Among the last six NFL Coach of the Year winners are Jason Garrett and Matt Nagy, who have since been fired and aren't likely to show up on a candidate list for a while.
Coach of the Year can be a strange award, and that spans all sports. At least we know the formula: A team comes out of nowhere to make the playoffs or win a division title, and the coach gets some award consideration.
It's still a hard award to analyze, since it rarely goes to the best coach. Make sense of that. Still, the Yahoo Sportsbook team took its shot at figuring out which coach could win the top award this season, using the BetMGM odds:
GREG BRAINOS: In episode 4 of “Hard Knocks,” a referee tells Lions coach Dan Campbell before a preseason tilt against the Steelers that Campbell is his favorite coach of all-time and that the NFL needs more people like him in the league. That’s no real surprise – Campbell is widely beloved by nearly everyone, including sports media. He’ll still have to earn the award, but if he’s one of a handful of names in the mix at the end of the season, voters will pick Campbell. I’ll ride with him at +1000.
MARK DRUMHELLER: Doug Pederson +1600. Lawrence is primed for a big year, and Jacksonville will cause chaos in an AFC South. Clevanalytics had an interesting nugget in their NFL preview: The top spending team in free agency saw their win total increase by an average of five games over the past five years. Fixing the Jags is no easy task, so he will get the recognition for Jacksonville’s big jump.
NICK BROMBERG: Frank Reich at +2000 is tempting. I’m bullish on the Colts’ ability to run away with the AFC South and competence at quarterback will go a long way to making that happen. A solid season from Matt Ryan complementing Jonathan Taylor will help Reich’s case for the award and show that Indianapolis could have been a factor in 2021 with a much more consistent QB.
PETER TRUSZKOWSKI: Give me Kevin O’Connell at 14-to-1 here. I’m high on the Vikings. I think Mike Zimmer held this group back as he didn’t fully utilize a great group of skill players to their highest potential. Minnesota has a chance to overtake Green Bay in the NFC North, and if a first-year coach comes in and wins his division, he’s got the inside track on winning this award.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Give me Kevin O'Connell as well. The NFC North is very winnable, two rebuilding teams and a Packers club that lost a lot of stuff. O'Connell comes from the Sean McVay tree and the Vikings have plenty of offensive firepower.
FRANK SCHWAB: We're usually looking for a coach whose team exceeded preseason expectations most (because it had to be a genius coaching job, not that preseason expectations were wrong). Still, I keep looking at Sean McDermott at +2500. There are 12 coaches with shorter odds, even though the Buffalo Bills are the Super Bowl favorite and practically a consensus to be the best team in the NFL this season. What if the Bills have some kind of 14-3 or 15-2 season? (And, to be clear, that is in their range of outcomes.) McDermott will get some COY buzz. And for a 25-to-1 shot, that’s all you can ask for.