End-of-season award prediction for 2012 NFL Coach of Year
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While it is New Year's Eve and people around the world will celebrate, today is also disaffectionately known by NFL head coaches as Black Monday.
Several of them will soon join the ranks of the unemployed.
With that said, I will begin predicting who will win the NFL's postseason awards by starting with my prediction for the NFL Coach of the Year award.
Winner: Bruce Arians (and Chuck Pagano), Indianapolis Colts
Imagine if someone told you in August that the two-win Colts would be without their new head coach for the majority of the season. Then they told you that team would win double-digit games and make the postseason.
Without a doubt, you would have laughed at someone for making such a ridiculous prediction before the season.
But that is exactly what has happened.
While he was absent from the sidelines for much of the year, Chuck Pagano, who returned to the sidelines in Week 17 after several rounds of leukemia treatments, still provided inspiration for a franchise that seemed to overcome the odds each week.
With offensive coordinator Bruce Arians filling in as interim head coach, the Colts ranked 10th in the league in total offense (362.4 yards per game). Last year, the Colts ranked 30th in the league (286.8 YPG).
The Colts certainly have their fair share of holes to fill, but they have found the way to win ball games on the back of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. Luck and the Colts have engineered a league-high seven game-winning drives (via Pro Football Reference).
Speaking of head-coaching vacancies, Arians should certainly be considered for one (or all) of those vacancies.
Runner-up: Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons
Considering he took over a franchise in disarray, Smith's five seasons in Atlanta have been nothing less than remarkable.
The franchise has had a winning record in all five of his seasons and have won double-digit games in four of them. For the second time in the past three years, the Falcons have won at least 13 games and they have locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Of course, Smith and the Falcons will need to win a playoff game (or two) for Smith to really get the credit that he deserves. In his five seasons, Smith has won 70 percent of his regular-season games but he is 0-3 in the postseason.
Throughout the rest of the week, I will make my predictions for the remainder of the postseason awards. For an easy way to keep track of my picks, they will all be recorded on this page.