Coach of the Year is always one of the hardest awards to predict at the outset of an NFL season. It’s not enough to be the coach of a really good team. There is always more than one really good team, after all. Generally, the hardware goes to a coach that orchestrated a big turnaround from the year prior or guided his team through in-season turmoil.
The latter, in particular, is difficult to prognosticate.
But this season is a little different. We already know that a couple teams will have to overcome key injuries and suspensions. If their coaches can guide them to the post-season, they’ll get serious consideration from the voters.
Belichick has three awards on his shelf, but it’s pretty hard for him to win Coach of the Year these days. Everyone expects greatness from the Pats. Case in point: he’s never won the award with a record worse than 14-2. But the Hooded One will have to lead his team through four games without QB Tom Brady, who’s suspended for the first quarter of the year. If the Patriots come out the other side with a winning record and go onto capture their eighth straight AFC East title – two things that are decent bets – Belichick would be a deserving winner of his fourth CotY honors.
McCarthy is a co-favorite with Belichick. His Packers struggled (relatively speaking) in 2015, in particular on offense. Thanks to the return of Jordy Nelson and a lighter schedule, there should be no such struggles this year. Indeed, their the early NFC favorites.
If Aaron Rodgers and the Packers do light up the league, McCarthy will get more credit than usual. Why? Because he’s taking over play-calling duties again after giving up the gig in 2015.
If Zimmer can lead the Vikes to the postseason, this award should be in the bank. Minnesota lost starting QB Teddy Bridgewater for the year just a week and a half before the start of the season. That’s the kind of adversity voters love. But the Vikes are now relying on Sam Bradford to lead them to the promised land. He’s never made the playoffs in his career. Shaun Hill is behind him on the depth chart. Sorry, Mike Zimmer, this may not be your year, after all.
Bruce Arians (Arizona): 12/1
Andy Reid (Kansas City): 12/1
Pete Carroll (Seattle): 12/1
Ron Rivera (Carolina): 14/1
Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh): 14/1
Gus Bradley (Jacksonville): 15/1 (keep an eye on him). His team is loaded with young talent.
Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati): 20/1
Gary Kubiak (Denver): 25/1
Todd Bowles (NY Jets): 25/1
Jack Del Rio (Oakland): 25/1
Jason Garrett (Dallas): 28/1
Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis): 33/1
Ben McAdoo (NY Giants): 33/1
Bill O’Brien (Houston): 38/1
Sean Payton (New Orleans): 40/1
John Harbaugh (Baltimore): 40/1
John Fox (Chicago): 50/1
Doug Pederson (Philadelphia): 50/1
Jay Gruden (Washington): 50/1
Adam Gase (Miami): 65/1
Rex Ryan (Buffalo): 65/1
Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay): 66/1
Jeff Fisher (Los Angeles): 75/1
Jim Caldwell (Detroit): 80/1
Dan Quinn (Atlanta): 80/1
Chip Kelly (San Francisco): 85/1
Hue Jackson (Cleveland): 100/1
Mike McCoy (San Diego): 100/1
Mike Mularkey (Tennessee): 100/1
Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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