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Ranking NFL Head Coach/QB Combos- Part VI

Find out who some of the elite head coach/ quarterback combination are.

Charlie Bernstein

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Football is the ultimate team sport.  With that said, the quarterback is not only the most important position in the game, but in all of sports.  What makes a great quarterback work well is usually the relationship he has with his head coach, even if the coach knows just to leave his star alone.

To get you fully prepared for the NFL season we are continuing our countdown series as we move to the best head coach/quarterback combinations.

In our first volume, we ranked the worst head coach/quarterback combinations entering the 2015 season.

We moved up the list just a bit in volume two, further along in volume three, we got to the middle of the pack in volume four, and into the Top 10 in volume five. 

We move on with some of the elite head coach/quarterback combinations.

8. Arizona Cardinals- Bruce Arians/ Carson Palmer

Upon first glance, this ranking may seem a little high for the Arizona Cardinals duo, but when you take into account that there really isn’t a better head coach week-to-week than Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer is more than serviceable, it fits.

Arians is probably the closest thing the NFL has to a “quarterback whisperer.”  Arians consistently gets the most out of every man who takes a snap and has resurrected Carson Palmer’s career.

As for Palmer, he’s been very good when healthy and if he’s healthy then the Cardinals are a playoff team and can compete with anyone, any week.  Palmer’s weapons are improved this season, as well as the offensive line, and he should be very productive.

7. Indianapolis Colts- Chuck Pagano/ Andrew Luck

Why is a team with Andrew Luck, the best young quarterback in football ranked this low?

Because of a very mediocre head coach in Chuck Pagano.

Pagano has a great story with overcoming cancer, but the truth of the matter is that when the Colts were being coached by Bruce Arians in the interim, they were a better team.

Let’s face it, anyone can win the AFC South with Luck at quarterback.

He alone holds up this ranking.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mike Tomlin/ Ben Roethlisberger

It’s been a really good last decade or so if you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and Ben Roethlisberger has led the team to three Super Bowls, winning two of them.

Tomlin is always quotable and he will undoubtedly last in Pittsburgh for quite a long time.  This writer believes that he is somewhat overrated, but he’s certainly not a bad head coach.

As for Roethlisberger, when he’s healthy there are few that are better.  Big Ben has the “clutch gene” and he’s one of the best in league history when the game is on the line.  Expect Roethlisberger to have another great season as the Steelers are absolutely loaded with weapons on offense.

5. New Orleans Saints- Sean Payton/ Drew Brees

There’s not much not to like with the combination of Sean Payton and Drew Brees.  They took over a seemingly hopeless situation in New Orleans and made them a consistent winner, including a Super Bowl title.

Payton has been an offensive mastermind for over a decade and although he’s less than forthcoming with the media, he’s still one of the very best X’s and O’s coaches in football.  If he were to become a “free agent,” he would have his choice of at least a dozen jobs as many teams would dump their current head coach for Payton.

Brees should already be getting fitted for his yellow jacket as he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer once he hangs up the cleats.  Brees has put up historic numbers in New Orleans after being dumped by the San Diego Chargers in favor of Philip Rivers.  There’s no reason to believe that he won’t have another stellar season in 2015.

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.

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