Here are the thirteen head coaches we have had: Hank Stram, Paul Wiggin, Tom Bettis, Marv Levy, John Mackovic, Frank Gansz, Marty Schottenheimer, Gunther Cunningham, Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, Romeo Crennel, and Andy Reid. Everyone knows that I want to rank them as that is my passion – to list and rank everything in the world. Here is my quick take so I can get to the point of this article, Arrowhead Guys.
#13 – Tom Bettis
An interim coach with one win.
#12 – Frank Gansz
Those seasons were hard to watch.
#11 – Romeo Crennel
Who was the emergency quarterback?
#10 – Todd Haley
Did not have the personality of a head coach.
#9 – Paul Wiggin
The legends retired and we had no replacements.
#8 – Marv Levy
Wing T offense – enough said there.
#7 – John Mackovic
A glimmer of hope that faded quick.
#6 – Herm Edwards
He drove Larry Johnson into the ground.
#5 – Gunther Cunningham
We were at least average with the old Marty players.
#4 – Dick Vermeil
Fun to watch offense with Greg Robinson defense.
1. . .
My God! With NFL Sunday being tomorrow(!), that brings us to the “Holy Trinity” of Chiefs coaches – Hank Stram, Marty Schottenheimer, and Andy Reid. Here is an analysis that will hopefully answer the question.
Who is the best head coach in Chiefs history?
Before I begin, my contention is that we all have a bias leaning towards recent success as well as one related to when we became a Chiefs fan. We want to shout Reid as these last several years have been memorable and the old-timers want to shout Stram as they lived [CBO note: While QB’s threw] thru those glorious years, while many got hooked on the Chiefs during the Marty era. Let us try and start with a blank slate.
Total Victories vs Games Coached
Hank Stram has 124 victories in 210 games, Marty Schottenheimer has 101 victories in 160 games, and Andy Reid has 91 victories in 128 games. Total victories have them ranked as Hank, Marty, and Andy, but winning percentage reverses that to Andy, Marty, and Hank.
Hank and Andy are both 1-1 in Chiefs Super Bowls, and we know that Marty never reached one. Hank won three AFL championships, but Andy has five more playoff appearances and two more playoff wins than he does. Marty has more playoff appearances than Hank as well. It should be noted that it was harder to reach the playoffs back in the Stram era.
Andy Reid has won ten or more games in seven of the eight seasons he has been here. Marty had ten or more wins in six of his ten seasons, and Stram, handicapped by fewer games played, topped the ten-win mark in five of his fifteen seasons. Stram has three losing seasons, Marty had one is his last year – the year of the Monday Night meltdown, and Reid has had none. Andy has never finished lower than second place in the division, Marty had one season lower than second, and Stram had three. Andy has five first-place finishes, Hank has four, and Marty had three.
The Raiders and the John Elway Factor
To begin with, our archenemy – the Raiders – suck and will always suck. Stram was 14-16-2 versus the Raiders. Marty was 18-3 versus them, and Andy has had success as well with a 13-3 record. Marty was 8-13 against Elway – Stram dominated very bad Broncos teams, and Andy has not lost to the Broncos since Peyton Manning left.
The Quarterback Controversy and Talent on the Roster
Stram had Len Dawson and a fill-in Mike Livingston, and Andy had Smith and Mahomes. There are the top three quarterbacks in our history. Marty had Steve DeBerg, Dave Krieg, 102 year old Joe Montana, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, and Rich Gannon for part of a season. Schottenheimer deserves kudos for winning consistently with that crew. Stram had numerous Hall of Famers, Marty had DT and Tony, and Andy has Kelce and Hill. Andy has pulled miracles with bad offensive lines whereas Marty had crap for receivers. All of Stram’s HOFers got old and retired on him.
Andy was very successful in Philadelphia with Donovan McNabb – a good but not great quarterback – and Marty was successful in Cleveland and San Diego and was the best Washington coach during their dark time with Daniel Snyder. Stram had two really bad seasons with the Saints but so did many coaches, so we cannot really hold that against him.
The Main Criticisms
Hank Stram had the best overall roster but did his teams underperform based on their talent level? Did Stram add anything that pushed the talent to greater heights? Would Marty or Andy have found equal success with that team?
Marty had no clue about running an offense or finding and developing a quarterback. That seems to be a fair criticism, but I will point out that he wanted to keep Drew Brees rather than drafting Phillip Rivers. Were Marty’s old school ways limiting the Chiefs as the NFL was slowly transforming into a passing league? Was Marty too predictable?
Andy Reid did not find the ultimate success until he had Patrick Mahomes. EAFOX could win a butt load of games with Patrick Mahomes as quarterback. Does Andy spend more time developing cute plays rather than addressing our weaknesses – such as the past seasons of watching horrid third and one running plays? Does Andy have too much loyalty to his coaches – e.g. Bob Sutton?
The Main Arguments
Hank Stram has the titles to back up those who favor him. He performed well against the equally talented archenemy – The Raiders. He did what coaches were supposed to do back in the day – he let his talent play the game. The only thing that did him in was the talent growing old.
Marty could take any team and make them a contender. He could coach EAFOX and the AG cast to 9-7 and make the playoffs. Marty never had the best team or best quarterback, and we saw a glimpse of what might have been when we had 142-year-old Joe Montana – a concussion away from the Super Bowl. Marty dominated the Raiders and had a respectable record against Elway.
Andy is an offensive genius and a quarterback guru. He could have taken Marty’s quarterbacks and made each of them into a viable starter. Andy stays ahead of the game and is an innovator and is a true leader of men. He continues to develop assistant coaches who will be hired at some point to lead another team. He has dominated the entire division.
Number Three – Hank Stram
The main reason is that he had the best overall talent but the worst winning percentage of the three. One could offer a defense for this – fewer teams breeds familiarity, for example – but the bottom line for me is performance. Can anyone point out one specific play that came straight from his coaching? I know what your answer will be, but what happens when that play is stifled? One could make the argument that he is revered because he rode the coattails of his talented players.
Number Two – Marty Schottenheimer
This hurts because I love Marty and only recently dropped him to number two on the list. He did more with less than any coach in NFL history. His quarterbacks – other than the 172-year-old Joe Montana – were average at best. The lack of a Super Bowl appearance or win – George Seifert and Barry Switzer have that but are not better than Marty – should not be a knock on his legacy. Marty should have four Super Bowl appearances but John Elway, a concussion, and a stupid ass play kept him from that goal.
Number One – Andy Reid
Andy won consistently with Donovan and Alex – good but not great – and has dominated with an All-Time great in Mahomes. He had the balls to call the Henne-to-Hill play on fourth and one. Andy continues to grow and become more innovative as a coach and let performance outweigh loyalty when he showed the door to Bob Sutton. Andy turns players into coaches, which is something that Marty never achieved. Marty is the greatest old school coach, but Andy is the greatest new school coach. Playoff success gives new school the advantage over the old school.
NOTE: BB is a defensive innovator and genius but has been lucky to have Tom Brady to carry his offense over the years. In my mind, Andy > BB.
Well, I hope to hear from you all and see how you would rank the top three. I would say be the first to drop a line in the comment section but I am sure that Mecole Hardman has already done so.