The NFL coaching carousel continued to provide entertainment throughout the offseason, with faces new and old entering the ranks of head coaches in football’s top league. Five franchises hired head coaches ahead of the 2023 season, including three-first time candidates getting the bump up from their coordinator positions.
DeMeco Ryans returned to Houston as the man in charge after his rise to defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Ryans was a Defensive Rookie of the Year, Second-Team All-Pro, and two-time Pro Bowl selection as a member of the Texans during his playing career.
Meanwhile, the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles lost both coordinators to head coaching jobs after their Super Bowl defeat to the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon assumes the position recently vacated by Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona and will look to bring order to a franchise with a talented roster but not much to show for it.
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen will take over in Indianapolis after the team handed the reins over to Jeff Saturday as interim coach in 2022. That came after the departure of Frank Reich, another former Eagles’ OC who was hired in Indy. Reich himself was named head coach of the Carolina Panthers this offseason.
Finally, the big fish of the bunch was Super Bowl champion Sean Payton, leaving the television studio to take the top job in Denver. He’s tasked with getting the most out of quarterback Russell Wilson after a disappointing first season for the Broncos.
As for the Coach of the Year odds, a few new faces are expected to factor into whom the voters choose at season's end. Simply put, the teams that exceed expectations typically grant their coach serious consideration for Coach of the Year.
We’ll preview the mix of new and existing head coaches with the best and worst chances of being recognized with this honor in the 2023 season.
New York Giants coach Brian Daboll claimed the award in 2022 after leading the G-Men to their first postseason berth since 2016 and first playoff win since lifting the Lombardi Trophy in 2011.
He’s credited with turning around the career of quarterback Daniel Jones, who won nine games and posted career highs in QBR, completion percentage, passing yards per attempt, rushing yards, and rushing TDs last season.
Daboll beat out San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan for this distinction, marking the second time Shanahan has finished runner-up. His 2019 NFC champion 49ers team catapulted him into the names mentioned among the best coaches in the league, and Shanahan finished second to Baltimore’s John Harbaugh in award voting that year.
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell is the early favorite to take home Coach of the Year honors in 2023. Campbell, a former NFL tight end, found his footing as a professional head coach last year, leading Detroit to their first winning season since 2017. The Lions are favored to win the NFC North this season, which would almost guarantee that Campbell finishes among the top vote-getters for COY if they live up to expectations.
Denver’s Payton is second to Campbell on the odds list in his return to coaching after taking a season off. Payton won over 150 games in New Orleans, bringing the city its first Super Bowl victory in 2009. He inherits one of the top defenses in the league and is expected to be a good influence on Wilson while correcting the Broncos' offensive woes from a season ago.
Chicago’s Matt Eberflus and New York Jets’ coach Robert Saleh are among the favorites, and both could benefit from roster upgrades made in the offseason. Chicago got a haul of draft picks and a #1 receiver in DJ Moore from a trade with Carolina, while the Jets have been informed that they’ll have Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback for them this season.
New York’s situation still requires the two teams to agree to terms that will send Rodgers to the big city, and those haven’t been worked out yet.
Circling back to some of the names we mentioned earlier, Reich, Steichen, and Ryans are all listed with odds of +2500 or shorter to compete for the top coaching award this season. We’ll see if a new team does Reich some good while watching for the adjustments Steichen and Ryan will make in assuming full responsibility for their team’s performance.
Daboll is understandably in the bottom half of coaches predicted to win the award, mainly because only three people have ever repeated as the winner, and it’s been thirty years since that last occurred.
Joe Gibbs won back-to-back awards in 1982-83 for Washington, while the legendary Don Shula won in 1968-69 as Dolphins coach, and Allie Sherman took home awards in 1961 and ‘62 for the New York Giants.
Runner-up Kyle Shanahan is listed at +3000, along with names like Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and John Harbaugh. The latter three are dealing with teams that took a step back in performance last season and have question marks about their personnel heading into this one.
Kansas City's Andy Reid is the coach with the slimmest chance of winning 2023 Coach of the Year. The two-time Super Bowl champion has raised the bar to the point where it’d be disappointing if KC didn’t win the division and make another Super Bowl appearance.
