With the NFL season over the halfway point, both football fans and NY sportsbooks are beginning to get an idea of which teams might be challenging for division, conference, and Super Bowl titles over the next few months.
As it stands, the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites at BetMGM New York sportsbook, but it wouldn’t be the NFL without some shocks and surprises along the way. After all, while potentially predictable, Matt Rhule was only afforded five games this season before being ousted by the Panthers. Frank Reich got nine with the Colts.
With that in mind, which coaches are also in dangerous territory, and which are successfully winning over the fans?
Utilizing social listening tool Linkfluence, we’ve been able to determine which NFL head coaches are the best-received and most disliked among supporters, and how fan perception has changed since the preseason.
Which NFL Coaches are Winning Over the Fans?
Having reached the halfway point of the season, which NFL coaches are leading the way and most-successfully winning over the fans?
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1. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Analyzing and comparing social media sentiment data from both preseason and the season to date, we can reveal that the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll has seen the greatest positive shift in public perception, and he’s already received early coach of the year calls. While you can't bet on Coach of the Year awards at Caesars New York sportsbook, you can take the Seahawks at +190 to win the NFC West.
In fact, just 7.1% of preseason social media posts about the long-time Seahawks head coach were positive, compared to 22.9% now – a 224% change that’s largely down to Carroll’s role in quarterback Geno Smith’s rise to prominence after the Seahawks traded iconic QB Russell Wilson to the Broncos.
The 6-4 Seahawks currently lead their division.
2. Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles
Next up, we have Nick Sirianni, who only recently joined the Philadelphia Eagles as head coach in 2021. Sirianni might still be new to the job, but he’s already earning the acclaim of Eagles fans, with many touting him as an exceptional hire with the team off to a 8-0 start behind quarterback Jalen Hurts going into Monday night's game against Washington.
Delving into the data, Sirianni started the season with a positive sentiment rate of just 10.7%, but, by the midpoint of the season, more than a quarter of all social media posts (27.6%) are favorable.
That’s a remarkable 158% shift, placing him as just the second coach to see a three-figure percentage rise.
3. Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Joining the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year with a promising resume that includes Super Bowl success in his last posting, Doug Pederson entered preseason with a positive social media sentiment rate of 15.2% – greater than anyone else in our top five. (Hey, it's good to replace Urban Meyer).
And, despite enduring a difficult first half of the season, he’s becoming increasingly popular among Jaguars fans, with almost 3 in 10 posts about the experienced head coach considered positive (28.3%) – this equates to a rise of 86%.
While the Jaguars are just 3-7 so far, Pederson has quarterback Trevor Lawrence trending in the right direction, and seems to be steering the ship with far less drama than Meyer.
4. Brian Daboll, New York Giants
Brian Daboll is another coach who changed lanes this year, stepping into the head coach role at the New York Giants in January. So far this season, he’s successfully steered his 7-2 team to a number of impressive wins, including a close victory over the Tennessee Titans in his Giants debut.
By numbers, Daboll’s preseason approval rate was 13.7%, with roughly 1 in every 7 social media posts about him considered positive.
However, by the halfway point in the season, this has shot up to 22.1%, an increase of 61%.
This all despite the fact that oddsmakers still aren't big believers in the G-men, as DraftKings NY sportsbook has them at +6000 to win the Super Bowl.
5. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
Going into the season, the Dallas Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy had the second-lowest fan approval rate of all head coaches on our list, with fewer than 1 in every 10 social media posts about him considered positive (9.9%).
However, midway through the season, this has soared to a 14.8% positive social media sentiment rate; a 50% increase thanks to a relatively strong run of form that includes an impressive 23-16 win over the New York Giants.
McCarthy also steered the team to a 4-1 record with a backup quarterback, which surely gained him favor with the fanbase.
Which NFL Coaches are Losing the Fans?
We’ve looked at the NFL coaches who are winning over the supporters, but how about those that are losing the faith of the fans?
1. Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
Comparing social media sentiment data of all NFL coaches, new Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has seen the greatest negative shift in fan opinion.
Joining the Broncos earlier this year, fans had high hopes for Hackett, with just 7.3% of social media posts about him considered negative during preseason.
However, by the midpoint of the season, this has quickly risen by 241% to 1 in every 4. There’s even talk of Hackett losing his job soon if he can’t turn around the Broncos’ poor run. They currently sit at 3-6.
2. Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has seen the second-largest dive in public perception, with 24.1% of social media posts about him considered negative.
This is a 229% change from the 7.3% during preseason.
The 3-6 Lions have endured a rough start to the season so far, though they have fallen on the losing side of a few very close games, including 38-35 defeat to the Eagles, 28-24 defeat to the Vikings, and 48-45 defeat to the Seahawks.
The Lions have won two games in a row as of time of publication, so maybe Campbell can turn this around in time.
3. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals’ Zac Taylor has also seen a significant drop in fan support since the start of the season, with an astonishing 27.9% of social media posts about him now considered to be negative – the second most of any NFL head coach this season.
This represents a 200% increase from preseason, during which time just 9.3% of posts were negative. Despite leading his team to the Super Bowl earlier this year, which they only narrowly lost, a mixed start to this season and a string of close defeats has seen growing frustration among Bengals fans, who expect more from this 5-4 team.
4. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
Matt LaFleur’s Green Bay Packers have struggled to maintain positive form, with a series of disappointing recent results leaving fans less than impressed with the head coach. In fact, he’s having his worst season to date, having already matched last year’s number of losses.
Delving into the data, during preseason, just 9.2% of social media posts about LaFleur were considered negative. However, this has shot up to over a quarter (25.9%), which represents a staggering rise of 180%. Can LaFleur rescue the 4-6 team in December?
5. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
Finally, Ron Rivera has seen the fifth-largest negative shift in fan perception, with almost a third of all posts (29.6%) about the experienced Washington Commanders head coach considered negative – a higher rate than any other NFL coach. (He must have just squeezed out the Raiders' Josh McDaniels).
This represents a 179% rise on the 10.6% of posts that held negative sentiment during preseason and comes as the Commanders sit bottom of their division after a poor season that’s included a four-game losing streak.
In fact, this is statistically Rivera’s worst season coaching the Commanders, with a lower win rate so far than each of his previous two years in charge going into Monday's game against unbeaten Philadelphia.
Does Losing the Fans Always Cost Coaches Their Job?
Typically, losing the support of the fans means a coach is struggling to lead his team to positive results. But is it always the most-disliked coaches who get fired first?
Following Rhule’s firing, we decided to look into the numbers, and, in fact, found that he’s far from the worst-received NFL coach, with 27.7% of social media posts about him considered negative.
Instead, both Rivera (29.6%) and Taylor (27.9%) are on the receiving end of a greater rate of negative social media posts, with Rivera suffering the most of any head coach across the league.
As we look ahead to the second half of the season, it’ll be interesting to see whether there’s a change in fortune for the unfortunate five who are losing the fans – or whether the five on top will build on the strong support.
In the meantime, check out all the latest NFL odds and picks for your favorite team on the best NY sports betting apps.
For this campaign, we wanted to reveal how football fans’ views on NFL coaches have changed during the first half of the season. To do this, we used the social listening tool Linkfluence.
To create the ranking, we analyzed all Twitter and Reddit posts surrounding each NFL coach between two periods:
• Preseason/the build up to the start of the season (Aug. 5 to Sept. 8)
• The first half of the season (Sept. 9 to Nov. 1)
Between both time periods, the percentage of both negative and positive posts for each head coach were collected. These were then compared to one another to reveal how sentiment for each coach has increased or decreased by the halfway mark in the season.