Featured in this article:
  • Green Bay Packers’ Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati Bengals’ Zac Taylor both at +150
  • Tennessee Titans’ Mike Vrabel at +350 to win Coach of the Year

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Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur addresses the media after an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)

The 2021 NFL Coach of the Year will be one of three division winners.

The battle for NFL Offensive Player of the Year between Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp and Indianapolis Colts running back isn’t the only dead-heat race entering Week 18. The NFL Coach of the Year board is just as close with the Green Bay Packers’ Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati Bengals’ Zac Taylor both at +150 and the Tennessee Titans’ Mike Vrabel still in the running at +350. No other coach is below +2000 on the NFL futures odds.

Determining a coach of the year is one of those awards where it’s completely arbitrary. Is the best coach one who took a losing team and brought it to the playoffs? The 2020 winner was the Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski, and he did just that as Cleveland improved from 7-9 in Stefanski’s first season to 11-5 and a wild-card team last year.

Maybe it’s for a coach who takes a good team and makes it better? The Baltimore Ravens were a good team in 2018 with a 10-6 record but a great club with a franchise-best 14-2 record in 2019 and that won John Harbaugh Coach of the Year.

Taylor Once Favored For Opposite

The biggest surprise among the favorites has to be the Bengals’ Taylor because he was also one of the betting favorites to be the first coach fired entering the season. When Cincinnati lost Week 2 at home to a bad Bears team, Taylor’s seat was warm and when the team lost a second straight game in Week 9 to rival Cleveland, it was very hot. Since then, however, the Bengals are 5-2 and have clinched their first AFC North title since 2015. Taylor doesn’t have to worry about his job security entering 2022. The last Cincinnati winner of this award was Marvin Lewis in 2009.

Green Bay’s LaFleur has had one of the best starts to a coaching career in NFL history with a stellar 39-9 record and the Packers have clinched the top seed in the NFC so they have no reason to care Week 18 in Detroit. Green Bay also had the NFC’s best record last season, yet LaFleur only got a few votes for Coach of the Year. Maybe voters want to reward him this time because it’s not exactly a surprise that the Packers are excellent again. The last Green Bay winner of this award was Lindy Infante way back in 1989.

Vrabel arguably has done more with less than those two because the Titans lost superstar running back Derrick Henry to a serious injury in Week 8; he might play Week 18 but almost surely in the playoffs even if not Sunday. Henry is by far the most important player on that Tennessee offense, yet the AFC South champion Titans can earn the AFC’s top seed with a win Sunday in Houston. No Titans coach has won Coach of the Year.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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