Aside from player awards, the NFL also recognizes its coaches during the annual NFL Honors. The Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year is given to the head coach who is adjudged to have had the most impressive season. The award has been handed out since the 1957 season and in the last 11 seasons, the winner has been announced at the NFL Honors held on the day before the Super Bowl.

Don Shula leads all NFL coaches with a total of four NFL Coach of the Year awards won during his 33-year NFL coaching career. Former Seattle Seahawks coach Chuck Knox and current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick each have won three awards. Last season, John Harbaugh won the award after leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 14-2 regular-season record and the #1 seed in the 2019 NFL Playoffs.

This season, Belichick is the odds on favorite to win the award at +650. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is next at +1200 while San Francisco 49ers bench tactician Kyle Shannahan is third at +1600.

Football Odds to Win the NFL’s 2020 Coach of the Year Award

Coach Odds
Bill Belichick +650
Bruce Arians +1200
Kyle Shannahan +1600
Brian Flores +1600
Kevin Stefanski +1600
Kliff Kingsbury +1800
Sean McDermott +1800
Mike Vrabel +2000
Andy Reid +2000
Frank Reich +2000

*These odds were taken from Bovada as of 05/06/20.

When Tom Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New England Patriots tumbled in the odds board. Brady had been the heart and soul of the Patriots for two decades and his departure left a big hole in the New England offense. However, even with Brady gone, New England still has a defense that can dominate the league. The Patriots signed undrafted QB Brian Lewerke and he joins a depth chart that includes Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and Cody Kessler. If the offense holds just enough this season, New England could make the playoffs and Bill Belichick will be a top contender for Coach of the Year honors.

Bruce Arians is next to Belichick in the odds board because not only does he have a Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady but he also has weapons like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Ronald Jones to pair with Brady. Tampa Bay also picked up the returning Rob Gronkowski. Gronk was always Brady’s favorite target and in Tampa Bay, he has more targets than he’s ever had in his entire career. The Bucs are in a competitive NFC South but Arians has what it takes to put the league on notice.

Kyle Shannahan transformed the San Francisco 49ers from a struggling team to one that almost won the Super Bowl. San Francisco won just four games in 2018 but they went on to post a 13-3 record in 2019 while earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The 49ers rolled with 17 point wins over the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs to set up a Super Bowl date with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brian Flores was shut out in the Coach of the Year voting last season. But the Dolphins head to the 2020 season with hope after the team won five out of their last nine games played in 2019. While the fans wanted to “Tank for Tua”, Flores completely shifted the narrative and led Miami to a strong finish in what was supposed to be a disaster season for them.

Kevin Stefanski was brought in after the Cleveland Browns fired coach Freddie Kitchens and after GM John Dorsey left his post. The former Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator will be taking over a Cleveland team that went 6-10 despite adding the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon during the offseason. The Browns have not made the playoffs since 2002 but if Baker Mayfield has a big bounce-back year and Cleveland ends their postseason slump, Stefanski is a cinch to win this award.

Football Who Wins?

Bill Belichick has a tough task ahead of him during the 2020 season. New England lost Tom Brady and right now, it looks like 2019 4th round pick Jarett Stidham will get the call to start at quarterback ahead of Brian Hoyer. But while the Stidham isn’t expected to be a good quarterback, Belichick has been installed as the betting favorite to win Coach of the Year in 2020.

During his more than two decades of coaching, Belichick has picked up a total of 237 wins with six championships. He has won three Coach of the Year awards but he’s not won the award since 2010. But that’s because he always had Brady as quarterback. Now that Brady is gone, Belichick has the opportunity to pull off a surprise. If he can lead the Patriots to the division title and perhaps win one playoff game, that could be enough to win the Coach of the Year award.

Please Note

I think Arians has a better chance because he has an offense that can win games and take his team to the playoffs. Sure, the pressure is high in Tampa Bay and Brady is already in his 40s. But given that the Bucs missed the playoffs last season, Arians will be in consideration if his team makes the postseason.

In 26 out of the last 31 seasons, the Coach of the Year winner missed the playoffs in the previous year. If you want to narrow that down, seven out of the last nine winners missed the postseason in the previous season. If we follow this trend, then Belichick and Shanahan are out of the picture.

Tom Brady will be 43 when the season starts and Rob Gronkowski will be rusty when he comes back. Tampa Bay’s defense still needs to improve on its 2019 performance but Arians is in the best position to win this award. I believe he will be the man to guide the Buccaneers to relevancy in 2020.

Prediction: Bruce Arians +1200

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