Todd Bowles in Tampa and Mike McCarthy in Dallas also have long odds and would be surprise winners. Bowles is dealing with the aftermath of Tom Brady’s retirement for a team likely to regress, and McCarthy’s Cowboys have their work cut out for them in a tough division that sent three teams to the playoffs in 2022.
Betting on Coach of the Year is always a tricky proposition. The key is trying to figure out which teams will exceed preseason expectations. We've got 2 best bets below for you to consider.
The division that Carolina plays in gives Reich the best chance to succeed relative to his peers in 2023. He gets a fresh start for a new team that could likely take the NFC South with nine or ten wins this season.
That should be attainable, given how the Panthers played over the final two months of last year. Without knowing who will play quarterback for the team, Reich can steer this ship to a division title and will be a strong candidate for COY if he does so.
Harbaugh would become the 13th coach to win this award multiple times if he claims it again in 2023. Baltimore has had a tumultuous offseason centered around their handling of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s contract dispute.
The former MVP has requested a trade from the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but if there’s any chance he stays a Raven and can play 14+ games in 2023, Harbaugh is a steal at these odds.
Have any further questions about the NFL Coach of the Year award? Maybe you'd like to know if a head coach gets a bonus for winnings this prestigious honor. We answer this question and more below.
Whether or not the NFL Coach of the Year receives a bonus is not determined by the league itself. Instead, it is up to individual teams and their coaching staff to negotiate such incentives into their contracts. Some teams may choose to offer bonuses to their coaches for winning such an award, while others may not. Additionally, the amount of any potential bonus would likely vary from team to team and depend on a variety of factors, such as the coach's salary and the team's financial situation.
The NFL Coach of the Year is decided by a vote of a panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL. The voting takes place after the conclusion of the regular season and before the start of the playoffs. Each member of the panel casts a single vote for the coach that they believe has had the most significant impact on their team's success during the season. The coach with the most votes is then named the NFL Coach of the Year.
The criteria for selecting the Coach of the Year can vary somewhat from year to year and from voter to voter, but generally, the award is given to the coach who has best-demonstrated leadership, innovation, and a significant impact on his team's performance. Factors that may be considered include the team's win-loss record, an improvement from the previous year, overcoming adversity, and successful implementation of new strategies or systems. Ultimately, the decision is subjective and based on the opinions of the voting panel.
The first-ever NFL Coach of the Year award was presented in 1957 by the Associated Press (AP). The winner of the inaugural award was Paul Brown, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Brown led the Browns to a record of 9-2-1 during the 1957 NFL season, and they won the Eastern Conference championship. The award was not presented in subsequent seasons, but it was reintroduced in 1960 and has been given out every year since then.
The NFL team that has won the most Coach of the Year awards is the Indianapolis Colts, with a total of 7 awards. The Colts' head coaches who have won the award include Don Shula (1964), Ted Marchibroda (1975), Jim Mora (1987, 1999), Tony Dungy (2005), Bruce Arians (2012), and Chuck Pagano (2012).
Several other teams have won multiple Coach of the Year awards, including the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots, each with 6 awards, and the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Rams, each with 5 awards. The award has been won by coaches from a total of 25 different NFL teams.
Determining the greatest coach in NFL history is a matter of opinion and can be debated among fans, players, and experts. However, some of the most commonly mentioned coaches in discussions of the greatest of all time include:
Bill Belichick - With 6 Super Bowl titles as a head coach, Belichick has a strong case as the greatest NFL coach of all time. He has also won three Coach of the Year awards and has the most playoff wins of any head coach.
Vince Lombardi - Lombardi is often considered the father of modern football coaching and led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him.
Don Shula - Shula has the most wins of any NFL head coach with 347, including two Super Bowl titles. He also won the Coach of the Year award four times and led his teams to six Super Bowl appearances.
Bill Walsh - Walsh is widely regarded as one of the most innovative coaches in NFL history and is credited with creating the West Coast offense. He won three Super Bowls as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and was named Coach of the Year twice.
Paul Brown - Brown is often considered a pioneer in modern football coaching and was the first coach to use game film to scout opponents. He won seven league championships with the Cleveland Browns, including three in the NFL, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.
While these coaches are often cited as the greatest of all time, there are many other successful and accomplished coaches who could also be included in the conversation.