With just two weeks left in the regular season, the race for the NFL Coach of the Year award is tight as ever.
Each year, one NFL head coach is recognized for their exemplary performance in leading their team to success. While the award was first given out in 1957, the winner has been announced at the NFL Honors since 2011.
Normally, it is quite easy to predict which coach will take home the award. For example, last year John Harbaugh won after his Ravens had the best record in the league.
However, this time around it could realistically fall into the hands of a number of coaches. Here are our top 5 candidates for the award based on various betting odds.
NFL Coach of the Year: Top 5 Candidates
#1. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
There’s definitely a couple of options that are worthy of the top spot, but it’s tough not to give it to Stefanki’s 10-4 Browns. After leaving the OC role in Minnesota, Stefanksi has completely turned around the franchise which was known for consistently underperforming.
This is the first time the Browns have had a winning season since 2007. Just imagine the magnitude of that. 13 years without a winning record, and Stefanski comes in and changes that his first year at the helm.
Moreover, with a win against the Jets and a loss for the Colts, Ravens, or Dolphins, the Browns can secure their spot in the postseason, ending their 17 year playoff draught.
If Cleveland can close out the season 12-4 and somehow steal the AFC North away from the Steelers, Stefanksi is more than deserving of the award.
#2. Ron Rivera, Washington Football Team
Looking at Washington’s 6-8 record, this is admittedly an unlikely pick. However, Rivera has done an excellent job to put his team in a position to make the playoffs.
WFT are currently sitting atop the famously weak NFC East with just 2 games left to go. Of course, in the playoffs they will be massive underdogs no matter who they’re up against.
But in the NFL, nothing is 100%. With a strong defense built around pro-bowler and DROY probable Chase Young, Washington managed to steal wins against Pittsburgh and Seattle so perhaps they can pull off an upset in the postseason.
It is still an uphill battle for Rivera to win the award though. Considering that he’s won it twice before with Carolina, the league may be inclined to give it to a new face.
#3. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
McDermott is another strong choice for the award. The Bills are currently 11-3 and have proven they can win big games, as they have the best record against teams above .500.
Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network recently highlighted an NFL executive’s opinion on McDermott. “He’s easy to overlook, because they’ve been such a steady, progressing program.”
“But I think he still needs to get credit for a team that hadn’t been in the playoffs in very long, hadn’t won a division in very long and just won a division that’s been a monopoly for 20 years.”
Calling the AFC East a “monopoly” is no exaggeration. The last time the Bills won the division was 25 years ago in the 1995 season. In fact the last time they took the division, their current QB Josh Allen wasn’t even born yet.
#4. Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins
#5. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds to win NFL Coach of the Year (Bovada):
Kevin Stefanski +140
Ron Rivera +150
Sean McDermott +550
Brian Flores +600
Mike Tomlin +1200
Andy Reid +1800
Matt Lafleur +2000
Sean Payton +2000
Frank Reich +2500
Mike Vrabel +3500
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) December 23, 2020