go, and with that comes the final 2019 EdjSports NFL Head Coach Rankings (not every team plays a meaningful game in Week 17, so our final rankings are only through 15 team games to judge every coach equally).

It’s no secret the ultimate goal of every NFL coach is to win the Super Bowl. Each coach strives to put his team in the best position to win games, one at a time. Some coaches are better than others, but one coach is light years ahead of the rest.

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

John Harbaugh takes the top spot for 2019 in a wire-to-wire victory. He sat atop our list with our initial Coach Rankings release in Week 11, and kept the seat warm all the way through Week 16, where he is 1st in Critical Call Index (CCI) and Edj Power Index (EPI).

What Harbaugh has been able to do this season is remarkable. Aside from Baltimore’s dominant performance as the league’s best team, he’s put his team in the best position to win more often than any other coach. Here are some numbers to show just how good he’s been:

  • He’s one of only five coaches with an expected GWC loss over 100% (-117.1%, most in league). That means we’d expect him to have given up over one full game’s worth of win probability on decision-making errors alone.
    • Of these five coaches, he’s the only one to have given up less than two-thirds of a game’s worth of GWC. Harbaugh’s given up less than half a game’s worth of GWC.
  • Harbaugh is one of only ten coaches in the entire league who’s given up less than 50% GWC.
  • John Harbaugh has given up only 41.2% of his expected GWC loss, best in the league.
    • One of only four coaches who’ve given up less than 57% of expectation.

This last number is the most impressive. Because the Ravens have such a strong offense (#1 overall in the Edj Power Index (EPI)), Harbaugh is at greater risk of making errors (and more of them) because he should be going for it more often and typically finds himself in more high-leverage situations. Harbaugh recognizes these 4th down opportunities, often before Baltimore even gets to 4th down. He understands the probabilities behind the decisions and takes advantage, resulting in the lowest actual loss-expected loss ratio in the NFL.

The next two coaches on our list are also among the top ten in terms of lowest percentage of expected GWC given up this season.

Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

Coming it at 2nd for the 2019 season is Andy Reid. He’s slowly crept up this list and made his debut in the top three last week at 3rd. In our final rankings, he moves up one spot in both CCI and EPI. He was 11th in CCI just two weeks ago and is now 4th.

Here are the numbers on Reid this season:

  • Along with Harbaugh, he’s one of five coaches with an expected GWC loss over 100% (-107.5%, 3rd most).
    • Reid has given up 67.7% GWC this season, 2nd fewest among these five coaches.
  • He’s given up only 63% of his expected GWC loss, 9th best in the league.

While the Chiefs struggled at times this season, and Mahomes missed multiple games (which we’ve accounted for in these rankings), Reid has done a great job of limiting mistakes over the course of the season.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

After sitting at 3rd from weeks 11 through 14, Bill Belichick fell down to 5th last week. As it turns out, it was only a one-week hiatus as Belichick is back, finishing the season at 3rd overall. He moves up to 7th in CCI and 2nd in EPI.

Belichick has been in the top 10 in CCI every week except for Week 15, where he was just one spot outside at 11th. He’s had two games where he’s given up over 10% GWC (Week 4 vs. Buffalo, Week 9 vs. Baltimore), but aside from these, Belichick has done a pretty good job of limiting his mistakes or making small errors.

  • New England’s expected GWC loss this season is only 84.5%, 12th most in the league.
    • This isn’t as high as the other two coaches in the top three, partly due to the Patriots offense not being as strong as the Ravens or Chiefs.
  • Belichick has only given up 63.9% of his expected loss, 10th best in the league.

His defense has helped to keep New England among the top 3 in the league in EPI, which combined with Belichick’s top 10 CCI rank keeps him near the top of our Coach Rankings.

This wraps up our NFL Head Coach Rankings for 2019.

Don’t forget to follow us at EdjSports and Football Outsiders.

Happy New Year!

About the EdjSports Coach Rankings

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 three main components:

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, 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.

Questions or comments about our ranking system? Email us at [email protected]

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