In the NFL, finding a quality coach is difficult. Many rosters are filled with the talent required to win a Super Bowl, but it is the coach who brings the most out of his players that carries the Lombardi trophy home. This is shown through coaches like Bill Belichick, Sean McVay, and Andy Reid. Whether it is scheme, leadership, or even hard coaching, these coaches are recognized as the best in the business because they put their players in a position to succeed. With that all being said, here are the top 5 coaches to attain their first Coach of the Year hardware.
Honorable mention: Frank Reich & Freddie Kitchens
Frank Reich should be listed as an honorable mention on this list due to his transformation of the Colts offense, demonstrated by the insane 9-1 finish the Colts had to win themselves a playoff spot in the postseason. However, Reich made his bid for Coach of the Year award last year, and it would be criminal to not include him on the list because many thought he would win Coach of the Year in the past season.
Even though he is a rookie head coach, Kitchens is armed with arguably the most talented roster in the NFL. However, the team may take some time to come into form due to a recent coordinator change to Todd Monken, while there do remain uncertainties about how Steve Wilks will transform the defense.
5. John Harbaugh
Despite winning a Super Bowl as a head coach, John Harbaugh has never won Coach of the Year. However, he has always left his stamp on defense and special teams, making them an elite group during his tenure as head coach. Unfortunately, the team did not make the postseason as they were led by the mediocre quarterback play of Joe Flacco. With a new starting quarterback in Lamar Jackson and other weapons added on offense, the Ravens offense is expected to make strides during the 2019-2020 season. Also, with the addition Earl Thomas, the secondary will be more dangerous than ever before; so expect John Harbaugh to earn his spot in the Coach of the Year discussion.
4. Doug Pederson
Doug Pederson is the one coach not named Tom Coughlin to beat Belichick in the Super Bowl. He deserves plenty of credit with the development of Carson Wentz, and the overall transformation of the Eagles offense. Pederson, a brilliant offensive mind, led a journeyman in Nick Foles to win the Eagles first ever Super Bowl; leading to Nick Foles being the hottest free agent quarterback commodity in the following offseason. With the Eagles adding star wide receiver DeSean Jackson and pass rusher Malik Jackson, expect them to be well matched among their opponents in the NFC East, as they always have the ability to make a postseason run with their Super Bowl winning head coach.
3. Pete Carroll
Despite the many ups and downs as head coach, Carroll deserves credit for missing the playoffs only twice during his nine year tenure. Carroll even has a Super Bowl ring and two NFC Championships to show for his dominance as a head coach. His disciples include: Dan Quinn, Gus Bradley, Kris Richard, Robert Saleh, and Ken Norton Jr.. Carroll’s legendary philosophy of the bend-don’t-break defense changed how defense is played in the NFL and teams are starting to take notice. With the Seahawks facing another boom or bust year, Carroll’s chances of winning the award will be shown by the team’s record.
2. Sean McDermott
As the the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Sean McDermott has already earned praise for transforming the defense into a top-5 unit. However, due to inconsistent quarterback play, Buffalo finished the season with a 6-10 record. Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick from the 2018 draft, displayed massive flashes of potential as a passer while running over defenses at the same time. This offseason, Buffalo decided to help Allen with the additions of Mitch Morse, John Brown, and Cole Beasley. With the Bills up and coming offense as well as their elite defense, Sean McDermott appears to be a prime candidate for Coach of the Year.
1. Anthony Lynn
No team has been on a hotter streak than the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Anthony Lynn, who is coming off of a strong 12-4 season, brought in Nasir Adderley, Jerry Tillery, and Thomas Davis to fill all of the holes in their defense. With Gus Bradley’s defense ready to pummel offenses and the Chargers’ potent rushing and passing attack, no coach is more poised than Anthony Lynn to make a statement for Coach of the Year.