The 2007 NFL season is at its halfway point and a heated race for Coach of the Year is beginning to set in. Here are the stories for each.
For obvious reasons, namely the Patriots being 9-0 and having just beaten the defending champs, Belichick is in the running. However, even if the Pats go undefeated it is unlikely he will take home the award. This is thanks for the most part to the early season spy-gate controversy, but also due to the NFL’s likely hesitance to give awards to merciless cyborgs who feed on the dignity of puny humans.
His 7-1 Colts lost by only four to the already-determined greatest team to ever play the game, and that was without their best receiver! Indy is still one of the clear favorites to loom large in January, and a repeat championship would all but lock Dungy to win the award. Plus, you have to take into account how impressive it is for a 90-pound man to so fiercely lead a roster of 53 guys who could effectively use him as a toothpick.
The Giants, now 6-2, have been on a tear and many give credit to coach Coughlin for the changes he has made in himself. A coach who arguably could not have been more out of favor with his players last year, Coughlin’s apparent new-found lightheartedness has really changed the tune of this squad. Even once defiant captain Michael Strahan now loves playing for him: “He’s really changed his hard-ass ways by doing things like cancelling a spring training practice to take the team bowling. He’s even shown his funny side and become quite the prankster,” Strahan praised, “Like when he messes with my nap time by lodging hilarious items like kicking tees, athletic cups, and special teams coaches into my tooth gap.”
Although he is dealing with an ultra-talented team, you have to at least consider Philips for having the ‘Boys at 7-1 at the halfway mark. He is a first year coach who was given the task of filling the shoes of Bill Parcells while also handling the league’s most difficult personality. While we can all admit it is impossible to shut Terrell Owens up entirely, Philips has done an admirable job of keeping him happy and under control. Basically, I compare this to when a LOONEY TUNES character would jump on a stick of dynamite with a bucket in order to quell the explosion. By taking on the task of containing T.O., Philips will likely be left charred and smoking with an irreparable amount of internal damage, but he will have saved everyone else from the blast.
The Packers are now 7-1 and have silenced critics by finding ways to win each game that was supposed to be their drop-off point. In my mind, if the Pack continues even remotely along their early season path, McCarthy has to be the frontrunner for coach of the year. He has been quietly masterful on the sideline and has managed to get absolutely as much as he can out of this team. With guy’s like John Madden screaming about Brett Favre 24/7 it has been hard to fit in much praise for McCarthy, but he is certainly deserving of it. On a side note, the fanatical/love struck look in Madden’s eye every time he mentions Favre's name has me genuinely worried for the ageless quarterback’s safety.
The Lions have shown themselves to be a legitimate threat by improving to 6-2 after an absolute beat down of uber-tan Mike Shanahan’s Broncos. While Marinelli has done a superb job with this group, he will likely lose much of the credit to his team’s resurgent quarterback. John Kitna has helped turn the laughable Lions into a potent offensive threat, not unlike he has in the past in Seattle and Cincinnati. I don’t even have a joke for that. Why do teams keep letting this guy go?!
Also in the Running:
Mike Tomlin- His Steelers rolling + For once, not being deathly afraid of their head coach = Solid debut year.
Romeo Crennel- A half season with a winning record + Coaching the Browns = Damn good job.
Jeff Fischer- 6-2 record + That sweet, sweet mustache = Honorable mention in my book any day.
Andy Reid- Sure, the Eagles are 3-5 and at the bottom of the NFC East. I’m just trying to give the guy something to smile about considering the recent blow to his #1 DAD campaign.