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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Analyst names 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan among NFL’s top 5 head coaches

Apr 6, 2023 at 11:16 AM--

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Who are the top five coaches in the National Football League? NFL analyst Patrick Daugherty of NBC Sports believes he has a pretty good idea, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made his list.

Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs took the top spot, followed by Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams, and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens.

Shanahan at No. 5 is two spots higher than Daugherty had him a year ago. It's also worth noting that Shanahan is the only name among the top six that has yet to win a Super Bowl as a head coach.

"After failing to eclipse six wins in three of his first four seasons, Kyle Shanahan has now made the NFC Championship Game in three of the past four," Daugherty wrote. "This, even as his quarterback plans keep finding new and exciting ways to go up in smoke. For a while, it seemed like Shanahan might owe a surprising amount of his success to Jimmy Garoppolo. Beleaguered though he's long been, a healthy 'Jimmy G' was the common denominator between Shanahan's first two conference title tilts.

"Then Garoppolo broke his [foot] and gave way to the literal final pick of the draft. Had Brock Purdy's ulnar collateral ligament not evaporated into thin air on live television during this year's conference championship game against the Eagles, Shanahan might have again been Super Bowl bound. Instead, we are left to wonder who will be under center Week 1. Whoever it is will be calling the shots for one of the league's most carefully constructed rosters, one where Shanahan has as much influence as any head coach."

With a career record of 52-46, Shanahan's .531 winning percentage is tied with Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson as the lowest among Daugherty's top 11 coaches.

Daugherty doesn't view Shanahan's system as perfect, criticizing one aspect that has become a staple of the pre-snap action. Still, the admiration for the 49ers' play caller is apparent.

"Shanahan's vision can sometimes be irritating — no one needs to motion Kyle Juszczyk this many times — but is perhaps the most finely honed in football," Daugherty noted.

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