Coach of the Year Candidates

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Coach of the Year Candidates

NFL

Coach of the Year Candidates

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AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

With so many moving parts, NFL coaches may have the toughest job in the coaching universe. Coaching tends to make a bigger impact in the NFL than in other professional sports due to the advanced, specific game plans needed on three sides of the ball each week. NFL coaches do not have time to spare, with only 17 games in a season, everything is urgent. In a time of demanding owners and dramatic public opinion, staying off the hot seat is impressive alone. However, there are some coaches who deserve a little extra praise. Let’s rank the three leading candidates for NFL coach of the year alongside some honorable mentions. 

  •  Bill Belichick (Patriots) 

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the greatest coach of all time is the front-runner to win coach of the year, but somehow, it is. The divorce between Belichick and Tom Brady was very one-sided prior to the season, as Brady was hoisting another Lombardi while Belichick and the Patriots watched from home. While Brady still has the upper-hand, Belichick is making the Brady vs. Belichick debate interesting once again with what he has built in New England. The Patriots and rookie Mac Jones have been the hottest team in the NFL as of late, winning seven-straight games with the latest coming over division rival Buffalo on Monday Night Football. Several franchises have been rebuilding for what seems like ages, yet New England’s took only one season. That is remarkable, and Belichick should receive some more hardware to an already crowded trophy case. 

  •  Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals) 

Oh, how the turn of tables. Many believed that Kliff Kingsbury entered the year on the hot seat, but now he has the Cardinals playing at an elite level. Arizona has the best record in the NFL, 10-2, while going undefeated on the road. The Cardinals have found ways to win games with or without star quarterback Kyler Murray and Pro-Bowl receiver Deandre Hopkins. Those wins with a battered roster is a sign of great coaching along with the development of Murray. Kingsbury deserves some credit to how Murray has developed into one of the league’s most dynamic quarterbacks. What was expected by many to be a fourth-place team in its own division, leads its conference. That must give Kingsbury some votes down the road. 

  •  Matt LaFleur (Packers)

Like Kingsbury, Matt LaFleur has led the Packers (9-3) to an impressive record despite injuries to key players. Green Bay has been without defensive standouts Za’Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari for an extended period, yet the Packers keep stacking up wins. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has received most of the credit for Green Bay’s success, but maybe it’s time to acknowledge what LaFleur has contributed. After all, he is 35-9 since taking over as the Green Bay head coach in 2019. To top it off, LaFleur successfully brought a team together that was plagued with offseason drama. That wrinkle combined with where the Packers lie in the standings should keep LaFleur’s name in the conversation for coach of the year. 

 

Honorable Mentions: 

 

Mike Vrabel (Titans) 

 

John Harbaugh (Ravens) 

 

Bruce Arians (Buccaneers)

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