PFT’s coach of the year

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What makes a coach of the year?  Typically, it’s the guy who exceeded the loose preseason expectations for his team the most.  Often, the assessment is influenced by the manner in which the coach overcomes unexpected adversity along the way.

This year, the adversity in Arizona was both unexpected and in some ways unprecedented.

Bruce Arians held his team together through a seemingly endless supply of injuries, which came after an offseason that saw the defection of linebacker Karlos Dansby and the full-season suspension of linebacker Daryl Washington.  Most importantly, the Cardinals lost starting quarterback Carson Palmer, twice.

First, it was a dead nerve in his shoulder, which caused Palmer to miss more than a month.  Second, it was a torn ACL that knocked him out for the year.

Then came a knee injury followed by an infection that shelved far-better-than-expected backup Drew Stanton, forcing the Cardinals to try to hold it together down the stretch with Ryan Lindley.

The end result was a one-game improvement over the team’s 10-6 finish in 2013, along with a playoff berth.  And it’s Arians, who has a way of getting the most out of his players by expressing over-the-top confidence in their abilities and expecting that the next man up will get the job done, who deserves to be recognized as the NFL’s coach of the year.

Other finalists were Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.  Cast your vote below for the award, and share you views in the comments.

94 responses to “PFT’s coach of the year

  1. Maybe Zimmer in Minnesota? Lose the best RB in the league, your starting QB, 3 O Line starters, and make an absolute dismal defense respectable.

  2. Give me a break, he had a good team in 2013 and slightly improved it this season.
    His biggest downfall was not securing a viable qb after both his starter and backup went down.

  3. 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    MVP-Lavonte David

    Offensive player of the year: Mike Evans

    Defensive player of the year: Gerald McCoy

    Comeback player of the year: Doug Martin

    Coach of the year: Lovie Smith

    Super Bowl MVP: Mike Glennon

  4. Personally I think he’s the greatest coach in any sport of all time. Not to mention he should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. I’d hope a new award for greatest human being and leader of men is created just for Bruce Arians. Bruce the Great.

  5. If he’s coach of the year, how come he didn’t coach Lindley? Lindley didn’t get better, he regressed.

    Palmer team MVP, OK. Arians coach of the year? I don’t see it. Sorry.

  6. The same Arizona that lost 4 of their last 6 regular season games and got dismantled in their Wildcard game? Yep, he held them together well.

  7. I vote for Arians, just edging out Belichick. He had a really special year and he gave everything he had to support his players to the max no matter what each week’s flavor of adversity was. Solid list of nominations to receive the short-straw of this empowering award process; no losers here.

  8. Bill Belichick

    2-2

    “they’re not GOOD anymore

    the response: rolling over six teams with a winning record:

    Cincy
    Buffalo
    Denver
    Indy
    Detroit
    San Diego

    Four of those six are playoff teams

    #BB:BestCoachEvah!

  9. I cannot believe that Mike Zimmer was not in this conversation. He’s a rookie head coach who lost his superstar RB, started a rookie QB, had numerous injuries on his O and D lines, and made the defense a top 10 unit, and he still improved the Vikings reord from the previous year. Arians is a good coach, and maybe he deserves this, but Zimmer has done more than enough to be included in the discussion……give the guy some props….geez

  10. 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    MVP-Lavonte David

    Offensive player of the year: Mike Evans

    Defensive player of the year: Gerald McCoy

    Comeback player of the year: Doug Martin

    Coach of the year: Lovie Smith

    Super Bowl MVP: Mike Glennon

    0 3 i Rate This

    Report comment

    you have to atleast win 3 games……..good grief

  11. How can it not be Pete Carroll or Bill Belicheck’s?

    Best record
    Seattle had far more defections.
    Patriots had more early adversity

    Oh and did I say best records?

  12. I don’t know about this one. Sure he did a great job holding a team ravaged by injuries together, but the fact that he sent his team out to take the field with Ryan Lindley under centre when there were much much better options to start at QB to be found at basically any homeless shelter in America, has got to weigh against him.

    Arians refused to recognize that he could have walked into any McDonalds and taken the first employee that waited on him ( male or female ) whether they even knew what football was or not and started a far superior QB to Ryan Lindley.

    Arians could have played QB himself. He could have got his grandmother liquored up and sent her out to play QB. Both would have been better options than Lindley.

