Matt Eberflus Ranked 25th Among Coaches on NFLPA Report Card, But…

Yes, we saw the stuff about Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus ranking 25th among coaches on the 2024 NFLPA report card. But what I didn’t see a lot of was some necessary context that gives some depth, perspective, and a greater understanding of what that grade means.

Eberflus ranking 25th among coaches comes with some caveats:

  • Most notably, Eberflus’ ranking also had a “B” letter grade. If you’re unfamiliar with how letter grades work, a “B” grade indicates good performance. Coaches who ended up in the “B” range (meaning they were given B+, B, or B- marks) with Eberflus include John Harbaugh, Matt LaFleur, Mike Vrabel, Brandon Staley, Robert Saleh, Kevin Stefanski, Bill Belichick, Dennis Allen, and Todd Bowles. Of that group, only two coaches (Staley, Vrabel) lost there this offseason. In other words, Eberflus finds himself in good company.
  • These coaches received grades in the “A” bracket:

  • A+: Andy Reid, Dan Campbell, Kevin O’Connell
  • A: Sean McDermott, Zac Taylor, Mike McCarthy, Sean McVay, Mike McDaniel, Nick Sirianni, Mike Tomlin, Kyle Shanahan, Pete Carroll
  • A-: Jonathan Gannon, Sean Payton, Brian Daboll, Doug Peterson, Shane Steichen, Frank Reich, DeMeco Ryans
  • Worth pointing out in the Bullet above: Eberflus, Daboll, Pederson, O’Connell, and McDaniel were part of the same hiring class in 2022. So, yes, the Bears missed out on hiring a coach who earned an “A” grade this year. I’m not sure what motivates Coach Flus, but I’d put that note on his desk and tell him “I want you to end up end up grading out with these coaches at this time next year.”
  • Back to Flus: The Chicago Bears head coach earned higher marks than Kevin Stefanski (two-time NFL Coach of the Year), Todd Bowles (whose team won the NFC South and a playoff game back in January), and Bill Belichick (arguably the greatest head coach of all-time). Take some time and let that sink in.
  • bears coach matt eberflus and bill Belichick
    (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

  • A fun fact the NFLPA dropped about Eberflus is that 81 percent of players felt he was efficient with their time. Sans additional context, I’d venture to say that seems like a good mark.
  • I found this nugget to be interesting: “Players feel that head coach Matt Eberflus is somewhat willing to listen to the locker room (18th overall).” One of the most important things a coach needs to have is the pulse of his locker room. That Eberflus ranks in that middle tier of coaches when it comes to hearing out his players is encouraging. It could be better, to be sure. But it is better than the alternative.
  • A final bit of perspective: The three lowest-graded coaches were dismissed by their teams at some point over the last year. Arthur Smith (C+), Ron Rivera (C), and Josh McDaniels (D) were all removed from their posts and have since been replaced.
  • All that to say, I would’ve understood it if the Bears parted ways with Eberflus after a second consecutive losing season. But I also get why they decided to keep him around. Eberflus deserves a share of the credit for guiding that team to 7 wins despite a wretched start and a chaotic season. And I feel there is value in continuity. Plus, that Bears players seem to grade him well suggests that there is a path to success for this franchise with Eberflus as the head coach.

    With that being said, I’m open to seeing this through in hopes that I’m pleasantly surprised with the result. This isn’t to say I’d bet on it. But in a universe with limitless timelines, maybe we’re living on the one in which the Bears nailed it with the hiring of Eberflus.

    Matt Eberflus and the Bears have some heavy lifting to do

    Overall, the Bears ranked 10th on the NFLPA report card — but there is still work to be done:

    I find it encouraging that the weight room, training staff, training room, and locker room all received grades in the B range or better and secured rankings in the top 10 of each of those categories. Do you remember when former Bears General Manager Ryan Pace spearheaded the Halas Hall renovation project? With grades like the ones above, we can now declare that to be a smashing success. So, while it wasn’t all great during the Pace era, at least it wasn’t a total loss.

    But still … it’s time for the Bears food and nutrition game to step it up. There is no plausible explanation for the Bears to rank 21st in food/cafeteria when Halas Hall is a 40-minute drive from downtown Chicago. I simply can’t comprehend how the Bears got a “C” grade in the food department when they’re in the shadow of one of the best and most diverse food cities in the world. Not just the country but the entire world. Step. It. Up. Bears.

    written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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