August 11, 2023 12:00pm

The NFL Preseason and Coaches

Bill Belichick was one of 10 head coaches selected to the NFL’s 100th anniversary team – the only active head coach named to that centennial team.

Photo of Rick Gosselin
NFL Correspondent

Bill Belichick was one of 10 head coaches selected to the NFL’s 100th anniversary team – the only active head coach named to that centennial team.

But is he the best coach in today’s NFL?

In this week’s NFL Power Poll, we put that question to our panel of former players, coaches, officials, talent evaluators, writers and broadcasters. We asked them if you owned an NFL team that was a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2023, who would you want coaching it? We offered up eight options, including seven Super Bowl-winning coaches.

Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs ran away with it, receiving 103 of the 184 votes cast. Belichick was next with 38 votes, followed by Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers with 27. The other five options all received single-digit support, in order of finish: Mike Vrabel (Tennessee), Sean Payton (Denver), John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Pete Carroll (Seattle) and Mike McCarthy (Dallas).

Reid ranks fifth in NFL history in coaching victories with 247. His Chiefs have won two of the last four Super Bowls and he also took the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl at his first coaching stop.

“Andy Reid gets my nod because in today's NFL, the best path to winning on a consistent basis is having an offense that scores points,” said Gene Frenette, a columnist with the Florida Times Union. “Yes, Belichick did that with Brady, but the Chiefs keep losing weapons and it doesn't seem to matter as long as Patrick Mahomes is the gunslinger he is. Reid has averaged 12.7 wins during his 10 years in KC. That's slightly better than any Belichick decade during any point in his marvelous career in New England.”

Added former NFL scout Mike Hagen: “It’s about scoring points and Andy Reid is the best and most innovative right now.”

Belichick ranks third all-time in coaching victories with 298. His Patriots have won six Super Bowls, all with Tom Brady at quarterback

“Belichick has proven time and again he knows how to win big games,” said Ira Kaufman of “If he had a Top 10 quarterback in New England, the Patriots would be among the favorites to win it all. The problem in New England has been a succession of poor drafts.”

Belichick has coached 28 seasons, Reid 24 and Mike Tomlin 16. But unlike Belichick and Reid, Tomlin has never suffered a losing season with the Steelers. He ranks 16th all-time in victories with 163. He has taken Pittsburgh to two Super Bowls, winning once.

“Mike Tomlin has been around a long time,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Drew Pearson. “His no-nonsense approach with his players is a big reason why. But at the same time he seems to understand today’s players. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history and the Rooneys trust him with their team. That’s good enough for me.”

The NFL once played six games in the preseason. In 1978, the league reduced the number of exhibition games to four and in 2021, the number whittled down even further to three. So in our second Power Poll question, we asked how many preseason games does a team really need to play to “prepare” for a season – three, two, one or none?

The majority of voters said the NFL is still playing too many preseason games. Two exhibition games received 115 votes, followed by zero games at 27, three games at 25 votes and one game at 18.


“Two preseason games feels like the right amount,” said Brain Batko of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “One game for the starters to knock off some rust, for those who want to do that and the coaches who want to see it. Then one game for the bottom-of-the-roster types to make a push and show what they can do in that environment.”

Tony Grossi of says keep it at three.

“Preseason games are necessary,” he said. “Coaches who use them as opportunities to ready their team, rather than to just evaluate the bottom of the roster, are the smart ones.”

Charean Williams of says get rid of the entire preseason slate.

“The Covid year of 2020, when teams played no preseason games, showed the NFL needs no preseason games,” she said. “Teams get more out of joint practices.”

Added Nick Pugliese, sports editor of the Palm Beach Post: “Don’t forget college football does just fine without preseason games.”

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of significant key players in American sports today. It's member list draws on people from media, team management, and league management. It is not a scientific survey, but the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those who know most about the sport.

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