Andy Reid, Bill Belichick and these three other NFL head coaches excel at developing stars at key positions

What matters most in the NFL? Players or the coaches? I’m a firm believer that by the time the genetic lottery winners reach the field at the pinnacle of the sport, they are more vital to team success, or lack thereof than anyone roaming the sidelines.

And that’s not throwing shade at NFL coaches. They matter too. I just happen to think less of them truly matter than we’ve been conditioned to believe. In my head, the coaching-quality scale is on a bell curve, with the three-to-five horrendous coaches who can drag down an entire team on one end and three-to-five unbelievable coaches who subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, elevate everyone between the lines. 

And I’ve come to realize that some of the game’s finest coaches today seemingly always have stars at the same positions year after year after year. Coincidence? Probably not. Here are my picks for the coaches who seem to produce success at specific spots on the field. 

Andy Reid: Quarterback 

Reid doesn’t have much of resume coaching good quarterbacks. Not in the least. Just Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. 

Not to mention he coached Kevin Kolb to respectability and, at the time, a huge multiyear contract with the Cardinals. Reid has deep roots in the West Coast Offense, has tweaked his scheme to evolve with the advancement of the game, and even welcomed Texas Tech-like additions to the Chiefs attack when it shifted from the conservative ways of Smith to the gunslinger foundation of Mahomes’ game. Reid teaches a masterclass in quarterback friendliness every season, and that is why his teams are perennial Super Bowl contenders. 

Dating to his time as an assistant with the Packers, Reid has coached in six Super Bowls — with three wins — and a seismic 12 conference title games. Of course, Mahomes is legendarily talented. Let’s not forget Smith’s highest single-season passer rating…


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