Awarded annually the NFL coach of the year award is given to the head coach who has been able to accomplish most from the personnel around him and received the best results from what he has at his disposal. Previous head coaches to take home the hardware include Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, and Marvin Lewis. Most recently, Ron Rivera and Bruce Arians have each taken home the hardware twice in the last four years. With Arians and Rivera’s Cardinals and Panthers both struggling in 2016, the award will be looking for a new home. This season the race is not as clear-cut as in past seasons.
Garrett has been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys since 2010. In those six-plus seasons at the helm for the Cowboys, Garrett has had his ups and downs landing himself on the hot seat multiple times. Last season, Garrett has the look of the favorite to take home coach of the year honors following a season that saw his Cowboys improve by nine wins. The nine-win improvement was how he was able to do so. Coming into the season with a rookie quarterback leading this team following the pre-season injury to Tony Romo, the arrival of another rookie rusher in Ezekiel Elliot and the numerous question marks among the defense most notably suspensions issued out to Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain.
Jack Del Rio
Brining playoff football back to Oakland for the first time since 2002 is now small feat for Coach Jack Del Rio. The Oakland Raiders have steadily improved over the last few seasons and have finally seen all their potential pay off in that of a wild card berth. If not for a season-ending injury to MVP-candidate Derek Carr the Raiders could have been viewed as serious super bowl contenders. The coaching job of Del Rio has gone a long way on this young roster giving them a five-win improvement from a season ago and throwing Del Rio’s name into the ring for coach of the year.
The coaching job that Bill Belichick has done for the New England Patriots year in and year out can’t be understated. It has almost become expected that the Patriots are going to end up at the very least the AFC Championship game and so it is easy to overlook the head coach especially with a hall of fame quarterback at the helm. This season guiding a team with three different quarterbacks through the first five games of the season and going 3-1 in Tom Brady’s absence exhibited perhaps Belichick’s finest coaching job yet. Not to mention having Tom Brady in his age 39 season turn in another MVP performance in large part to Belichick’s coaching ability. A perennial candidate Belichick is always a strong contender for the award.
Perhaps the most underrated coaching performance of the season came from Ben McAdoo, the newly promoted head coach of the New York Giants. In his first season at the helm, he turned a six-win Giants team to an eleven win playoff bound Giants squad. If not for the Cowboys and their dominance in the league the Giants may have been viewed as one of the beasts in the east that could go on to win the super bowl.
A three-win improvement from a season ago may not seem like a big deal but what Quinn was able to do with the pieces around him certainly was. Quinn a defensive guru was able to turn Atlanta a team that has been viewed as a high power offense with very little to offer defensively into a well-rounded team. Budding star Vic Beasely Jr. had a breakout season while Matt Ryan emerged into a legitimate MVP-candidate. Quinn has turned Atlanta into a team that looks to compete for seasons to come with 2016 being only the beginning.
Winner: Jason Garret
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