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McCarthy Should Be Coach Of The Year (So Of Course He Won't Be)

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McCarthy Should Be Coach Of The Year (So Of Course He Won't Be)

It's that time of year when the press that covers the National Football League starts taking stock of the jobs done by the 32 men charged with winning football games and making their cases for this coach and or that coach for the Coach of the Year award.

Now, there are several "Coach of the Year" awards, but the one that is held in the highest regard is probably the one given out by the Associated Press who, back in 1989, saw fit to give their award to Lindy Infante. So it's not like winning the award validates you as an all-time great. It just means you did an excellent job coaching your team that particular year.

A little over a month ago, conventional wisdom held that Jim Harbaugh would probably win the award for guiding a San Francisco 49ers team most thought would struggle and hover around mediocrity to a division championship that they wrapped up in early December.

Now sentiment seems to be shifting toward John Fox and the incredible run he and his Denver Broncos have been on since Fox inserted Tim Tebow into the starting lineup.

I have no problem with either of these takes. Both coaches are doing fantastic jobs with their squads.

Even after acknowledging all of the above, it's still hard for me to wrap my head around how Packers head coach Mike McCarthy doesn't deserve this award, especially if his team goes 16-0 in the regular season. (The award is voted on shortly after the conclusion of the regular season, so how a coaches team performs in the postseason is irrelevant - which, of course, is somewhat silly.)

Head coaches are judged on many things, but ultimately their job is to win football games. Not only has McCarthy's team won every game its played this year, they have done so as the defending Super Bowl champions. When Bill Belichick won the award in 2007 (a year I thought McCarthy should have won it as well) his Patriots did not come into each game as the Champs, ready to take the best shot every team could give. (Well, at least not until later in the year when it was apparent they were the best team in the league and were running over teams. Remember, the Ravens gave them a hell of a scare during a chilly Monday Night Football appearance, along with some others along the way.)

The Packers, on the other hand, have not only been circled on teams calendars during the (non-existent) offseason, the pressure has only mounted as the Packers have continued to elongate their 19 game winning streak, which now threatens to eclipse the Patriots' record 21 straight games.

Early on in the year, McCarthy saw his Pro Bowl safety lost for the year three weeks before he saw first his starting right and then left tackles go down two of the next three weeks. Then, he saw both of his starting inside linebackers go down on Thanksgiving.

No problem.

McCarthy and his staff - and let's be clear, part of being a good head coach is in your development of and working with your assistant coaches - simply inserted their replacements and carried on. Very little changed from a game planning or playcalling standpoint.

Yes, it helps that general manager Ted Thompson and the personnel department have provided quality depth. But the league is littered with underachieving and underperforming talent - just ask Eagles fans. McCarthy and his staff have their guys ready to go at a moments notice and the team doesn't miss a beat.

That's excellent coaching.

So yes, Jim Harbaugh has done a great job - but are you really Coach of the Year if you lose to the Cardinals in a game you desperately need if you want to entertain the idea of home field advantage in the playoffs?

As for John Fox, yes, he's done an excellent job of resetting his team after naming Tebow his starter. But are you really Coach of the Year because you inserted Tebow into the lineup to appease your fanbase, the idea being that once that experiment failed you could start rebuilding in earnest - only to watch as Tebowmania breaks out across the NFL? Yes, Fox has done a fantastic coaching job. Folks have praised Fox's adjustment to Tebow and the way he has "slowed down the game" to try and limit opponents possesions. I'm sorry, but why did it take Kyle Orton flaming out spectacularly for the coach to realize - hey, I don't exactly have an offensive powerhouse here.

Coach of the Year for essentially catching unexpected lightning in a bottle?

No, the choice is Mike McCarthy. His team has won every game, many of them handily. They have faced what McCarthy likes to call "adversity situations" head on and overcome every one of them.