    That mistake is just too big of one for me to consider him as coach of the year. I’m a Patriots fan but I would have to say Garrett should have won it.

  13. Uh, Pete Carroll anyone? Defending Super Bowl champions, massive expectations, midseason crisis and to end on a 6 game winning streak is pretty impressive.

    Arians could’ve gone 8-8 and he’d still gloat; they have no expectations in AZ.

  14. Mike Zimmer!?

    His team finished 7-9… sub .500… 4 games short of the playoffs… third in the division.

    I don’t care who he lost or how bad the players were before he got there. Coach of the year should have achieved something.

    Bill O’Brien turned a 2-14 team into a playoff contender… Mike Zimmer!?

  15. Good choice. The Cardinals lost many more players than were mentioned in the article. It was downright bizarre how the team kept winning.

    You have to hand it to Arians and the coaching staff for that.

    A case could be made for Pete Carroll, especially after the Percy Harvin situation & how the team rebounded so well. But Seahawks fans have established their entire team are future Hall of Famers, so I’d say Arians did more with less.

  16. Zimmer clearly would have won it but for the inflated expectations of an unimpeded march to a SuperBowl victory (first of many, by the way) from the hallucinating Vikings trolls around here.

    That poisoned the well when the guy actually accomplished something up there.

  17. 12-4 Cowboys? Come on- has to be Garrett. Not to mention defeating the Seahawks in Seattle, no less.

  18. Can’t disaree with that, what he did this year was crazy. I don’t even count Carson Palmer as a good qb either he’s just a little better then the other qbs they were throwing out there. Jim Caldwell was for sure the runner up, I see a big jump for the offense next year being year 2 with the new offense and Lombardi giving stafford more of a leash too, cause let’s face it, stafford was at his best when they were loosing with time running out and they were forced to let him sling it around. I’ve always said it tho, coaches get too much credit for winning and to much blame for loosing

  19. Agreed on Ariana.

    Not on Caldwell. There was little to do to improve the D, and he and Lombardi fielded a poor and ineffective offensive strategy even when healthy.
    See… the entire last half of the season…. and the game against Cowboys. Blown opportunities.

    The Lions… not the Refs… lost that game.
    Seemed CLUELESS down the stretch.

  20. Dwarftosser McCarthy and other winning coaches don’t get credit for, well you know, winning. Coach of the year awards remind me of MLB HoF voting. More of a popularity contest.

  21. Jason Garret is coach of the year. Everyone predicted a losing record for the Cowboys. They lost Hatcher, Lee, Ware and there was noting but people in the media talking about how bad Dallas was going to be terrible.

    12-4, 8-0 on the road deserves to be coach of the year.

  22. How about a little consideration for Bill O’Brien?

    His first three QBs go down, he signs a guy hunting deer and wins two games with the guy. Loses his starting RB for several games, as well as his star WR.

    Lost SEVERAL starters to free agency before the season who are playing well on other teams.

    Had ZERO production about of his 1st AND 3rd round picks.

    He still managed to bring the team to 9-7 and landed one spot out of the playoffs.

  23. folkcrusader says:
    Jan 10, 2015 10:35 AM
    If he’s coach of the year, how come he didn’t coach Lindley? Lindley didn’t get better, he regressed.

    Regressed? How do you “regress” from zero? The kid can’t play, period.

    How did all of the other teams do that had to start a player from their practice squad at QB in a playoff game?

  24. Mike Zimmer ????? …. let’s get real here…. below .500….put up a whopping 13 points on a awful Bears team that had already packed it in for the season in the final game….5th easiest schedule in the NFL this year….lowest strength of victory in the NFC, only better than Houston in the entire NFL …. what a spectacular coach

  25. He’s so awesome of a coach, yet were one-and-done in the playoffs and they lost their last three games of the season. Belichick and Carroll deserve it more.

  26. Pete Carroll made what many seemed to think was an unthinkable decision to trade the teams “best WR” because he was becoming a distraction. The Seahawks immediately lost their next game to fall to 3-3, and the media was saying Seattle’s run was all over.

    All that’s happened since then is the team went on to a 9-1 finish.

    That one move makes Carroll at least a COY candidate. Arians is certainly deserving, and the other names belong on the list as well, but Carroll at least deserves consideration.

  27. I hate when people do the intro caveat, but I’m a Vikings fan. Zimmer did a great job, but coach of the year discussion? Let’s calm down, maybe an honorable mention.

