Heading into tonight’s matchup against the New York Jets, the New England Patriots are sitting at a perfect 6-0 record and as the number one team in the league in points scored and points given up. In short, they are the class of the NFL more than one third into the 2019 regular season — despite numerous personnel losses during the offseason, over the course of the summer, and through their first six games.
The Patriots are at 6-0 without Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement in March, and free agency departures Trey Flowers and Trent Brown. They have lost starting center David Andrews for the season because of a blood clots in his lungs, and starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn for at least eight games due to turf toe. Furthermore, they saw some serious instability at the wide receiver and tight end positions.
And yet, here they are again as the number one team in the AFC and possibly all of football. Despite all that, however, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is getting little love as a Coach of the Year candidate yet again — at least according to SB Nation’s latest FanPulse survey that was conducted last week: participants were asked about who they think will win the award at the end of the season, and Belichick is coming in at number two with 19.1% of the vote.
Coming in ahead of Belichick is San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, and one can easily see why: his team remains undefeated six games into its season (the poll was actually sent out ahead of Week 7, but little has changed since then) and is well on its way to return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season. As a result of his team’s recent success, Shanahan received 53.3% of the FanPulse votes.
Also in the top-five are New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, whose team continues to look like a powerhouse even with starting quarterback Drew Brees still recovering from a thumb injury suffered in Week 2. Payton’s name was clicked by 17.6% of the survey’s participants, which ranks him third behind Shanahan and Belichick and ahead of the Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott (7.6%) and the New York Giants’ Pat Shurmur (2.4%).
Shanahan ultimately indeed appears to be the front-runner to earn the trophy at this point in time considering that he has transformed a 4-12 team into a serious contender so far this season. The Coach of the Year vote works like this, and often goes to the leader of the most improved team over the actual premier coach in football. If that were the case, Belichick would have far more than three of the trophies at home.
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Should Bill Belichick be the front-runner for the Coach of the Year award?
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