5 worst coaches to win the Super Bowl
In the 50 years of the Super Bowl era in the National Football League, there have been dozens of Hall of Fame caliber head coaches roaming the sidelines in the biggest games of their lives. Fine coaches like Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Mike Shanahan, and Bill Belichick are a few of the many Super Bowl coaches to have won at least two trophies on Super Bowl Sunday.
However, there are some years where it is a great team, not a great head coach, that ultimately wins a Super Bowl. While both the Carolina Panthers' Ron Rivera and the Denver Broncos' Gary Kubiak did great work in 2015 to get their respective teams to a Super Bowl, neither one is viewed as a top 10 coach in the NFL today. Super Bowl 50 saw Kubiak's Broncos win its third Lombardi Trophy in eight tries in franchise history.
SEE ALSO: 13 NFL teams have still never won a Super Bowl
In time, perhaps either or both Rivera and Kubiak will emerge as a Canton-worthy NFL head coach, but entering the 2016 NFL season, neither one stands out as an all-timer coaching on the sidelines of a championship caliber team.
Since many may now view Kubiak as one of the worst coaches to have won a Super Bowl, let's see who are the five worst coaches to have ever hoisted a Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl champion.
5. Dick Vermeil
St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl XXXIV
In all honesty, Dick Vermeil was by no means undeserving of leading The Greatest Show on Turf 1999 St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV Title over the Tennessee Titans. He was the perfect leader that the Rams could rally behind to achieve the franchise's lone Super Bowl to date.
While Vermeil would win 120 games as an NFL coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (1976-82), the Rams (1997-99), and the Kansas City Chiefs (2001-05), his win-loss record as an NFL head coach isn't all that impressive when compared to many of the other Super Bowl Champion head coaches.
Vermeil won 52.4% of his games during the regular season as an NFL head coach, going 120-109. While he did lead both the 1999 Rams and the 1980 Eagles to Super Bowls, he only boasted at 6-5 postseason record (54.5% winning percentage). Overall, Vermeil went 126-114 as a head coach in the NFL.
Taking 15 years off between NFL head coaching gigs in Philadelphia and St. Louis further complicates the overall legacy of Vermeil. While he did win at all three stops, there are plenty of Super Bowl winning coaches that won more than 52.5% of their games all time. Vermeil may end up in Canton one day, but he's not one of the best coaches to have ever won a Super Bowl by any stretch of the imagination.
4. Barry Switzer
Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl XXX
As it was with Dick Vermeil, it was pretty hard to put a great head coach like Barry Switzer as one of the five worst head coaches to win a Super Bowl. Switzer helped lead the 1995 Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl XXX victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Switzer is one of the top 10 college football head coaches of all-time. He went 157-24-9, leading the Oklahoma Sooners to three national titles and 12 Big Eight Championships. From 1973 to 1988 the Sooners were an absolute juggernaut under Switzer in college football.
Though Switzer did win a Super Bowl in his four seasons as the head coach of the Cowboys (1994-97), his legacy in the college game far outweighs anything he did in the NFL. Switzer went 40-24 during his regular season with the Cowboys and 5-2 in the postseason.
What hurts Switzer's NFL legacy is that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was probably right that anybody could have won a Super Bowl with The Triplets (Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin). Given that Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowls immediately before him along with Switzer's resignation after the 1997 NFL season, Switzer is one of the worst NFL head coaches to have won a Super Bowl.
3. Brian Billick
Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XXXV
The 2000 Baltimore Ravens won its first Super Bowl with one of the NFL's all-time great defenses, crushing the New York Giants in Tampa, Florida in Super Bowl XXXV. Though he had a successful nine-year tenure as the head coach of the Ravens (1999-07), Brian Billick had a lot of help in being able to win his only Super Bowl as a head coach.
Besides its absolutely loaded roster on the defensive side of the ball, Billick had many future NFL head coaches on his staff with that 2000 Ravens team. Marvin Lewis went on to coach the Cincinnati Bengals, Rex Ryan would go on to coach the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills, and Billick's brother-in-law Mike Smith would lead the Atlanta Falcons.
Billick's coaching tree is arguably more impressive than what he did in his nine years in Baltimore. While Billick's 2000 Ravens team won Super Bowl XXXV over the Giants, he was only 80-64 during the regular season (55.6% winning percentage) and 5-3 in the NFL Playoffs (62.5%). Combining both seasons, Billick went 85-67 as a head coach for the Ravens, winning 55.9% of their games.
Since current head coach John Harbaugh has already won a Super Bowl and gotten the Ravens to more AFC Playoff berths than did Billick, Harbaugh will surpass Billick as the greatest head coach in franchise history in 2016, if he hasn't already. Billick was an average coach if it weren't for the 2000 Ravens who went 12-4 en route to a Super Bowl XXXV victory over the Giants.
2. Gary Kubiak
Denver Broncos, Super Bowl 50
The Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak joins the list of Super Bowl winning coaches. While his ultra-conservative play calling on offense did play a part in the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 victory over the favored Carolina Panthers, the Broncos' success in 2015 had mostly to do with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' all-time great defense and the well-crafted roster of general manager John Elway.
Keep in mind that Kubiak only became the head coach of the Broncos at the start of the 2015 NFL season, replacing John Fox who helped guide the 2013 Broncos to a Super Bowl XLVIII appearance against the Seattle Seahawks.
As a head coach Kubiak has a 73-68 regular season record, winning only 51.8% of his games. He has also only gone 5-2 in three trips to the AFC Playoffs between his time in Denver and with the Houston Texans. Overall, Kubiak's combined winning percentage is only 52.7% (78-70) in nine seasons as a head coach.
However, should Kubiak be able to lead the Broncos back to another Super Bowl in the coming years with a different reincarnation of the team, it would be very hard to discredit his ability to lead football teams, as he would approach 100 wins in his career. For now, only one Super Bowl winning coach is worse than Kubiak.
1. Don McCafferty
Baltimore Colts, Super Bowl V
Don McCafferty is easily the most forgotten Super Bowl winning head coach, as his 1970 Baltimore Colts went on to beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V in Miami, the first season the Colts were in the AFC because of the AFL/NFL merger.
Many would just assume that Don Shula was still in Baltimore, as he was the head coach of the Colts in their Super Bowl III loss to the New York Jets. However, Shula went to Miami and this was McCafferty's team. Actually it was still Johnny Unitas' team who led the Colts to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
McCafferty wasn't a head coach for very long in the NFL, as he was only an NFL head coach for four seasons. He stayed with the Colts through the 1972 season before taking over for the 1973 Detroit Lions. He unfortunately suffered a fatal heart attack while cutting the grass before the start of the 1974 NFL season. McCafferty was only 53 years old.
As an NFL head coach, McCafferty's teams went a combined 28-17-2 (.617 winning percentage). While he was 4-1 in the postseason, one has to wonder what could have been had McCafferty had been able to coach the Lions for more than just one NFL season. Maybe they would have made it to a Super Bowl by now?