JOSHUA KABAT – Just as I thought there was a no-brainer for NFL MVP, I felt the same for Coach of the Year. My very short list, 2 names, might be different from others, but on the other hand, I was not really impressed by any of the other coaches not on my list.
Mike Smith was named Sporting News Coach of the year. That is great but he was already coaching a team that was stacked and has been to the playoffs every year since ’08. Never mind the fact that the Falcons chump it in the playoffs every year. Well, every year until this one when they barely held on to beat the Seahawks after blowing a 20-0 halftime lead! Therefore, Mike did not make my list.
Mike Shanahan is on my short list because he had been a maligned coach since he took over that position for the Washington Redskins back in 2010. Right off the bat he had to deal with the $100 million dollar crybaby, Albert Haynesworth. Then there was the McNabb QB debacle. People began to wonder if he still had what it took to be a head coach in this league. Enter the 2012 draft. The Redskins moved up 4 spots (giving the Rams a small fortune of picks) to the 2nd pick overall to get Robert Griffin III. Then Shanahan took RB Alfred Morris in the 6th round. The result was a very potent 1-2 attack that had RGIII as the 3rd highest rated passer in the league (102.4 rating) and a rushing attack that was the best in the NFL at 169.3 per game. As the NY Giants faltered down the stretch, the Redskins did not, as they won their final 5 games to win the division with a 10-6 mark.
Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator when he took over the head coaching duties of the Indianapolis Colts October 1st, after the announcement that his friend and head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Bruce did not disappoint as he rallied his team to the playoffs behind one of the biggest turnaround seasons ever. The Colts were the worst team in the NFL after going a season without injured QB Peyton Manning. The result was a 2-14 record and the #1 pick in the draft. With that, they signed Andrew Luck and proceeded to win 9 more games than they had the previous year, making the playoffs.
Bottom line: It is hard enough to be a head coach in the NFL. It is quite another to take someone’s place a month into the season and flourish. Under Bruce, the Colts went 9-3. Not only does Bruce get my award for NFL Coach of the Year, but he was rewarded by getting the head coaching job for the Arizona Cardinals. Congratulations Coach, you deserve it!