    That said I truly dislike the Cowboys franchise- Garrett should get this honor hands down. At the start of the season most people, including myself, and media expected the boys to be bidding for a top 3 pick. Today I wouldn’t be surprised if they roll into Lambeau and win. Still more likely rodgers has some Favre in him and is milking it; which means the packas put up 40, but I would not be shocked by a boys win

  28. How do you not include Bill O’Brien as a finalist? He took a 2-14 team with the same personnel and no QB to within one quarter of the NFL Playoffs and a 9-7 record.

  29. Rather be gunning for the Lombardi than accepting a (award?) from PFT.
    Not to take away too much from PFT and Coach Arians though; your heart is in the right place…

  30. Only Viking fans think Zimmer should be considered. His team beat many of the worst teams in the NFL, most by narrow margins.

    Next year, when the Vikings go 3-13, Zimmer will be shown the door.

  31. Harbaugh has 16 players on IR, has gone through 7 CB’s, lost Pitta for the season, won a road playoff game with two rookie tackles, and let’s not forget about all of the Rice fiasco… Coach of the a year hands down. People won’t vote for him though simply because it’s Baltimore.

  32. xavier179 says:
    Jan 10, 2015 10:29 AM
    Give me a break, he had a good team in 2013 and slightly improved it this season. His biggest downfall was not securing a viable qb after both his starter and backup went down.
    ————————————————–

    I suspect that any objective football fan would have difficulty with your statement. There are not enough “viable” quaterbacks to be starters in this league (meaning 32) much less having 3 all on the same team. In most cases, even the second string guy is merely a stopgap and in no way would be expected to get a team to the playoffs.

  33. “Coach Ron Rivera who pretty much turned the Panthers around from all the mishaps this season to contenders!!!!”

    Panthers contenders ? That’s a laugher. They play in what is currently the worst division in football and would not have even sniffed the playoffs in any other division.

    Yeah, they got lucky last week but I expect Seattle to crush the Panthers this week and send them home whimpering.

  34. LOL @ the comment about “if he’s so great why didn’t he get a viable QB for the playoffs” or “why didn’t he succeed with Ryan Lindley”

    Yes, shame on Arians for not going out and securing a QB from the massive unemployed QB pool.

  35. Drew Stanton 2014 stats; 240 attempts, 132 completions, 55.0 completion avg., 7 tds, 5 ints., 78.7 QB rating. “Far better than expected”? How bad was he expected to be?

    And let’s not forget that the Cardinals ‘were forced to rely on Ryan Lindley’ because Arians searched him out and signed him, instead of an actual NFL QB.

  36. How can you people even suggest Garrett as coach of the year? They have been steadily TAKING AWAY his control and say over many things.

    If anything, that’s the reason they are succeeding now.

  37. Pete Carroll/John Schneider

    2010 – 1st – Russell Okung (Pro Bowler), Earl Thomas (3x Pro Bowler, 3x All Pro), 2nd Golden Tate, 4th Walter Thurmond, 5th Kam Chancellor (2x Pro Bowler), Acquired Marshawn Lynch (4x Pro Bowler, 2012 1st team All-Pro) for two 4th round picks. Acquired Leon Washington who went to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner.

    2011 – 1st James Carpenter, 4th KJ Wright, 5th Richard Sherman (Pro Bowler, 2x 1st team All Pro), 6th Byron Maxwell, 7th Malcolm Smith (Super Bowl MVP), UDFA Doug Baldwin.

    2012 – 1st Bruce Irvin, 2nd Bobby Wagner, 3rd Russell Wilson (2x Pro Bowler), 4th Jaye Howard (starter in KC), 6th Jeremy Lane, 7th J.R. Sweezy, UDFA Jermaine Kearse.

    2013 – 3rd Jordan Hill (5 sacks 2014), 5th Tharold Simon (nickel CB), 5th Luke Wilson (starting TE), UDFA Alvin Bailey.

    2014 – 2nd Paul Richardson, 2nd Justin Britt, UDFA Brock Coyle.

    W-L record 2010-2014: 54-32, 3 Division Championships, 4 playoff appearances in 5 seasons, 1 conference Championship and 1 Super Bowl Championship.

    Zero Coach of the year awards. Zero Executive of the Year Awards.

    You figure it out.

