A Coach Of The Year résumé

Posted by Darren Urban on December 23, 2013 – 10:53 am

Bruce Arians, NFL Coach of the Year.

Is it possible? Sure. If Arians isn’t in the conversation, something is wrong. The question is how much Arians would be hurt with a lack of a playoff appearance, which probably remains the most likely scenario. But let’s say the Cardinals finish 11-5, tied with the 49ers (although out of the postseason) in the division. This is a team that went 4-12 5-11 (how quickly I forget) last year and had a big season in a brutal NFC West. The way Arians has brought his team together, the way he built his staff — he was the one all in on defensive coordinator Todd Bowles when few others were — has made for a quick renaissance in Arizona.

Who would be Arians’ competition? These are the coaches I think would be considered:

— Carolina’s Ron Rivera. No one expected the Panthers to be where they are and he’s done a nice job revamping that defense. It still feels like there isn’t a ton of Rivera belief out there, though, and that might hamper him.

— Kansas City’s Andy Reid. The Chiefs were 2-14 last season and are now 11-4, in a similar switch to the Cards. Reid’s problem is the late season slide (they started 9-0) that makes that early-season record feel more like a product of a easier schedule. That said, if the Chiefs go from 2-14 to 11-5 or 12-4, that’s a pretty amazing turnaround. He’s got to be one of the favorites.

— New England’s Bill Belichick. The Patriots have been shredded by injuries and yet keep winning. That Tom Brady guy tends to be an ace in the hole and probably undercuts Belechick’s candidacy.

— Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly. The Eagles could go 10-6 and win the division, and his offense has been effective. No one expected Nick Foles to play so well at quarterback and it’s hard not to credit Kelly for that. Kelly’s problem is that division. The NFC East is wretched.

As Cardinals VP of media relations Mark Dalton noted, no coach has ever won back-to-back Coach of the Year honors with different teams (Arians, of course, won it last year as the Colts’ interim boss.) Three coaches all-time have won it in back-to-back seasons: The Giants’ Allie Sherman (1961 and 1962 ), the Colts’ Don Shula (1967 and 1968, although he shared the 1967 award with the Rams’ George Allen) and the Redskins’ Joe Gibbs (1982 and 1983.) It would be fun to see Arians set a little history if he could be named again.

UPDATE: Arians has his own platform for which he is stumping: GM Steve Keim as NFL executive of the year. “I want to say this publicly: If he doesn’t get exec of the year, something is wrong,” Arians said. “People want to talk about about coach of the year. S***, I just coach the team. He deserves to be executive of the year because what he did in his first year is phenomenal. I’ve been around a little bit, now. It’s a great job. The players he has brought in that have contributed this season.”


Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “A Coach Of The Year résumé”

  1. By ringlaterra on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Correction: The Cards were 5-11 last year.

  2. By Darren Urban on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    ringlaterra —

    RE: 5-11

    Jeez. How quickly I forgot.

  3. By Amir on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Why can’t it be both Arians and Reid? Looks like it has happenned before.

  4. By Eric G on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    The thing that I think gives Arians the edge is that he has done a heck of a lot more with less. He has managed to get this scrappy little team to over-play their talent and win the way they have. Remember, the Cards were 10.5 pt underdogs in Seattle last I saw.

    The only two real competitors IMO are Rivera and Reid. If anyone gets it, I think it is Reid with Arians a close second should the Cards miss the playoffs. If they do make the playoffs, at 11-5 I don’t know how he doesn’t win.

  5. By Ryan on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Is there an owner of the year award? I think Michael Bidwell can finally put to rest the fans who still think ownership is cheap and unmotivated to win. That’s a conversation we can drop now I think.

  6. By joe holst on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    I’m sooooo thankful Rod Graves is gone. Took about 7 years too long tho.

  7. By William Barry on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    The front office and BA deserve coach of the year and GM of the year if the cards can get into the playoffs!!!!!!

