Over the past six seasons, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has led his squad to six straight AFC Championship Games, three Super Bowl titles, and two Super Bowl victories. He has won zero Coach of the Year awards.
Five out of the past six awards have gone to coaches in the NFC; the lone exception being Bruce Arians winning as the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Now-Arizona Cardinals head coach Arians and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera have won two apiece.
Belichick is clearly the best coach in the NFL, but the expectations are so lofty that he must accomplish the impossible- a perfect or record-setting regular season- in order to win the award.
According to odds released by Bovada, there’s a good chance Belichick could achieve the necessary minimums to win Coach of the Year in 2017.
Belichick has the best odds at 7/1, followed by Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio (9/1) and Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (10/1). Panthers head coach Ron Rivera (12/1) and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (12/1) round out the top five.
Of those five players, Belichick has won three times (2003, 2007, 2010) and Rivera has won twice (2013, 2015). The other three have never won the award. On that same note, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (20/1) has never won the award, either.
These odds don’t mean too much, though.
In 2016, Arians was tied with Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as the favorites to win the award with 15/2 odds, followed by McCarthy (9/1), Belichick (10/1), and Rivera (10/1). The eventual winner, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, tied for 14th with 33/1 odds.
In 2015, Belichick led the way with 6/1 odds, followed by Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano (8/1) and Carroll (8/1), with a four-way tie at 10/1 odds with McCarthy, Arians, Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Belichick held 8/1 odds in 2014 and 7/1 odds in 2013, while I could not find odds for 2012 or 2011.
But assuming that Belichick’s odds for winning in 2012 and 2011 were similar to his odds in recent years (and why wouldn’t they be, after he won it in 2010), we’ve reached a point where it’s more likely for Belichick to have won an award than to have missed out every season.
If we give Belichick 8/1 odds of winning Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2011, he had a 52.1% chance of winning at least once from 2011-16, or little better than a coin flip. Based on his current 2017 odds, Belichick odds of winning at least once increase to 58.1%.
Of course, only two of the past 25 winners of the award have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in the same year (1999 Dick Vermeil; 2003 Belichick), so this is just another individual award that Belichick simply doesn’t care about.