Mike McCarthy is your Coach of the Year.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ken's picture

The fact that he's taken a defending Super Bowl Champion to 13-0 shouldn't hurt his case, it should help him. But as you mentioned, Aaron, John Fox is probably the guy to beat.

denniseckersly's picture

John Fox still has to make the playoffs. which is not a given. He also probably has to win a statement game against New England. Otherwise, I just don't know. Especially when you consider than Tebow is the one who initiated the turn around. Fox still supervised that 1-4 debacle in Sep/Oct. He also had Tebow 3rd on the depth chart

Ken's picture


I think he deserves credit for rallying that defense to elite status without an offseason (still, the Packers rolled 'em for 49 :).

I bet New England deflates their balloon, but Oakland is in free-fall mode so they still likely will get in (before being escorted in Round 1).

RyanBozz's picture

I agree McCarthy should definitely be getting more recognition for this award than he is receiving but imagine this.

We're playing with our third string qb. Jennings has missed 7 games. Starks has missed a handful and Clay Mathews has been out for over two months. That's basically the situation the Texans are in and they keep winning. So I may have to give a nod to that coaching staff and the great job they've been doing.

Ken's picture

Hard to disagree with that.

T's picture

Having the Titans, Jaguars, and winless Colts in your division sure make it easier.
Same can be said with the 49ers with the Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals.
Ditto for the Broncos with the Chargers, Chiefs, and Oakland

Phillip Ashe's picture

Good Point...But, with that thinking. Why didn't McCarthy win it last year then? Packers had 16 men on IR.

NoWayJose's picture

Hear, hear. Put it this way, if you're not giving to McCarthy this year, when are you giving it to him??

Is the award for "Coach of Most Improved Team" or "Coach Who Flat Out Kicked Ass and Took Names"? I think it should be the latter.

Harbaugh and Fox will have a fair shot to win the award with their teams at some point, but its fair to ask them to sustain that success first. If the 49ers/Broncos flame out early in the playoffs revert to 8-8 next year (a distinct possibily in both cases), how special was the coaching this year anyway?

dullgeek's picture

Last year MM didn't get coach of the year because Belicheck's team was so dominant, that it went to BB. This year, it appears the rules have changed, and again MM does not seem to be considered.

That said, I don't think this is that big of a loss. Remember that the AP is also responsible for selecting "the" National Champion in college football - which is distinct from "the" BCS National Champion. I'd rather see MM and crew worry about winning on the field than winning in the polls.


PackersRS's picture

It seems this award goes for the coach of the worst team with the best record every year. 2007 was the exception with the Patriots winning all the games. Maybe it'll happen again. And I agree with you that it should.

But, yeah, I don't think it will.

Mel's picture

It just makes sense so yes the will figure out a way not to give it to him..

Austin Auch's picture

My guess is that it will go to Fox because it will allow the press to talk more Tebow. Even if the Broncos fall short of the playoffs.

Ryeguy812's picture

AP voters are going to look historically silly voting for anyone else if the Packers do go 19-0 and win their second consecutive Super Bowl

Jer's picture

The Packers going 13-3 in 2007 after having gone 8-8 and 4-12 the previous 2 seasons is exactly the kind of season that wins Coach of the Year awards. The ONLY reason he didn't win the award that year is that BB went 16-0 and you can't vote against perfection, even if his team was a preseason favorite.

So if McCarthy himself leads his team to a perfect record, it would be brutally unfair and rediculous for him not to win the award. You'd almost have to conclude the voters had it in for him. What more would he have to do?

Pack Morris's picture

'07, when The Hoodie got the CotY... man, I remember being pissed about that. McCarthy absolutely gets the nod if he runs the (regular season) table.

Evan's picture

I don't quite get how John Fox, who only put the great and magical Tebow into the starting line up to avoid a full-blown riot in Denver, deserves the award. If he was such a great coach, then why was his team 1-4?

