One of the marks of a great coach is his ability to rally the troops when things get tough.
That’s why we love measuring how good a football coach is—against the spread, of course—after his team loses.
By now, you know that Bill Belichick’s Patriots lost at home to Arizona on Sunday. It was a shocker by all accounts (New England closed as a 13-point favorite), and most analysts are speculating that Belichick didn’t want to show anything leading up to his team’s showdown at Baltimore on Sunday Night Football next week.
It was the first time Tom Brady ever lost a home opener, and it likely destroyed a multitude of survivor pools.
The good news for Patriots fans?
Belichick is one of the league’s best bounce-back coaches. Since he took over the New England franchise in 2000, Belichick is 32-18 ATS (.640) following a straight-up loss.
Now, the Patriots are 3-point underdogs to the Ravens in Week 3. For some perspective, the line was New England -1.5 before the season started, meaning we’ve seen a 4.5-point shift based on two weeks of evidence.
* * *
We recently looked up every current NFL coach’s ATS record following a straight-up loss (see table below).
Given the win-or-you’re-fired nature of the league, a lot of these coaches have only a handful of games to research, but there are some notable trends among the guys who have been around for awhile.
Mike Smith, Falcons: This one isn’t even close. Belichick is great, but since Smith took over in Atlanta in 2008, he’s an astounding 17-3-1 ATS following a loss, an 85 percent cover rate. That’s irrelevant this week, as the Falcons walloped the Chiefs in Week 1, but keep it in mind going forward this year.
Mike Tomlin, Steelers: Tomlin and Pittsburgh haven’t lost back-to-back games since 2009, and that’s carried over to some pretty good ATS success as well. The Steelers are 15-9-1 ATS (.625) following a loss under Tomlin, and that includes a 27-10 victory over the Jets on Sunday after dropping the opener at Denver.
Marvin Lewis, Bengals: This is Lewis’ 10th season in Cincinnati, and he’s just 28-35-6 ATS (.444) following a loss during that time frame. The Bengals got drilled in the season-opener at Baltimore, and then pushed on Sunday as 7-point favorites in a 31-24 victory over Cleveland.
John Fox, Broncos: Fox was just 2-5 ATS (.286) after a loss in his first season in Denver in 2011, and he was 34-35 while coaching Carolina from 2002 to 2010. Nothing terrible, but nothing great either. Will Peyton Manning help? The Colts were just 9-17 ATS following a loss when Manning was the quarterback from 2002 to 2010.
|TEAM||COACH||YEAR||OFF A LOSS||NOTES|
|Arizona Cardinals||Ken Whisenhunt||Sixth||20-17-1 (.541)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Mike Smith||Fifth||17-3-1 (.850)|
|Baltimore Ravens||John Harbaugh||Fifth||10-9-1 (.526)|
|Buffalo Bills||Chan Gailey||Third||9-10-2 (.474)||8-6 with DAL (1998-99)|
|Carolina Panthers||Ron Rivera||Second||7-3 (.700)|
|Chicago Bears||Lovie Smith||Ninth||25-24-3 (.510)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Marvin Lewis||10th||28-35-6 (.444)|
|Cleveland Browns||Pat Shurmur||Second||6-4-2 (.600)|
|Dallas Cowboys||Jason Garrett||Third||5-4-1 (.556)|
|Denver Broncos||John Fox||Second||2-5 (.286)||34-35 with CAR (2002-10)|
|Detroit Lions||Jim Schwartz||Fourth||12-14-2 (.462)|
|Green Bay Packers||Mike McCarthy||Seventh||20-11-3 (.645)|
|Houston Texans||Gary Kubiak||Seventh||24-23-1 (.511)|
|Indianapolis Colts||Chuck Pagano||First||1-0 (1.000)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Mike Mularkey||First||0-1 (.000)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Romeo Crennel||First||2-1 (.667)||24-14 with CLE (2005-08)|
|Miami Dolphins||Joe Philbin||First||1-0 (1.000)|
|Minnesota Vikings||Leslie Frazier||Third||7-7-1 (.500)|
|New England Patriots||Bill Belichick||13th||32-18 (.640)||21-16-2 with CLE (1991-95)|
|New Orleans Saints||Interim||N/A||N/A||Sean Payton is 19-10 (.655)|
|New York Giants||Tom Coughlin||Ninth||26-24-2 (.520)||29-27-1 with JAC (1995-2002)|
|New York Jets||Rex Ryan||Fourth||8-11 (.421)|
|Oakland Raiders||Dennis Allen||First||0-1 (.000)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Andy Reid||14th||44-31-1 (.587)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Mike Tomlin||Sixth||15-9-1 (.625)||Hasn't lost ATS since 2009|
|San Diego Chargers||Norv Turner||Sixth||15-15-1 (.500)|
|San Francisco 49ers||Jim Harbaugh||Second||3-0 (1.000)||10-9 at Stanford (2007-10)|
|Seattle Seahawks||Pete Carroll||Third||11-6-1 (.647)||10-17-3 with NYJ & NE (1990s)|
|St. Louis Rams||Jeff Fisher||First||1-0 (1.000)||44-47-1 with TEN (1997-2010)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Greg Schiano||First||0-0 (N/A)||33-25 with Rutgers (2001-11)|
|Tennessee Titans||Mike Munchak||Second||4-4 (.500)|
|Washington Redskins||Mike Shanahan||Third||10-8-1 (.556)||49-43-5 with DEN (1995-2008)|