There will be much debate for coach of the year in what has been a wacky season in the NFL. While there were some coaches we thought would already be looking for work, a couple of them are on the list for coach of the year. Here is our list as it goes, and trust me, I am sure that there will be plenty of discussion about the list.
NFC Coach of the Year
Mike McCarthy (Packers) – I realize that Wade Phillips, who has led the Cowboys to the top seed also deserves a lot of consideration, but who ever thought the Packers would be at this point? McCarty has pushed a lot of the right buttons, taking a running game that was nowhere to be found early on and getting a huge effort the last few weeks from Ryan Grant. Not to mention the play of Brett Favre and of course the play of the defense. After going .500 a season ago, the Pack are truly back in the NFC and are a legit challenge to the Cowboys.
Others to be considered:
Wade Phillips (Cowboys) – Remember when Jerry Jones came oh-so-close to picking Norv Turner to lead the Cowboys, only to then turn to Phillips? Seems like a long time ago. Wade has done a great job with a team with big egos and big hopes. They are the favorite to win the NFC, but may have a big roadblock with T.O.’s ankle.
Tom Coughlin (Giants) – I am sure not a popular choice, but he’s now led the Giants to three straight playoff showings, and has done it with a team that had no defense the first two weeks of the season, and the usual up and down play of Eli Manning. He deserves a long term deal to stay in the Big Apple for at least 2-3 more seasons.
Jon Gruden (Buccaneers) – A coach that no one is talking about who also was on the hot seat last season, Gruden has revamped the Bucs D and the offense found new life with Jeff Garcia at QB and Earnest Graham filling in at running back. For sure Gruden proved his worth this season as a quality head coach that can do more than look like the doll from Child’s Play.
AFC Coach of the Year
Jack Del Rio (Jaguars) – Remember when people were calling Del Rio crazy for dumping starting QB Byron Leftwich a week before opening day? Of course not, because David Garrard has turned into a Pro Bowl type QB in just one season, playing mistake free and making big plays when he has to. The Jags are a dangerous team, and one that the Colts and Pats do not want to see in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Others to be considered:
Romeo Crennel (Browns) – They may miss the playoffs, but nevertheless, Romeo has stayed with the program, and turned the Browns from a 4-win team likely into a 10-win team in one season. They still have issues on defense they will address in the offseason, but how can you not like that Braylon Edwards-Kellen Winslow pass catching combo. The O-line has also been a strong point for the first time in many, many years.
Bill Belichick (Patriots) – Sure he’s got the most talented roster in the league, but it’s also about how he has managed that talent, and how he’s been able to get this group to maintain it’s focus the entire season. It is really hard to think that this team will be losing between now and when they hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Glendale in early February.