New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is widely regarded as the best head coach of the salary cap era and likely ever other era of professional football as well. However, despite his numerous accomplishments – both in terms of winning and staying ahead of the NFL curve – there is one accolade Belichick does not win as frequently as he should.
No, we are not talking about the Lombardi trophy (although another one, two or five would surely look good in the Patriots’ trophy case). Instead, we are talking about an award that should be Belichick’s to lose.
Every. Single. Year.
Of course, the accolade we are talking about is the Coach of the Year title. Even though his teams have consistently been among the top in the league and have won four titles, Belichick has won the award only three times over the course of his 16 seasons in New England.
He did not win in 2014, when his team had the NFL’s best record and subsequently won the Super Bowl. He did not win in 2011, when he was able to get one of the league’s least talented defenses within minutes of winning another title. He did not win in 2008, when he tied for first place in the division despite losing Tom Brady before the season’s first quarter was over.
And according to Bovada, he is not expected to win this year either. In fact, Belichick is only tied for the fourth-best odds to win Coach of the Year in 2016:
Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals) 15/2
Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings) 15/2
Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers) 9/1
Bill Belichick (New England Patriots 10/1
Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers) 10/1
Of course, this leads to the question what in the world Belichick has to do to win the award or at least enter the season as the favorite to do just that? The answer is simple: he needs to have his team be head and shoulders above anybody else’s – like he did when he won in 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Despite consistently being the NFL’s best coach for more than a decade, Belichick needs to stand out even further to win Coach of the Year because neither does he lead his team from being the worst to being barely average (Mike Smith, 2008) nor does he “suddenly” hit the scene and be successful (Bruce Arians, 2014). In short: he is measured on a different scale than other coaches given his past success.
Belichick is the same year in and year out. He always gets his teams to perform at the highest level and competing for the Super Bowl. He is the best coach in the NFL and therefore should win Coach of the Year every season. He is boring – and that is exactly why the voters fail or do not want to really recognize Belichick’s greatness.
Because it consistently is on display.
Every. Single. Year.