Thursday, February 3, 2011

Coach of the Year

Coach of the Year - In my opinion, the coach of the year award should go to the man that exemplifies the year's best cerebral assassin. The coach that can somehow make almost any undrafted player look like elite talent just by the system that coach uses. The coach of the year is the one that best motivated his roster to see beyond their shortcomings and pitfalls and rise to victory on any given Sunday. This cerebral assassin not only commands respect from all of his players, but has earned their respect as well. In saying all of this, I don't believe that Bill Belichick should have been the 2010 Coach of the Year.

Steve Spagnuolo - I know what you're saying, "Why should a coach whose team didn't even make the playoffs be Coach of the Year?". In Spagnuolo's first year of coaching, his lowly Rams went 1-15 & the only bright spot was RB Steven Jackson. In his second year, Spagnuolo has managed to motivate his team to win 6 more games and lest we forget, if it wasn't for a week 17 loss to the Seahawks, his Rams would have been in the playoffs. Just to point out facts, my favorite coach, Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 his first year and then 7-9 the following season. Two seasons later, he led the Cowboys to the Super Bowl 2 years in a row. I know it could just be coincidence, but I think Spagnuolo's work deserved an opportunity for him to be the Coach of the Year.

Raheem Morris - It's great that Raheem came in 2nd place in the voting, but he earned the right to be the 2010 Coach of the Year. In 2 years of coaching the Buccaneers, he's turned his team around from a 3-13 bottom feeder to a 10-6 team that actually made the NFC South a competitive 3 way division. But even the numbers aren't the best part of Morris's credentials. The 53 men on the Tampa Bay roster do not just play for the team, they play for their coach, Raheem Morris. Morris treats his players like men, expects them to behave like men, and in turn, they give him the respect any man would give another man.

Todd Haley - Haley is another example of a young coach who in his sophomore coaching season, has turned his team from losers(4-12 in 2009) to winners(10-6 and 1st place in their division). It will be interesting to see how the offense will operate in the absence of Charlie Weiss, but in 2010, Haley proved to be motivating enough and smart enough to be the 2010 Coach of the Year.

Rex Ryan - At the start of the season, many "pundits" wondered if LaDanian Tomlinson was washed up. Tomlinson rushed for almost 200 more yards than he did last season. Seven of the Jets' games were decided by 5 points or less and they only won 3 of those battles. Throughout most of the year, fans(myself included) and many "pundits" went from saying, "Mark Sanchez sucks.", or "The Jets really need a new QB." to "Mark Sanchez is improving.". Here's the kicker, it wasn't that Sanchez did his best Rocky impersonation and L.T. didn't find the fountain of youth, but the Jets did have the rock solid support of their heavyweight coach, Rex Ryan. Ryan did more than just motivate his team to an 11-5 record and a wildcard playoff spot. He pushed his team's buttons until they knew they were worthy of greatness as they beat the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks. On top of that, the Jets did more than just respect Rex Ryan; the entire team adopted his brash persona and I have no doubt that next year the 53 man Rex roster will be back even better than this year.

Lovie Smith - Who coached the Chicago Bears to not only become the NFC North champs, and not just to the NFC Championship, but to an 11-5 regular season record which is their best record in 4 years...Lovie Smith. Also, in my opinion, Lovie Smith is the kind of coach that will be the first one to take the blame when his team loses and the first person to shower the glory of a victory on his players instead of himself.

Mike McCarthy - The Green Bay Packers have always had to deal with injuries just like any other football team, but rarely do other teams do what the Packers have done. With 16 players currently on injured reserve, Green Bay has found the depth and testicular fortitude to not only go 10-6 in the regular season and secure a wildcard playoff spot, but they have won 3 consecutive road playoff games to make it to the Super Bowl which is the first time in 13 years. The Packers do owe their depth to the GM, but the master motivator on the sidelines who has willed the team to their victories has been Mike McCarthy.

Mike Tomlin - I don't even like the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it's unfathomable to me how anyone could not have voted Mike Tomlin the 2010 Coach of the Year. Check the man's pedigree. In the 4 years that he's been head coach, the Steelers have gone to the Super Bowl twice. For those who say, "He just inherited Bill Cowher's team.", ask Jim Caldwell how easy it is to get the same success from the same group of guys you "inherit" from another coach. In 2010, Pittsburgh only had 3 losses, 2 of those losses were by 5 points or less and the 3 teams that beat them all made it to the playoffs. In other words, Tomlin's team doesn't lose any game they're "supposed to win". Check youtube for Mike Tomlin's rant. You won't find it. I'm sure Tomlin has disagreements with his players at times, and he may fuss or even yell at them, but Tomlin does something every great coach should do, he keeps it "in house".