I love the Coach of the Year award, particularly in the pre-season. That’s mostly because it’s such an impossible award to predict.
- In 2012, I selected Mike Mularkey as my pick. That turned out be very, very wrong, but in COTY predicting, it’s win or go home, so swinging for the fences makes sense.
- In 2013, I selected Sean Payton; unfortunately for him, a playoff berth was not enough to get him Coach of the Year. That honor instead went to Ron Rivera.
- In 2014, I chose … Jay Gruden. Washington went 4-12.
- In 2015, I chose Dan Quinn. That looked good after a 6-1 start, but Atlanta finished just 8-8.
The reason this award is so hard to pick is because in some ways, every coach is on an even playing field in week 1. The winner of this award is the one who usually exceeds expectations the most, so there is a natural equalizer in place. Last year’s winner was Ron Rivera, again, as his Panthers went a surprising 15-1 and wildly exceeded expectations.
Below are the current odds for 2016 Coach of the Year, along with each coach’s percent chance of winning the award once you remove the vig:
|Rk||Head Coach||Odds||Vig-less Perc|
|9||Jack Del Rio||18/1||3.7%|
The heavy favorites are sucker’s bets, I think. After all, the 8 coaches with the best odds are all on returning playoff teams. Jacksonville and Oakland are the sexy sleeper picks this year, so no surprise that Del Rio and Bradley are tied for 9th as the first coaches of non-playoff teams.
But in my opinion, the odds here should be much flatter. So if I was a betting man, I would certainly rather put money on a coach with 50/1 odds or better. But even if I wasn’t getting odds, I think I’m still going with Bill O’Brien this year. Houston was good last year, but if Brock Osweiler hits, and Jadeveon Clowney turns into a star, O’Brien’s Texans will look very good. I think we’ll see O’Brien getting the bulk of the credit for any success in Houston this year, and he’s as good a choice as any.
Who do you like? A team like Dallas is a great bet to exceed their 2015 wins total, but that is already priced into Jason Garrett’s odds. And I don’t feel too great about any of the other teams with low wins totals from last year. As a result, I think O’Brien is my leader, though Ben McAdoo, Dirk Koetter, and Chip Kelly are intriguing picks, too. And, of course, I can’t really disagree with Vegas on liking Bradley or Del Rio as good bets to improve their team’s 2015 wins total. The problem, I think, is that the Coach of the Year voters are already pricing in improvement, so Bradley, Del Rio, and Garrett are all going to be graded on that curve.