Earlier this week, we laid out the odds for the first NFL coach likely to be fired. Now, we look at the opposite and determine which head coach will win NFL Coach of the Year this season.
Let’s consider the odds and give our best bets and sleeper picks.
- Brandon Staley, Chargers +1400
- Brian Daboll, Giants +1600
- Nathaniel Hackett, Broncos +1600
- Mike McDaniel, Dolphins +1600
- Dan Campbell, Lions +1600
- Kevin O’Connell, Vikings +1600
- Kyle Shanahan, 49ers +1800
- Josh McDaniels, Raiders +1800
- Doug Pederson, Jaguars +1800
- Nick Sirianni, Eagles +1800
- Sean McDermott, Bills +1800
- Frank Reich, Colts +2000
- Kevin Stefanski, Browns +2200
- Matt Lafleur, Packers +2200
- Bill Belichick, Patriots +2200
- Mike Vrabel, Titans +2500
- Sean McVay, Rams +2500
- John Harbaugh, Ravens +2500
- Todd Bowles, Bucs +2800
- Zac Taylor, Bengals +2800
- Ron Rivera, Commanders +2800
- Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals +2800
- Dennis Allen, Saints +2800
- Matt Rhule, Panthers +2800
- Robert Saleh, Jets +2800
- Mike Tomlin, Steelers +2800
- Andy Reid, Chiefs +3300
- Mike McCarthy, Cowboys +4000
- Matt Eberflus, Bears +4000
- Pete Carroll, Seahawks +5000
- Lovie Smith, Texans +5000
- Arthur Smith, Falcons +5000
The former Rams OC takes over a Vikings squad much better than its regular-season record indicated last season. Eight of the Vikings’ 9 losses came by one score or less. There were several unfortunate losses in OT, and QB Kirk Cousins was forced to miss a pivotal late-season matchup against the Packers due to CoVid-19 that contributed to the team’s failure to make the postseason. Still, this Vikings squad has the talent to be a legitimate Wild Card contender and potentially contest the Packers for the division title. If O’Connell can turn the Vikings offense into the same scoring machine he orchestrated with the Rams, there’s no ceiling to how high Minnesota can go. Should the Vikings collect double-digit wins this season and grab a top Wild Card seed, then McConnell should be the favorite to win the award.
Hackett could not have asked for a better situation in his first head coaching gig. Not only does Hackett inherit a Denver defense that ranked near the top in the league in every category last season, but he has the fortune of working with QB Russell Wilson on offense. Not a bad position to be in at all. However, that’s not to say Hackett won’t have his work cut out for him. The Broncos play in the AFC West, which is, by far, the toughest division in the league. Yet, if Hackett can turn this team into a contender and clinch a Wild Card berth, his name should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year. Hackett has worked with top QBs, serving as Packers OC with Aaron Rodgers as his QB, so he should have no trouble turning this offense into a scoring machine in Denver.
The Carson Wentz experiment was a failure in Indy, and rather than give it another go, the team opted to part ways with the former Eagles QB and brought in Matt Ryan from the Falcons. Having reached a Super Bowl in 2017, Ryan is no stranger to the postseason and could be the final piece this team needs to make a deep playoff run. However, if the Colts not only clinch a postseason berth but win the AFC South, Reich should receive an immense amount of credit for guiding this team to a division title. With Jonathan Taylor looking to replicate his MVP-caliber 2021 season and a young, promising receiver in Michael Pittman, this team should have no trouble putting up points now that Ryan is at the helm. A Coach of the Year award is not out of the question, either.
This will be Mike Tomlin’s first season out of the Ben Roethlisberger era. And to say it will be the most testing will be an understatement. The first step is finding Big Ben’s replacement. In the offseason, the Steelers inked former Bears QB Mitch Trubisky to a contract and selected Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft. The two will compete with longtime backup Mason Rudolph for the starting gig, though all signs indicate that Trubisky will be awarded the initial nod. Many analysts have been quick to write off the Steelers in the wake of Big Ben’s departure, but people quickly forget this team made the postseason last year. The Steelers have a dynamic backfield led by second-year RB Najee Harris and an electrifying receiving corps behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. It wasn’t long ago that Trubisky guided the Bears to a division title – which is to say he can’t get the Steelers a playoff berth? Should Pittsburgh clinch, this may be Tomlin’s most impressive season yet. That warrants enough for Coach of the Year consideration.
It will be an interesting year for Matt Rhule. If the Panthers stumble from the onset, then Rhule could quickly find himself on the hot seat. However, if Carolina excels this season with the addition of QB Baker Mayfield, then Rhule will save his job and insert his name into the Coach of the Year award nominees. Rhule was hired with much promise, given his success at Baylor but has yet to deliver. In fairness, the team has gone through the QB carousel multiple times, failing to find a stable starter who can rack up the wins. Now, with Mayfield, Rhule has himself a QB capable of leading a team to the postseason. If star RB Christian McCaffrey can stay healthy and Mayfield can repeat his 2020 season, then Rhule will have this team on the brink of the playoffs. That may warrant enough for Coach of the Year.
Though many will write off any success Bowles has with this Bucs’ squad, he will still be working with less than what Bruce Arians has dealt with the past few seasons. Yes, Tom Brady is the GOAT, but he is also a year older and will be without his most trusted man Rob Gronkowski, who chose to retire, and beleaguered WR Antonio Brown, who quit on the team last season in epic fashion. WR Chris Godwin is still making his way back from a season-ending injury, and G Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals. On the defensive front, the Bucs lost S Jordan Whitehead, DT Ndamukong Suh, and LB Jason Pierre-Paul. Should Bowles lead this team to not only a division title but the No.1 seed in the NFC, then his name should pop up in the Coach of the Year conversation.