  8. By shane on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Carson is a beast! lol his ability 2 bounce back from ints is really impressive. And people that are saying hes getting old or older are funny hes just as old as tony romo .. and old for Qbs is not even close to other positions Payton manning in 37 and he just set the touch down record…

  9. By gman on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,do you think Rob Housler was ready to play yesterday?

  10. By Darren Urban on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Gman —

    RE: Housler


  11. By Scott H on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Well, all I can say is thank you, Bruce Arians. Thank you, thank you, and thank you 1,000 times over. His attitude toward this game was PERFECT and I think it got the team exactly where it needed to be. ANYTHING that happened last year is a distant memory and that is SUCH a good thing for this team. Against Seattle yesterday – against the best team in the NFL in the hardest place to play in the NFL – the Cardinals looked confident, focused, AND they looked dominant. NEVER have I seen a Cardinals defense so ready for everything and anything their opponent could throw at them. The Seahawks couldn’t run. They couldn’t pass. And Wilson couldn’t do anything to overcome that defense. It was a BEAUTIFUL thing to watch.

    SOOO much to say….first, although the TD pass was a beautiful throw, Carson Palmer was the reason the Cardinals were not ahead by more than they were. This game should not have been as close as it was. The way our D as flat-out BALLIN’, a single TD would have been huge and REALLY put the pressure on Seattle. When we got the turnover on the kick-off in the 3rd quarter, we should have taken over the game right there. But, no. Palmer gives it right back. That could have allowed THEM to take over the game. But….enough.

    Loved the running game, which allowed us to sustain drives that kept Wilson and the offense off the field. That was the key to the game. The D was not gonna allow Seattle to score many points, we could see that. But WE still had to score some points of our own. The running game and short passes were a perfect recipe for this game. They set up the deep throws that forced Seattle to respect our ability to make the deep throws. Again, just beautiful.

    How fitting was it to see Dansby come up with the INT that put the game away? SOOOO great to have him back, still able to make plays like that. SOOOO great to see him doing the dirty bird and letting the Seattle fans know that their days of home dominance – at least when the Cardinals come to town – are OVER.

    SOOO great to see Michael Floyd becoming such a force right before our very eyes! WHAT A CATCH on that TD grab!!! The deep ball IS what Carson Palmer still does very well – among the best in the league right now – and we have the deep threat he needs to cash in on that.

    BUT…still sad to think that this team – playing at a level right now that puts them in the Top 5 in the league – may not make the playoffs. Damn, that is wrong. SOOOO FRIGGIN WRONG!!! How pathetic was it to watch the Bears last night??? They got all the help they needed from other games to clinch a division and they go into Philly and play like THAT??? It borders on criminal that the Lions, Packers, and Bears are all still alive because they keep each other alive by losing. It is criminal that one of those pathetic teams is going to win a division and host a play-off game while a truly dominant and play-off caliber team like the Cardinals may not even get in.

    But…whatever. I say it again that I could NOT be more proud of this team than I am right now. SO DAMN PROUD. Playoffs or no, the Cardinals are exorcising all sorts of demons, the most important demon being that they are suddenly showing the ability to beat the other teams in the toughest division in the NFL. Hell, THEY are now making the NFC West an all-out chamber of horrors. They have a chance to make it a sweep next week against San Fran and we now KNOW that they are absolutely up to the task.

    And to the useless New Orleans Saints? Thanks for nothing, losers. Way to blow it against the Panthers yesterday. I hope that loss ensures that you have to go on the road in the playoffs, where we know that you can’t beat anyone. But ya know what? To hell with anyone that we have gotten no help from. We’re taking care of our business and that’s all that matters. IF we’re gonna go down, let’s go down blaze of glory and with an 11-5 record that most teams in the playoffs won’t have,

    How sad is it that the two teams we COULD get ahead of to get in have the Atlanta Falcons tonight and next week, respectively? Where is the friggin justice???

  12. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    Ron Rivera was not suppose to last through the season.
    Andy Reid was fired from the Eagles.
    Bruce Arians was too old and only a cordinator
    and Chip Kelly could never translate over to the NFL from College.

