For players and coaches, making it to the Super Bowl is a feat that doesn’t come easy. Some of the best to grace the game never had a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy. The list takes a bigger dip down to becoming an exclusive club of sorts.
Since Super Bowl I in 1967, 11 head coaches have managed to win the title in their second year coaching their respective teams. Out of that group, four managed to do so between the ‘70s and ‘90s, leaving us with seven remaining HCs who won the Super Bowl in their second year of work with their squads.
Brian Billick with the Ravens, Patriots living legend Bill Belichick, disgraced former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, former Broncos HC Gary Kubiak, and Doug Pederson, who won with Philadelphia, make up said list.
With current Eagles HC Nick Sirianni hoping to be the 12th, let’s remember the best coaches to win the Lombardi Trophy in their second year leading their teams.
Let’s check the latest Super Bowl picks, stats, injury reports, and Super Bowl odds. We’ve got plenty of Super Bowl lines for you to consider.
1. “Meh” Mentions: Billick and Gruden
Yes, they won a Super Bowl, but did they really do anything fantastic with their teams to triumph? Not.
Billick won with the Ravens in 2000 but it was mainly because of the fantastic defensive line the team boasted, and nothing else. As a matter of fact, in his first season, Baltimore went 8-8, and after their Super Bowl-winning season, the Ravens would win only one more playoff game in the next seven years before Billick got his walking papers.
And Gruden? His biggest claim is the fact that he beat the team that traded him to Tampa in the Super Bowl. But that’s it. Afterward, he spent six more seasons with the Bucs, with the team not able to make it to the playoffs again in said period. Years later, Gruden would fall out of grace with the league.
2. Bill Belichick
You probably don’t remember this, but before Belichick took over the New England Patriots and made them the most dominant football team in the 2000s, he actually flopped in his first head coaching gig with the Browns. But who’s keeping count anyways?
In his second season with the Patriots, Belichick pulled off a move that will forever be remembered as one of the smartest choices made. He gave his backup QB Tom Brady the chance to take the field after Drew Bledsoe was sidelined because of an injury.
What came afterward was New England’s first of six Super Bowl titles with Belichick at the helm.
3. Mike Tomlin
As a football fan, I find it hard not to respect the work ethic and grind that Tomlin brings to the Pittsburgh Steelers. When you consider that the Steelers have had three head coaches since 1970, those being Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Tomlin, it’s safe to say that making it in Pittsburgh as an HC is one of the most respected jobs in the league.
After taking over the team following Cowher’s retirement, Tomlin led the Steelers to their sixth Super Bowl win in his second season with the team, beating the Cardinals by 27-23. Since that win, Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to make it back to the league title game.
Tomlin, though, has managed to keep the Steelers as one of the AFC’s most respected and efficient teams.
4. Gary Kubiak
He had Peyton Manning wanting one more SB win before retiring and one of the most dominant defenses we’ve seen in recent times. But hey, no hate for Gary Kubiak, he’s the perfect example that sometimes life gives you opportunities that are too good to be true, so why let them slide?
Leading the Broncos to a win against the Panthers after taking over the head coaching gig, Kubiak coached for one more year before calling it a career.
5. Doug Pederson
Is it just me, or does Pederson not get enough love and recognition? Aside from the fact that his current tenure with the Jaguars has proven that this is a coach who can make any team work properly, Pederson took on one of the toughest jobs in the NFL and made the most of it with Philly.
Coaching a team like the Eagles will never be an easy job. In a city where sports run everything like Philly, with such a passional fan base, and with a hankering for a Super Bowl title, in his second year on the job, Pederson did what not even Andy Reid could do.
Taking on Belichick and Brady’s Patriots, Pederson led the Eagles to their first SB win. And not only did he coach the team to a win, but he also did it with poise, and style, even throwing in one of the most important plays in Super Bowl history into the mix, the “Philly Special”.