  38. purpleten says:
    Jan 10, 2015 10:37 AM
    I cannot believe that Mike Zimmer was not in this conversation. He’s a rookie head coach who lost his superstar RB, started a rookie QB, had numerous injuries on his O and D lines, and made the defense a top 10 unit, and he still improved the Vikings reord from the previous year. Arians is a good coach, and maybe he deserves this, but Zimmer has done more than enough to be included in the discussion……give the guy some props….geez

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    This article was posted my MF … he won’t
    He hate’s the Vikings.

  39. xavier179 says:

    His biggest downfall was not securing a viable qb after both his starter and backup went down.
    ======================================

    He still won with those non-viable qb’s. Won more games than most teams with viable qb’s.

  40. Garret Coach of the Year and Jerry Jones GM of the Year. They have built a team that will only continue to get better and will win another Super Bowl for Dallas.

  41. To those who believe it should be Belicheck or Carroll. Those guys had their Francise QB for 16 games. I’m pretty confident Cards would have gone 14-2 without loosing Palmer the second time.

    Cardinals lost Dockett, Washington, Palmer, Ellington, Zastudil for the Season. Campbell, Fitzgerald, the honey badger lost games and were banged up much of the year. Losing Dansby as a FA doesn’t really count.

    Starting a 3rd stringer( Lindley ) or a guy off the street who doesn’t know the offender should not count against him. I don’t think any team could overcome that.

    Arians is the clear Coach the Year

    But I will vote for coach that does succeed with just the 2nd stringer.

  42. Interested to know why Carroll was excluded from this list…what exactly, is the criteria for inclusion as a candidate? Bellichick but no Carroll…just crazy. Can’t you at least put a write-in box?

  43. Bellicheck shouldn’t even be on the list. Arians or Garrett in my opinion. Bellicheck wouldn’t be coaching at all without the discovery of Tom Brady. His record before him shows that.

  44. It doesn’t bother me that McCarthy isn’t on the list. After all, he’s just won the division 4 years in a row and won a Super Bowl.

    We know what we have.

    National recognition is a little unnecessary.

    I can also understand why people in minnesota are crying so much for Zimmer. After all, almost reaching .500 is a feat that few other coaches in Minnesota have reached.

  45. We need an ‘other’ choice.

    While my team’s coach doesn’t deserve coach of the year this year – I would certainly put him in the top 5 but he doesn’t get a mention.

  46. here is to rogers ending his time in the NFL as a looser as his team and that fat green pos on the side that thinks he is a hc

  47. Going to put Belichek there, should put Carroll. Superbowl hangover, slow out of the block, but once again tops in the NFC. Given the past history since the Pats back to back years ago, not too many teams have been able to follow up a Superbowl win year with a solid regular season record the next.

    Don’t get me wrong, Arians a good coach to get them to that record, but he needed to push harder to get a NFL QB in there, of any sort, for the last couple games and the playoff game.

    Maybe they win one game in the regular season with that guy instead of Lindley, and then get a bye in the first round. Maybe then they win a home playoff game and they’re a win away from the SB.

  48. Belichick ? Seriously?

    Guy with a Hall of Fame QB, Hall of Fame tight end, Hall of Fame DT, Hall of Fame CB…five Pro Bowlers.

    And with all that he won one more game than Bruce Arians did, and he didn’t have to do it in the NFC West.

    Yeah, Bill is a real magic man. However did he do it.

  49. The Vikings beat ZERO teams with a winning record. Not even one.

    But their fans think Zimmer should be a contender for coach of the year because he managed to pull off AMAZING close wins against spectacular teams like the Redskins, Bucs, and Bears.

    ….. You can’t make this stuff up.

  50. tcdeg says: Jan 10, 2015 11:03 AM

    How about a little consideration for Bill O’Brien?

    His first three QBs go down, he signs a guy hunting deer and wins two games with the guy. Loses his starting RB for several games, as well as his star WR.

    Lost SEVERAL starters to free agency before the season who are playing well on other teams.

    Had ZERO production about of his 1st AND 3rd round picks.

    He still managed to bring the team to 9-7 and landed one spot out of the playoffs.

    ________________________

    I’m a Cowboys fan and I have to agree with this. Been trying to keep up with the Texans some the last few years and I didn’t expect them to win more than two games this year.

    I’m still not convinced of Garrett. It’s pained me to have to watch him coach the past several years. And then watching JJ publicly strip most of his authority from him says a lot.