    Now look at them battling for coach of the year.

  13. By shannon robinson on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    About our Coach: I recommend that everyone replay the game and start trying to call plays the way BA does through the the four quarters of play. First thing I learned is he’s real hard to predict. It’s not easy to see patterns – even when you know he’s running the ball mostly. Which plays are set ups to make you think there’s a pattern or method to his madness. The pass to Floyd is the best example of off the charts after three or four runs – like they said in Men In Black, “You might want to put your seat belt on.” Steve Keim’s first Cards’ veteran signing was Rashad Johnson (and then he knew to let Jamell Fleming and William Gay go). I watched every transaction Mr. Keim made and admired his moves. Carson, my MVP, above all was the best acquisition, then the lunch box blue collar athletes like Lorenzo Alexander, Frostee Rucker, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Winston, Mendenhall, Paul Fanaika, and Matt Shaughnessy to name a few. Finally the coup de grace bringing back the Dirty Bird! A great draft on top of it all. I’m not worried about Coach Pratt getting a game ball – he did his job, I just hope he’s got a two year contract. Thanks to the fans for understanding that a Championship Fight doesn’t diminish when you get knocked to the canvass four times – it’s the haymaker right hand to the jaw in the 15th round for the Knockout that counts. Cards Fans deserve a tip of the wing for having the football knowledge to stand with and support Carson Palmer.

  14. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    I said a few weeks ago that this team is better than the 2008 team. I think yesterday’s win cemented that.

    10 wins !! Only done once before in AZ. 11 wins has never been done. Amazing.

    Think about this, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, all lost in Seattle the last 2 years .

    Carson Palmer is the only QB to go to Seattle and win out of this bunch.

    When you have a top defense, you are never out of games. This defense keeps us in till the offense clicks.

    Palmer avoids the rush, rolls out and hit Ballard for a first down, Then goes deep to Floyd. TD. Ball game.

    What impressed me the most about this defense was their discipline. I have never seen a card team stay so discipline. These players believe in Bowles. They believe in his plan and they are doing what he draws up. The pass rush stayed in their lanes keeping Wilson in the pocket. The outside containment resisted the temptation to go after Wilson and kept him inside where Dockett and Campbell put pressure on him. Amazing job.

    The secondary was awesome as well. This was Powers best game by far. But did we remember a rookie named Tony Jefferson was out there playing safety? Bell played well, Cason, Arenes, PP. That secondary played their butts off.

    Hey Georgiebird, the cards never have probowl LBs, right?
    DWash was a probowler last year and Dansby is a MVP candidate.
    I know the two in SF are good, the pair in Carolina are great, but I would take our two ILBs over them all.

    Looking back, maybe we should have signed Dansby to a two year deal. This guy just keeps making money each week.

    Go Atlanta. No Julio, and no one is giving you a chance. But Matty Ice, you have too much pride. It is Gonzo’s last season. Go out on top and win.

  15. By sbrown on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    for COTY, don’t forget that Reid went to a Kansas City team that had just sent 5 players to the Pro Bowl, had all world RB in Charles and WR Bowe. All he needed was a QB which they traded for, and he was off and winning.
    BA, and Keim turned over half of the Cards roster over, plays in the toughest division in the League and doubled the win total from last season.
    Gotta to be BA for COTY !!

  16. By georgiebird on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply

    After watching the Panthers beat the Saints in the last minute and then watching the 49ers luck out against the Falcons- its a crying shame the Cardinals may not go to playoffs.

  17. By red bird of death! on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply


  18. By red bird of death! on Dec 23, 2013 | Reply


  19. By jeffy1951 on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    After watching the Falcons absolutely blow it with the questionable play call 10 yards from the goal line (why not run the ball and keep the clock running?) and having essentially the same feeling after the Panther game, I can without a doubt say that I will hate the Falcons and Saints for at LEAST one year and possibly more and if N.O. beats Tampa in week 17 I will hate them for at least 5 years!!

