The Associated Press has selected Bill Belichick as the 2010 NFL Coach of the Year.
It’s Belichick’s third AP Coach of the Year award, the others coming in 2003 and 2007. As noted by Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England, Belichick joins Don Shula and Chuck Knox as the only three-time winners.
Shula actually won Coach of the Year four times, although in 1967 he split it with George Allen.
The award is based on regular season performance, and Belichick’s Patriots led the NFL in regular season wins (14). The Pats were widely written off when they traded Randy Moss to the Vikings in October. They also fielded one of the youngest defenses in football, overcame All-Pro guard Logan Mankins’ lengthy holdout, and had to deal with defensive end Ty Warren, tackle Nick Kaczur, top cornerback Leigh Bodden, and Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s year-ending injuries.
Belichick garnered 30 of the 50 votes. Raheem Morris of the Bucs was second with 11. Todd Haley of the Chiefs had 4.5.
Mike Smith (Falcons), Andy Reid (Eagles), Lovie Smith (Bears), and Steve Spagnuolo (Rams) each received one of the remaining votes.