Head coach Frank Reich hasn’t won a playoff game since his debut in the postseason with the Indianapolis Colts in January 2019. But Reich still landed among some of the elite coaches on a list of the top NFL head coaches on June 6.
NFL analyst Conor McQuiston of Pro Football Focus ranked the 26 non-first year head coaches in the league going into the 2022 season. His rankings considered analytic results from 2011 to 2021 and excluded first-year head coaches since coordinator data might not translate to success as a head coach.
On the list, McQuiston placed Reich at No. 9.
“Reich has dealt with an unfortunate revolving door of passers Indianapolis but has maintained strong levels of offensive success in spite of that,” McQuiston wrote. “His maintenance of a solid defense has also helped weather the storm of sometimes erratic play from his passers.”
ALL the latest Colts news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Colts newsletter here!
Reich’s Colts Ranked in Top 10 in Offense & Defense
McQuiston noted that his list only considered macro-level, on-field performance for his coaching rankings. He did not consider factors such as roster construction or on-field decisions such as fourth-down attempts, success rate in challenges, etc.
If those had been considered, perhaps Reich is not placed at No. 9. Reich and Colts general manager Chris Ballard have not been able to solve the team’s quarterback situation since Andrew Luck retired and made “a mistake” — according to team owner Jim Irsay — in trading for Carson Wentz last year.
But from a macro-level, PFF ranked the Colts 10th in offense and eighth in defense under Reich out of 26 teams (organizations without first-year head coaches).
PFF stated that with an average roster under Reich, the Colts would have posted an average of 9.7 wins per season over the last 10 years.
Reich Ranked Among Top Head Coaches
The top 10 coaches on the PFF list was split with five AFC head coaches and five other head coaches from the NFC. Reich was ranked fifth among the top five AFC head coaches.
In the AFC South, Reich was ranked second behind only Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who was No. 8 on the PFF list.
Although they are in their first seasons with their new teams, Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans were both on the list because they have been NFL head coaches previously. McQuiston ranked Pederson and Smith at No. 15 and 17, respectively, on the list.
While McQuiston used analytic data to convey how great Reich is as an NFL head coach, there are more basic stats that showcase it as well.
The Colts lead the NFL with 15 opening drive touchdowns since the start of the 2020 season. Only the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs are within two trips to the end zone of the Colts’ league-leading 15 touchdowns to start games.
That stat speaks to the level of preparation Reich and his offense have every week. It is also a clear indication that the Colts usually possess a terrific plan of how to attack opposing defenses to begin games.
If playoff success also comes for Reich during the 2022-23 season, then he’ll have a great chance to move even higher on NFL head coach rankings lists next year.