Bob's picture

Most awards in sports are nonesense, many people voting are influenced by their markets. Do you think anyone in Dallas, Chicago, Detoit, or Minnesota will vote for McCarthy. McCarthy could go 16-0 and he won,t win coach of the year. He didn't win it last year with what was it 6 starters placed on injured reserve and no running game.
I even heard a Chicago radio sportscaster say the Tebow was the real MVP. Why, he hates the Packers. If he has a vote be sure he will vote for Tebow. Denver's defense keeps Tebow in games for 3 quarters while he plays terrible. Then with on score at the end he's just unstoppable. Denver was better than there 1-4 start, look at the scores of those games and you will see that with a break here or there. They could easily have been 4-1. Tebow is not the MVP in Denver their defense is very good.

Kendra's picture

I can't remember which show I was watching but they were discussing 'coach of the year' honors. A few names were mentioned, including Fox, Harbaugh and Kubiak. Then someone threw out McCarthy and the analyst seemed to sigh and say "Well if the Packers go 16-0, he'd have to be in the voters minds."

McCarthy isn't the "sexy" pick because excellence is expected from this squad. Look at the news coverage, it's not even considered the 'sexy' story. They cover it because they know they must but they're struggling to find a new angle on undefeated.

I don't know how one looks back and feels the right 'coach of the year' won considering what BB and MM were working with respectively. But such is the absurd nature of voting before the playoffs. I can kind of see the point, otherwise there would be the pressure to automatically give the "COTY" award to the coach of the SB winning team. At the same time, unlike the basketball and baseball seasons, playoffs amount to about 20% of the season. That's a significant chunk of time that is being ignored.

I do think, however, that if the Packers go undefeated, I think MM stands a strong chance, especially if San Fran or Denver start to fade a bit. I think an undefeated season would be very hard for voters to ignore.

Chris's picture

Not sure John Fox will still be the frontrunner after his team gets annihilated by the Patriots on Sunday!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

And Aaron Rodgers wasn't a probowler last year. These awards carry no weight with me... Unless of course they get it right, then I'll give them credence!


jim's picture

i guess common sense isnt common. mc carthy has won every game he has coached in since the last vote for coach of the year. seems to me that he couldnt do much more than that. but then, as much as i know he deserves it, i am of the opinion that mc carthy could care less about it. fantastic coach with a fantastic staff, whether the bobble heads want to recognize him or not.

Cuphound's picture

McCarthy has taken us from that humiliating loss to Tampa Bay two years ago and that irksome loss to the Bears early last season to beating the Bears in the NFC Championship, winning the Super Bowl and then providing us with a thirteen game winning streak in the regular season. I have gone from hating this man to simply handing him a blank check.

Bottom line: If it all goes away, I'll still love him. How much more can one man be expected to deliver? I'd have been happy with just beating the Bears in the NFC Championship.

Definitely Coach of the Year. He proved the Bears Still Suck for the next half-century. It just doesn't get better than that.

Tarynfor 12's picture

John Fox will be the first coach to get the award without really coaching.

OK Tim,run when you want and try a pass here and there.

Mike McCarthy's picture

That's OK, Jim Harbaugh can have coach of the year. I'll take another Lombardi trophy.

lebowski's picture

you tell 'em Mike

dgtalmn's picture

Only real good is if a coach or player has a monetary incentive to achieve the award. As for any Packers, still seems we are ignore for anyother story. A little bit like Rodney Dangerfield "I get no respect".

Will's picture

If he is the only one to win all of his games then how is any other coach better? Win all your games then we will talk.

Pretty simple but these are the same people who think Peyton Manning should be MVP this year after not playing at all...some people are friggin idiots.....

justin's picture

What has Tebow and Fox done?
Week 9 Raiders (4-4) Palmers first game as a starter
Week 10 Chiefs (4-5)
Week 11 Jets (5-5)
Week 12 Chargers (4-7)
Week 13 Vikings (2-10)
Week 14 Bears (7-6) Against Caleb Hanie and Marion Barber!

Beat someone with starters and a winning record before we give the award to Fox for making QB change!

packeraaron's picture

Hey man, I'm with you. But click on the links in the post above to see the dissenting opinions.

bomdad's picture

John Fox for Apostle of the Year.
You have to give him credit for changing the game...back to what it was before television.

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