Earlier this off-season we detailed which NFL head coaches were on the hot seat by detailing the odds of being the first coach to be fired. There’s always a lot of pressure on the Cowboys head coach, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that Jason Garrett (+200) is the overwhelming favorite to be first on the chopping block.
While it can be easy to get caught up in negativity and pessimism when discussing NFL coaching, it’s important to reward those who do their job well. Last season “Riverboat” Ron Rivera led the Carolina Panthers to a 12-4 record en route to his first AP Coach of the Year award, however, he was not listed as one of the ten options when BetOnline posted 2014 Coach of the Year odds.
Three-time Coach of the Year Bill Belichick (2003, 2007, 2010) is currently listed as the favorite to win this award at +800. Although Belichick is always a force to be reckoned with, he does not fit the prototypical criteria for Coach of the Year. Historically this award has been given not necessarily to the head coach of the best team, but rather the team that has the biggest turnaround from the previous season.
The table below displays the past ten award winners along with their team wins the previous season.
|Year||Coach||Team||Record||Previous Year Record||Difference|
|2013||Ron Rivera||Carolina Panthers||12-4||7-9||+5|
|2012||Bruce Arians||Indianapolis Colts||9-3||2-14||+7|
|2011||Jim Harbaugh||San Francisco 49ers||13-3||6-10||+7|
|2010||Bill Belichick||New England Patriots||14-2||10-6||+4|
|2009||Marvin Lewis||Cincinnati Bengals||10-6||4-11||+6|
|2008||Mike Smith||Atlanta Falcons||11-5||4-12||+7|
|2007||Bill Belichick||New England Patriots||16-0||12-4||+4|
|2006||Sean Payton||New Orleans Saints||10-6||3-13||+7|
|2005||Lovie Smith||Chicago Bears||11-5||5-11||+6|
|2004||Marty Schottenheimer||San Diego Chargers||12-4||4-12||+8|
It’s fascinating to see that the average AP Coach of the Year guides their team to an improvement of 6.1 games. It becomes even more intriguing when you realize that nearly all of the coaches listed at BetOnline made the playoffs last season with the exception of Mike Smith in Atlanta and Bill O’Brien in Houston. What’s even more interesting is that the odds of Mike Smith being the first head coach to be fired (+1200) are greater than the odds that he wins Coach of the Year (+1800).
Considering that the recent history indicates that the 2014-15 NFL Coach of the Year will come from a team that missed the playoffs last season, there really should be more than two candidates fitting this criterion. It’s also interesting that there are only odds available for ten of thirty two coaches with no option to bet on the field. Although there doesn’t seem to be any value on the candidates, the table below displays the current odds at BetOnline.
|Bill Belichick||New England Patriots||+800|
|John Fox||Denver Broncos||+1000|
|Pete Carroll||Seattle Seahawks||+1200|
|Sean Payton||New Orleans Saints||+1200|
|Chip Kelly||Philadelphia Eagles||+1400|
|Jim Harbaugh||San Francisco Giants||+1400|
|Mike McCarthy||Green Bay Packers||+1400|
|Mike Smith||Atlanta Falcons||+1800|
|Bill O'Brien||Houston Texans||+2000|
|Chuck Pagano||Indianapolis Colts||+2200|
11/4/14 Update: Early on Tuesday morning, Bovada updated their Coach of the Year odds with Bruce Arians (+125) listed as the clear-cut favorite. Considering the Cardinals currently boast an NFC-best 7-1 record despite QB Carson Palmer missing three games due to injury, it’s easy to see why oddsmakers like Arians. It’s also interesting to see pre-season favorites like Pete Carroll, Sean Payton, Jim Harbaugh and Mike McCarthy removed as options.
The fact that Atlanta head coach Mike Smith was originally listed at +1800 to win this award now seems laughable. Smith is definitely in contention to be the next coach to be fired and might not even make it through the season.
The table below displays the current Coach of the Year odds from Bovada:
NFL Coach of the Year Odds via Bovada B Arians: +125 B Belichick: +400 C Kelly: +450 A Reid: +500 J Caldwell: +900 J Fisher & J Fox: +1200
— SportsInsights.com (@SportsInsights) November 4, 2014
Who do you think will be the 2014-15 NFL Coach of the Year? Do you think any of the listed options are being undervalued? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.