  20. By RED C on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply


  21. By Wnycardfan on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    I said it earlier in the year and even more true now……love this coach. He’s fun, in your face, and really seems to know what he’s doing even though we sometimes think he doesn’t. I hope he gets coty but he’s got some hard competition. Himself and keim are up there. Feels good to have them.

  22. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    You’ve got all kinds of help happening in the AFC where the Patriots (already in) ripped Baltimore and Buffalo blanked Miami, keeping even Pittsburgh alive. Oh, and speaking of Pitt, they beat Green Bay, which gave the Bears a chance to clinch the division against Philly, who was playing a meaningless game because win or lose they were going to be playing Dallas this week for the title… and even in a game with huge implications for the Bears and no implications for Philly, Philly wins 54-11. But when WE need help, a huge underdog is driving for the game-winning TD (or at least a game-tying FG) and a pass gets tipped in the air. Watching that INT return was like watching James Harrison for me. Ugh.

    Maybe it’s just me but in my history as an Arizona Cardinals fan it seems the breaks do not even out. For every one we get, another three or four don’t seem to go our way.

    So we become Tampa Bay fans the last week. A tiny bit of hope given that NO has lost 3 of 4, and the Bucs almost beat NO earlier this year, but this game is in NO and of course means everything to the Saints and zilch for the Bucs. Still, any given Sunday… we have to hope.

    Interesting… if NO wins, SF will be playing us to determine if they will be the 5th or 6th seed (if they both end up 11-5, NO is the #5 seed by virtue of beating SF). Not sure what is happening with Rodgers, but if he’s back and beats the Bears, they’ll be the 4th seed. I personally would take my chances with Philly or Dallas before the Pack with Rodgers, which means I might not want to win the finale if I were the 49ers.

  23. By mal on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    The only thing worse than going 11-5 and not making the playoffs would be to drop the game to the 9’ers and then sit there and watch the Bucs pull off a miracle upset.

    So in other words — just win! Beat the damn 9’ers first, and only then look up.

  24. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    Just another example of how quickly an NFL franchise can be turned around (Chiefs, 49ers, Eagles, Seahawks).Thankfully, it happened to us this time. I’d love to hear Graves and Whisenhunt try to justify their thinking the past three years in light of what Keim and Arians have done this year.

    This isn’t your father’s NFL. You play to win now, you play your rookies now and if you have 2- 3 consecutive loosing seasons, you fire your coach now. And thank God for all of that. Immediate impact from rookies and new coaching staff and GMs is becoming commonplace in the NFL and an HC or GM living in the past will perish quicker than ever before… there’s just no justification for waiting too long when others have shown you don’t have to take a half-decade to rebuild a franchise.

  25. By ored on Dec 24, 2013 | Reply

    love whats happening in az.,but no crying…we had incentive to beat saints,since they were the team that dismantled us and injured warner,but we were manhandled by them again…we need to get that monkey off our back. we redeemed ourselves against the rams and seattle…but we still lost a game to each,and we lost to philly when we knew we had to have that game,so as good as we have been we let some clutch games slip it’s out of our hands and teams love nothing more than to ruin each others playoff hopes,if we get in…great,if not…whole lot to look forward to next year…either way,been an eye opening year,we have a foundation and solid pieces in place…every year just adds to it and we develop better chemistry.

  26. By beardinals on Dec 25, 2013 | Reply

    Another knock on Ried (who I think is the runner-up), he inherited a roster full of pro-bowlers, added a QB and went and beat a bunch of bad teams. We’ll see.

  27. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    What Arians has done is awesome, but Andy Reid will win. Not saying Reid deserves it over Arians, but the Chiefs were 2-14 and started out 9-0. So they got a ton of attention. Meanwhile, the Cards started out 3-4 and despite winning lately, are likely to miss the playoffs. So as usual we don’t have the attention of the national media — at least not as much as we should given our record. Perhaps if we win Sunday and end up 11-5, there will be a ton of attention given to the fact that we’ll be one of the only 11-5 teams ever not to make the playoffs, and this will remind people of exactly what Arians has done. But I still think Reid gets it.

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