If there was any question before Super Bowl LIV as to whether Andy Reid was heading to induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Kansas City Chiefs answered on behalf of their coach by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami.
Reid is a 200-game winner with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles and now owns a winning record in the playoffs while coaching in more NFL postseason games than anyone except Bill Belichick, Tom Landry, and Don Shula.
Belichick is the other obvious choice among current coaches to be enshrined in Canton following his retirement. It figures to be a very long time before he ceases to be the only coach in league history with six Super Bowl championships to his name, and Belichick is already over 300 career wins.
Beyond that pair, however, Pete Carroll may be the only other current coach who has done enough to assure induction. If he goes in, then Carroll might just bring a couple of other guys in right behind.
The case for Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to join Belichick, Reid
Pete Carroll is 133-90-1 in the regular season and 11-9 in the playoffs while coaching the New York Jets, New England Patriots and now the Seattle Seahawks. That in itself is not overly impressive, but Carroll has two factors in his favor even if only one should count.
First, Carroll coached the Seahawks to a league championship victory following the 2013 season. Owning one of just 54 Super Bowl titles is one of those lines that enhances the resume and moves him that much closer to enshrinement.
Second, he fixed the mess that John Robinson and Paul Hackett had made of the USC program in the five seasons before Carroll arrived. Carroll went 97-19 with the Trojans from 2001-09, though 13 of those victories were stripped afterward by the NCAA.
College accomplishments aren’t supposed to matter when the voting being conducted is for entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but his work restoring USC to prominence may stick in the mind of voters anyway. Will the NCAA sanctions also be remembered?
If Carroll makes it, doesn’t Mike Tomlin also get in?
Line Mike Tomlin up against Pete Carroll and there isn’t much to distinguish between the two. Tomlin is 133-74-1 in 13 regular seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers to go with an 8-7 mark in the playoffs and a Super Bowl victory.
Where Carroll may have the advantage aside from the college coaching factor is that he is better positioned for several big-win seasons with quarterback Russell Wilson, who’ll be 31 years old at the start of next season.
The Steelers are heading for a transition soon. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a season-ending injury and will be 38 next fall. Between now and Big Ben’s retirement, the Steelers figure to still have the talent to win enough games to take them out of the running for high draft picks that cwould help orollate to landing that next franchise quarterback without trading up.
A betting man would be inclined to think Carroll reaches 150 wins before Tomlin does and perhaps rides Wilson to a total of 175 or more. On the other hand, Tomlin will be only 48 years old next season and works for one of the most stable organizations in all of sports. He could race well past 200 wins by the time he leaves.
In the case of either coach, however, one more Super Bowl victory makes all the above conjecture moot.
Sean Payton has to be in the conversation as well
Sean Payton’s numbers, 131-77 in the regular season and 8-7 in the playoffs, are in the same territory as Carroll and Tomlin. And, yes, he has the all-important Super Bowl victory.
He also has the distinction of being suspended for the 2012 season in the fallout from the Saints’ locker room bounty scandal. That’s not in Pete Rose territory for obstacles to overcome for induction, but voters looking for an excuse to slight Payton will have one.
Payton also faces Tomlin’s quarterback problem, only his issue may start sooner. He had both Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater available at quarterback last season. Will he have either at his disposal in 2020?