Nine current NFL head coaches have won a Super Bowl: Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Jon Gruden, John Harbaugh, Sean Payton, Mike McCarthy, Doug Pederson, Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin. But what about the other 23 guys who are seeking the elusive Lombardi Trophy?
Houston's Bill O'Brien and Minnesota's Mike Zimmer are the longest-tenured head coaches still searching for a Lombardi Trophy, having led their respective teams for six seasons. Ringless Ron Rivera is set to begin his 10th season as an NFL head coach, albeit with a new organization in Washington. Bruce Arians and Dan Quinn have each logged five seasons as an NFL head coach, and 18 others are either relatively young in their head-coaching careers or just starting out.
So, which head coach has the best chance to win his first Super Bowl in the upcoming season?
STEVE MARIUCCI: The football world finally saw what the San Francisco 49ers were capable of under Kyle Shanahan in the 2019 campaign. They were one of the best teams over the entire course of the season ... but were unable to finish the job in February, when they suffered a Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That one will sting for a while. But I expect this team, which is full of talent after GM John Lynch executed another good offseason, to be as hungry as any this fall. The 49ers are still the team to beat in the NFC. Shanahan will get another chance soon.
NATE BURLESON: The two coaches who come to mind are Bruce Arians and Sean McDermott. Arians has to be thrilled with the offseason his Tampa Bay Buccaneers have experienced, especially after winning the Tom Brady sweepstakes in March. The Bucs now boast the sport's ultimate winner at quarterback (Brady has SIX Lombardis) -- and given the fact that Brady has the Michael Jordan effect, every player on that roster will play better. Brady has already rallied some of his new teammates for workouts.
While the Bucs have a veteran-driven roster, McDermott's Buffalo Bills are young and hungry. Without Brady dominating the AFC East, winning the division title this season will skyrocket the team's confidence. Plus, the Bills have a run game featuring second-year back Devin Singletary that could carry them through the playoffs.
DAVID CARR: Kyle Shanahan was minutes away from winning Super Bowl LIV, but play-calling decisions and the play of Patrick Mahomes sent him back to the Bay Area without a Lombardi Trophy. Despite the crushing Super Bowl loss on February, I like what the San Francisco 49ers have done this offseason. They've re-signed some key players (DL Arik Armstead, S Jimmie Ward), traded for others (LT Trent Williams) and drafted needs (DT Javon Kinlaw, WR Brandon Aiyuk). Shanahan's team is poised to make another deep postseason run, giving him a third chance (the first was as Falcons OC in Super Bowl LI) to hold on to a late-game lead in the big game.
STEVE SMITH SR.: The powers have shifted in the AFC East. The Patriots are without Tom Brady and the Buffalo Bills are hungrier than ever. The Bills have made the playoffs two of the last three years, and this 2020 squad will be the best product Sean McDermott has put out on the field. They got a whole lot better this offseason, trading for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and loading up in the draft. This is a balanced team, one that is built to play on Super Bowl Sunday.
MAURICE JONES-DREW: It's tough to go with anyone other than Kyle Shanahan, a man who's taste-tested Super Bowl victory then had it ripped away TWICE. The 49ers were able to keep a majority of their starters this offseason and replenished the areas where they lost key players, replacing DeForest Buckner and Emmanuel Sanders with first-round draft picks Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk. If Shanahan can learn from the past and the players can avoid a Super Bowl hangover, this group could represent the NFC on the game's biggest stage once again next year.
BRIAN BALDINGER: Kyle Shanahan was thisclose to winning a ring in February, but missed opportunities led to the confetti falling down on the Kansas City Chiefs. I still love how John Lynch and Shanahan have built this team, including what they did this offseason, and believe they'll get another shot to right their wrongs in Super Bowl LV.