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Coaches Of The Year - No Gibbs


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http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5204682

These six coaches deserve their props

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Jay Glazer / FOXSports.com

Posted: 2 hours ago

Every year one coach is singled out among his peers and given the coveted title of "Coach of the Year."

The honor is second only to the title of Super Bowl-winning coach, and often the two come hand-in-hand.

NFL Week 17

But to single out just one particular coach is a disservice to others who have far and above exceeded expectations this year. So rather than give out just one award, we're presenting the Super Six — six head coaches who have done an absolutely fantastic job this year. We have ranked them in order from Nos. 1 to 6.

Tom Coughlin, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Mike Holmgren, Jack Del Rio and John Fox have done all-around solid jobs but didn't make our list due to either high expectations in the first place (Fox and Holmgren) or due to the fact that their teams haven't dominated on a consistent basis. That's not to say that guys like Holmgren, Coughlin or Gibbs shouldn't get some votes in putting forth solid pushes this year. Del Rio also has done wonders with not much firepower to work with on the playoff Jags this year.

However, our Super Six list includes guys who have gone well above and beyond this year, even if they were predicted to go deep in the first place.

With that stated, the following is FOXSports.com's top six coaching performances of the year.

1. Lovie Smith, Bears: Smith has done a simply marvelous job without a single, solid, proven quarterback. Heck, making the playoffs alone might have been enough to garner some votes for coach of the year, but a first-round bye? You've got to be kidding. You know what's so great about Smith as a head coach, the man never, ever waivers from his overwhelming sense of optimism. His head could fall off and he'd have his players convinced it would be fine because his neck and shoulders do a great job, too.

"Lovie is unbelievable to work for," said his star linebacker Brian Urlacher. "He's never down. No matter what happens, no matter how bad things may look, he never gets down and that has rubbed off on us."

If before the season someone said that the equation of Rex Grossman plus Chad Hutchinson plus Kyle Orton plus Rex Grossman would equal a division title and first-round bye, that mathematician would have been committed.

2. Jon Gruden, Bucs: Wasn't Gruden on the hot seat heading into this season? Wasn't his offensive line supposed to get everyone killed out there? Wasn't this a team that was supposed to be in somewhat of a rebuilding mode, relying on some misfit vets to help bolster the legend of Chucky?

Considering the division the Bucs play in, Gruden's coaching performance has been downright outstanding from the first game of the season — when it was predicted that they would get torched by the supposed mighty Vikings in Minnesota. Going from the fifth pick in the draft to a division title in one short year has boosted his star once again. Plus, after a year in which some vets questioned his discipline and guys even challenged him on such issues (i.e.: Simeon Rice), Gruden has accomplished the difficult chore of re-establishing an extremely firm grip on that roster.

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have had to overcome a ton of obstacles this season. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

3. Bill Belichick, Patriots: Perhaps the best coaching job he has ever done. The Patriots are playing so well right now that they are considered one of the hottest and most feared teams to face heading into the playoffs.

Consider the limitations the Patriots had to fight through this season: they lost a man who has since turned into a star in former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, a defensive coordinator who has proven he can coach with the big boys in Romeo Crennel and their defensive leader and spirit of the team, Rodney Harrison.

Their other inspirational defensive leader, Tedy Bruschi, and perhaps their best overall player, Richard Seymour, have missed significant portions of this season. So has their Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon, who has been banged up most of the year running behind an offensive line which, like the aforementioned walking wounded, has also been decimated by the injury bug.

Belichick has taken over offensive coordinator duties, and the defense is run by a very reliable, albeit first-year coordinator, Eric Mangini. Despite all these losses, New England still managed to rip through the Bucs two weeks ago, and everyone else recently for that matter. Wow, what a job. Just about every other coach in the NFL would have watched his team fold under such adversity.

4. Mike Shanahan, Broncos: I conducted a poll several years ago in which I asked 30 of the NFL's 32 coaches to give me their three best coaches in the league in order. It was the year after Belichick won his first Super Bowl. When the votes were tallied, Shanahan absolutely crushed the competition. Now, I see why.

