4. Mike McCarthy, Packers

No coach has climbed this list faster than McCarthy in the last 18 months. It wasn't that long ago that his teams frequently folded in the fourth quarter, and he seemed unable to make adjustments or handle the clock. He was conservative far too frequently, and it make it look like his teams were underachievers. But after a Super Bowl run backed up by a 15-1 season, it's obviously he's such a brilliant tactician, his strengths outweigh his weaknesses. Yes, Aaron Rodgers would probably make any coach look brilliant, but McCarthy deserves a lot of credit for Rodgers' brilliance as well. These days, you can't lose focus against Green Bay, because they will immediately identify your weakness, isolate it, and throw deep on it. The more aggressive approach has help him turn the corner. A lot of teams (like the Ravens) ease their way into games, and try to finish strong. The Packers stomp on the accelerator from the very first possession. This team still has some issues on defense, but they still deserve to be favored to win a second straight Lombardi Trophy.

( DAVE KAUP, REUTERS / December 18, 2011 )

No coach has climbed this list faster than McCarthy in the last 18 months. It wasn't that long ago that his teams frequently folded in the fourth quarter, and he seemed unable to make adjustments or handle the clock. He was conservative far too frequently, and it make it look like his teams were underachievers. But after a Super Bowl run backed up by a 15-1 season, it's obviously he's such a brilliant tactician, his strengths outweigh his weaknesses. Yes, Aaron Rodgers would probably make any coach look brilliant, but McCarthy deserves a lot of credit for Rodgers' brilliance as well. These days, you can't lose focus against Green Bay, because they will immediately identify your weakness, isolate it, and throw deep on it. The more aggressive approach has help him turn the corner. A lot of teams (like the Ravens) ease their way into games, and try to finish strong. The Packers stomp on the accelerator from the very first possession. This team still has some issues on defense, but they still deserve to be favored to win a second straight Lombardi Trophy.

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