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Who’s The NFL Coach of the Year Favorite?

  • The Draft Network
  • November 16, 2021
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The 2021 NFL season has officially passed its halfway point and the award scene is beginning to take shape. Several head coaches are having profound impacts on their teams while attempting to secure a place in Super Bowl LVI. Overcoming adversity is a trait a strong head coach must possess and we've seen an impressive amount of head honchos expand their wings in that department throughout the new campaign.

The NFL futures prop betting landscape for the 2021 Coach of the Year is jam-packed with reliable and deserving candidates. BetOnline recently updated their odds and included the following coaches:

  • Mike Vrabel (+175)
  • Bill Belichick (+500)
  • Mike McCarthy (+750)
  • Kliff Kingsbury (+750)
  • Sean McDermott (+1200)
  • Brandon Staley (+1200)
  • Matt LaFleur (+1400)
  • Zac Taylor (+1600)
  • Sean McVay (+1800)
  • Sean Payton (+2500)
  • Matt Rhule (+3300)
  • John Harbaugh (+5000)
  • Ron Rivera (+5000)
  • Frank Reich (+5000)
  • Arthur Smith (+5000)
  • Joe Judge (+6600)

Continuity is a theme that is ever-present all throughout this list. Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is the lone first-year coach that appears capable of seizing this great honor. The majority of the candidates are well established veterans that have been allowed to graciously grow into their roles. We've singled out three coaches in particular that strike us as noteworthy.

THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: MIKE VRABEL

It’s easy to understand why Vrabel is considered the favorite by oddsmakers. Vrabel has led the Titans to an astounding eight victories through 10 weeks, as they continue to embark on an active six-game winning streak. A win over the lowly Houston Texans on Sunday would guarantee the Titans a winning record for the sixth consecutive season, a feat the franchise hasn't accomplished since 1987-1993.

The ability to overcome injuries and adversity requires a strong leadership base. Many analysts wrote the Titans off after superstar running back Derrick Henry suffered an unfortunate foot injury in Week 7 that will now keep him out for an indefinite time period. The Titans responded by winning both of their contests since losing Henry, including an impressive road victory over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. On the topic of injuries, no team has dealt with more throughout the season. The Titans have astoundingly utilized the services of 82 players in their opening 10 contests. The NFL’s all-time record is 84, and the Titans have seven games remaining. They're unfortunately going to shatter this record, but they continue to win games while refusing to make excuses.

The Titans have taken on the no-nonsense personality of their head coach. If things keep trending in this direction for the Titans, Vrabel is unquestionably deserving of this honor.

IN THE HUNT: BILL BELICHICK

The New England Patriots have experienced a stark turnaround of their season in recent weeks. Winners of four consecutive contests, the Patriots have miraculously crawled out of the basement in the AFC and now appear poised to threaten the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East divisional crown. 

The shine was starting to wear off on Belichick following last year's disappointing 7-9 campaign in the wake of Tom Brady's departure, but Belichick has quickly revamped and constructed an impressive roster that has the capability to hang with any team in the AFC. Belichick's Patriots have delivered an incredible storyline in recent weeks and have the look of a physical team that can outlast their opponents in January and February. The recipe includes an effective running back by committee approach, an efficient pocket passer, and a relentless defense. Make no mistake, Belichick is the master chef and it's coming together beautifully.

If New England does indeed win the AFC East or qualify for the playoffs, Belichick would be more than worthy of winning this award for the fourth time in his illustrious career.

DARK HORSE: MATT LAFLEUR

Currently viewed as the seventh-likeliest candidate by BetOnline, we're having a difficult time understanding why LaFleur is ranked so low. It's especially interesting to see LaFleur trailing Kingsbury by a healthy margin given that LaFleur's Packers recently defeated Kingsbury's Cardinals on primetime and in Arizona despite dealing with a shortage issue at wide receiver due to COVID-related protocols. Looking past even that impressive victory, the Packers are atop the NFC (and NFL, really) at 8-2, and currently hold the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

LaFleur has quickly established himself as one of the best head coaches in the league since taking the Green Bay job back in 2019. Now midway through his third campaign in charge, LaFleur has compiled an incredible record of 34-8 as a head coach, which equates to an astonishing win percentage of 81%. If the Packers secure first place in the NFC, the argument for LaFleur is a compelling one.

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