They've been the team that no one really wanted to believe in, especially with Jake Plummer at QB, but all they've done is roll through the competition. When he first pulled all his roster moves in the preseason, I honestly believed he was trying to get himself fired. I mean, Maurice Clarett with a third-round pick, Gerard Warren, Ebenezer Ekuban, Ron Dayne — you've got to be kidding. The roster looked like personnel for the island of misfit toys. Instead, Shanahan has fit them together perfectly as Denver now has as good a shot as any to make it to the dance of all dances.

5. Tony Dungy, Colts: The only reason Dungy is in this position instead of at the top is that he's a victim of good personnel decisions. We all knew the Colts would be a contender for the Super Bowl at the very least. What we didn't know was that they would be THIS dominant. Dungy has done a masterful job of preventing egos from tearing apart this team down the stretch.

Other teams in the same situation would have already put out music videos and have rampant locker-room talk of how many players feel they need new deals. Not under the always reliable and underrated Dungy. Looking for a candidate for the coach of the last decade, Dungy has to get consideration. When was the last time a Dungy team didn't make the playoffs? The only thing he's missing is that Super Bowl ring. He's about as good as they come in this league.

6. Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The teacher is in at the Cincinnati chapter of Kindercare. Lewis may have a more difficult group to deal with than any coach in the league. Players can't get enough of seeing their interviews on the highlight shows and can't get enough of choreographing either TD celebrations or even whole team introductions. Guys run onto the field without telling anyone. Other guys get busted with some reefer only to let the coach find out at the team's holiday party. And yet the Bengals have been all the rage for much of this season.

The fact that so much grief can be turned into a winner is a true testament to just how good of a coach Lewis is. Memo to those teams who interviewed and skipped on him in the past: did you people blow it or what? Imagine the job he'd do if he could focus his attention on football instead of all the other garbage they put him through?

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Not a shocker here...

And honestly, its gotta be Lovie Smith. Dudes done an awesome job.

And while I risk getting berated....I don't think Dungy should be on the list...he's a great coach, no doubt...but seriously...the talent that team has is nuts. Manning, Harrison, James, Sanders, Freeney...Much more impressed by what Lovie and Gruden have done.

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or due to the fact that their teams haven't dominated on a consistent basis

Since when is that a prerequisite for a coach of the year vote? Gibbs may not be the best choice this year but that statement is ridiculous.

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Mike Shanahan & Jon Gruden, they're kidding right?

I'm not a fan of Shanahan but....

How many here thought before the season that the Broncos would by 12-3? (Yes, I know that they SHOULD be 11-4 :)) They are also 4-1 in a division that includes san Diego & Kansas City. That's not too shabby.

And why doesn't Marvin Lewis get any love?

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Gruden should be top 5 and Lovie should run away with this, but Shanahan is a poor choice in my opinion. The guy has enjoyed consistent success, but this is not different than any other year for them. i personally think Shanny is a top three coach in this league, but he has no business being considered this year... he's been blessed with minimal injuries and they have not improved significantly since last year. I like Holmgren and Gibbs above Shanny in that order.

1. Lovie Smith

2. Bill Belichick

3. Tony Dungy

4. Jon Gruden

5. Mike Holmgren

6. Joe Gibbs

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in my opinion Lovie gets it...Dungy is considered because the teams turn around is because of the improved defense which is what he was hired for...Joe Gibbs doesn't need the award he's the best coach in the history of the NFL...not a homer post I just recognize 3 SB's with 3 different QB's and RB's...comes back more than decade later and is set to do it again

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Tom Coughlin, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Mike Holmgren, Jack Del Rio and John Fox have done all-around solid jobs but didn't make our list due to either high expectations in the first place

Huh??? I thought the Skins would finish last in the division (4-12 according to some experts). High expectation my @$$

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Huh??? I thought the Skins would finish last in the division (4-12 according to some experts). High expectation my @$$

My thoughts exactly. He trusted in his "old washed up qb" when everyone counted him out and was uspet about the qb change (in some cases upset in an insulting way).

At the beginning of the season, and even in the middle, hardly anyone thought we'd be in this position right now.

He has rallied his troops better than any other coach in December and is showing remarkable resilience after having his back against the wall at 5-6 (i.e. the players never gave up hope and display great faith in coach Gibbs).

His playcalling and his players execution have been working great now, when it really matters.

I'm obviously biased here, but I think Gibbs deserves to be placed in the top six at least. I don't really care being that it is fox sports but this is my opinion. Now lets go to Philly and kick some a%@.

:eaglesuck

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