Every year the NFL awards one of the 32 coaches around the league with an award for the Coach of the Year. This is one of the best awards you can win as a coach. However, it doesn’t mean everything. Just three short years ago, Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, won the award. Now, Garrett is on the hot seat and appears to be on his way out unless the Cowboys make a deep playoff run. Two years ago, Sean McVay, of the Los Angeles Rams, won the award and has been viewed as one of the best young coaches for the past few years. Matt Nagy won Coach of the Year last season. Now, he is getting some criticism this year for how he has coached the Chicago Bears and Mitch Trubisky. It’s fair to say that winning the award does not assure you with job security. However, it is a significant award and should not be taken lightly. I will now list some names that should be in the running for Coach of the Year in 2019 and make my prediction on who will win the award.
Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers have had a great season. The 49ers are 10-2 and in second place in the NFC West behind Seattle. That shockingly puts them at the five seed in the NFC Playoff Picture. Meaning they will have to play on the road in a Wild Card matchup if everything remains the same. Forgetting that, San Francisco has one of the best defenses in the NFL behind rookie defensive end Nick Bosa. The 49ers were the last unbeaten team in the NFL when they were 8-0 and their only two losses are to Seattle and Baltimore, who are both 10-2. If this season continues the way it has started, Shanahan and the 49ers could be on their way to the Super Bowl.
Pete Carroll has led the Seahawks to a surprising 10-2 record. The Hawks have gone 6-0 on the road so far this year, and have the lead in the NFC West. The Seahawks have won many close games this season and a lot of that is because of great coaching by Carroll. Seattle only has a +36 point differential through 12 games, which is the lowest in NFL History for a 10-win team. The Seahawks are the two seed in the NFC and will have a first-round bye if that continues.
John Harbaugh has the Baltimore Ravens dominating the rest of the league this season. He has brought Lamar Jackson to MVP conversations in just his second year as an NFL player. Mark Ingram and the Ravens running game has been great all season long. The passing game has been just as good, if not better. The Baltimore Ravens just knocked off the 49ers in a thrilling, rainy game, which looked like a preview of the Super Bowl. The Ravens are the best in the league and have the AFC North title, and potentially a first-round bye in their sights.
As a Browns fan, it pains me to see not only the second AFC North head coach on my list but of course, he is the coach of the Browns arch-rival. All that aside, Tomlin and the Steelers are having a tremendous season. The Steelers are onto a third-string quarterback in Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges. The Steelers are 7-5 and in control of the second wild-card spot. Pittsburgh has been missing key pieces to its team at different times this season. James Conner has missed the last two games, to go along with two previous missed games. JuJu Smith-Schuster has missed has also missed the last two games. With Big Ben out and star players missing games, Tomlin has been able to get his team to play far past expectations.
Sean Payton has already won this award in 2006. He is the only coach on my list to have already won the award. Payton has his New Orleans Saints at 10-2 and far ahead of the rest of the NFC South. Most importantly, when Drew Brees injured his thumb and missed five games, Payton led his team to a 5-0 record. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played very well in that five-game span. New Orleans has won a lot of close games this season as well. The Saints only have a +50 point differential on the year, which is the fourth-lowest in NFL History for a 10-win team. The Saints are looking like they are poised to make another deep playoff run and potentially a Super Bowl run.
I think that the Ravens will continue to dominate the rest of the year. John Harbaugh will win Coach of the Year for how he has coached his young team and Lamar Jackson. He has brought the Ravens to the spot of best in the league.
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