FOXBORO, Mass. — Amid all of the talk over Tom Brady leading the MVP race, there's a different key contributor who deserves huge consideration for yet another individual award that very few people in the Patriots' organization care about.
Bill Belichick should garner some strong consideration as the NFL Coach of the Year.
Belichick, who has also doubled as the defensive coordinator, will certainly have some competition for that award, but his credentials shouldn’t be overlooked. His Patriots have built an NFL-best 10-2 record during a season when many believed they'd be retooling for the future, and the Pats have done it against an incredibly challenging schedule.
The Patriots have taken the pole position in the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and they've done so by beating some of the AFC's most powerful contenders — Baltimore, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and New York.
It also seems likely the Patriots will finish with 13 or 14 victories for the fourth time in the last eight seasons. However, the Patriots' perennial success might actually hamper Belichick's candidacy for Coach of the Year. Belichick, who won the award in 2003 and 2007, could be overlooked because he has built one of the most consistent winners of the NFL's last decade.
Meanwhile, head coaches such as Raheem Morris (Tampa Bay), Steve Spagnuolo (St. Louis), Todd Haley (Kansas City) and Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville) have led their respective teams to massive turnarounds, and each is contending for the playoffs. Head coach Mike Smith has also vaulted his Falcons to the top of the NFC standings and will earn consideration, as well.
However, Belichick's candidacy shouldn’t just be built on key victories. He's got an amazing handle on the pulse of the locker room, giving his players days off when they need it and taking it easy on them in practice during a stretch of overly physical games. The players were also immensely appreciative of the way Belichick handled their flat performance against the Browns, choosing to go easy on them in the next day's meetings instead of going into a screaming rampage. His players have responded to that loss by stringing together a four-game winning streak.
And while the players might have been spinning in bouts of confusion after the trade of Randy Moss, Belichick and the captains kept the room in order while rebuilding a more efficient offensive philosophy.
Because of these reasons, Belichick should win the NFL's Coach of the Year award next month.
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