PFF ranks Sean McVay 11th among head coaches based on analytics model

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Sean McVay is considered to be one of the best head coaches in the NFL by many, but the head man of the Los Angeles Rams is not considered a top-tier head coach according to analytics. In an article by PFF’s Connor McQuiston, he took a look at the best head coaches in the NFL based on an analytics model, and McVay was ranked outside of the top 10.

The coach rankings were a result of McQuiston’s analytics models, so the rankings aren’t in order of who he would personally choose. The model takes into account the salaries of players on both sides of the ball and the talent level of each team. The goal is to determine how many games a coach would win with an average team.

We can then use Pythagorean wins to estimate how many games the coach would win with an average team, defined as a team scoring and allowing 348 points in a season. This was the average mark for all teams between the 2017-2021 seasons.

Based on these factors, McVay was ranked 11th on the list. It’s surprising to see him that low, but the fact that the Rams have a top-heavy roster with a few guys accounting for a decent portion of their salary cap could be a major reason why McVay is lower than expected.

The head coaches ahead of McVay are Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh, Andy Reid, Kliff Kingsbury, Pete Carroll, Matt LaFleur, Kyle Shanahan, Mike Vrabel, Frank Reich, and Mike McCarthy. That means that McVay is viewed as the fourth-best coach in the NFC West and is somehow worse than McCarthy in the model.

Since becoming the head coach of the Rams in 2017, McVay has turned a team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2004 into an instant and perennial contender. In his first five years at the helm in Los Angeles, McVay has led the Rams to a 62-29 record (including the playoffs), two Super Bowl appearances, and a Super Bowl victory.

While there are positive reasons to use analytics in certain aspects of football, it’s safe to say that McQuiston’s coaching model might need some tuning given McVay’s placement in the rankings.