  51. Coaches I think have better arguments than Bruce Arians (no specific order):

    Bill Belichick
    Pete Carroll
    John Harbaugh
    John Fox
    Mike McCarthy
    Bill O’Brien
    Jason Garrett

    And maybe others I’m forgetting. Honestly, Arians was a run away favorite going into week 9. After week 9, his team went 4-4. Did anyone watch the second half of the season?

  52. kylexitron says: Jan 10, 2015 11:55 AM

    the fact that nobody gives any credit to Pete Carroll and John Shneider when coach/exec of the year comes up is a joke.

    ————————————————–

    Agree fully. I mean the year Schneider drafted Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson The Colts GM was given the GM of the year for drafting Andrew Luck 1sts overall. Pete Carroll’s name never gets mentioned and his team hasn’t lost a game by more than a score in about 3 years.

  53. Bill O’Brien gets no consideration….?

    Texas won 2 games last year, got almost no help from the draft, and had to play FOUR different QBs…

    And they still had a winning record and barely missed the playoffs…

  54. If you vote for anyoe besides Arians, you are either a Homer or don’t understand Football. Ariana is in year 2. Flipped a team to 10-6 last year and then 11-5 this year. The remarkable part is not just 11 wins year 2 but the injuries. I don’t see any other team that could have lost their QB and win 11 games. Only a few could lose their RB and win 11. Then other side if the ball only a few could lose two defeanive Caotains and still have a decent defense. On top of that lose Def: Campbell, Jefferson, Mathieu, Minter, Shaunassey, Kelly, Foote and others for 2-6 games. Plus Cramartie, Peterson, Bucannon, Powers at 80% or less for 4+ games. Offense Fitzy, Taylor, Fanaika, Cooper, Nikalas, Carlson, Housler, Brown, Floyd, Dwyer, Stanton, Vandereeh, for 1-6 games plus their Pro-bowl punter.
    All of that and still win 11 games. These injuries didn’t happen week 10. They started in pre-season. The Cardinals are a damn good team and are solid at depth but those injuries are more than 3 teams combined. To win what they did, how they did, with the injuries and were seriously a 2nd string QB from still being a contender is because of Coaching. Not another Coach could have done that. If they could then all the Coaches people are talking about should be 16-0. No other Coach played in as tough as a division, year 2, and injuries. There has never been a clearer Coach of the year.
    Sad that people are that ignorant in football. Garrett because Cowboys finally put together a winning season? Lol how long has he had? Same players and nada. Who did he out coach or Coach up to win? Nothing. And they lost to a second string QB Cardinals. Harbaugh? Umm fired so how? The other Harbaugh? Just now playing and barley made playoffs. So no. Belechick? Why? What did he do special? Fox? Again what special? Manning is the true Coach. Pete Caroll? He was losing halfway through the season and only won the Division because the Cardinals lost to many players. Again, no. Who? People say the Cardinals are out of the playoffs so he should not win. Well it’s for Coach of the year not playoffs. Arians should win this hands down by 90%. They only votes not for Arians is because people have never seen or don’t see the Cardinals as any type of Elite team. But that right there shows you what Arians brings to the table. He made them Good year 1. Elite year 2. And seriously could have been a Super Bowl winner if his second string QB had not been injured or any mix of the other starters.
    Congrats Arians. Thanks for the Class, Professionalism and for making the Cardinals a contender. You brought class to the NFC West which they didn’t have until you (no offense to Whiz). Carroll was the highest penalized team by leaps and bounds. He coaches cheating into his game plan. He jumps on the bench during the game to waive at fans. He is an arogance, narcasistic Ahole. Arians poops out more Class and Professionalism than Caroll can comprehend.

  55. descendency says:
    Jan 10, 2015 2:52 PM

    Coaches I think have better arguments than Bruce Arians (no specific order):

    Bill Belichick
    Pete Carroll
    John Harbaugh
    John Fox
    Mike McCarthy
    Bill O’Brien
    Jason Garrett

    And maybe others I’m forgetting. Honestly, Arians was a run away favorite going into week 9. After week 9, his team went 4-4. Did anyone watch the second half of the season?
    ==================================
    Apparently you didn’t. Carson Palmer went out for the season after week 9, when the Cardinals were 8-1. He was having a good year. Maybe that had something to do with it.

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