The NFL Coach of the Year award is a prestigious, end-of-year honor reserved for the best of the best. We’re talking about coaches who stay the course and overachieve. Leaders who are head-and-shoulders above their peers. Reigning winner Mike Vrabel is a perfect example.
But now that the 2022 season is here, we’re taking a look at three coaches who have a real shot at winning the coveted award. And they’re all coaching right here in California.
Could Brandon Staley, Kyle Shanahan, or Sean McVay be the NFL’s next Coach of the Year?
Let’s look at why we think the next coach to win this award could come from California.
|Coach||Coach of the Years Odds at FanDuel|
|Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers||+800|
|Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers||+3000|
|Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams||+4000|
Brandon Staley — Los Angeles Chargers
Currently at FanDuel California, Staley’s COTY odds are tied for first at +800. Miami’s Mike McDaniel, Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell, and New York’s Brian Daboll sit atop the oddsboard with Staley. And there’s certainly a strong case to be made for each of these coaches.
Imagine how high bettors will be on McDaniel if he can turn Tua-to-Tyreek into an unstoppable duo in the AFC East. And then there’s Daboll. The Giants‘ playoff drought has lasted longer than a New York minute. If Daboll can turn Daniel Jones into the quarterback savant that the Manning family claims he is, bettors will be backing Daboll to run away with the award.
But Staley — the baby-faced, Serena Williams super fan — is one to watch.
In his first year as head coach, Staley’s Chargers went 9-8 straight up (SU). Taking the Chargers’ moneyline wasn’t the most profitable proposition for bettors last year, but for fans, 2021 was a year full of promise. While Staley’s critics bemoaned his eagerness to go for it on fourth as well as his late-game decision-making, supporters applauded his accomplishments as a first-year head coach.
One of his most commendable achievements so far? The continued development of quarterback Justin Herbert.
If Staley can somehow lead the Chargers to at least a playoff appearance and coach Herbert into the MVP that oddsmakers project he can be, +800 on Staley for COTY could be a solid wager.
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Kyle Shanahan — San Francisco 49ers
For all the credit Shanahan gets for being an offensive-minded genius who’s gifted in developing players and coaches, his record against his conference rivals tells a different story.
Going into the 2022 season, Shanahan’s record in the division is less than desirable. Against NFC West opponents, Shanahan sits at 13-16-1 against the spread (ATS) and 12-18 SU since taking over in San Francisco. But somehow, Shanahan still manages to have the 49ers in the playoff conversation every year.
This season, though, might be challenging for Shanahan to keep up with the legitimate playoff teams around the league. And that’s because of Trey Lance.
Lance, the third overall pick in the 2021 draft, is the new starting quarterback. The unproven talent who struggled in Week 1 this year takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo is the veteran who helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 2019 season. He also helped the team land its NFC Championship appearance at the end of the 2021 season.
While San Francisco still has ultra-talented players like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, if QB1 ends up failing, so goes the team.
Shanahan could end up turning Lance into the next Patrick Mahomes, proving that he’s the gifted developer his advocates tout. If that ends up being the case, Shanahan at +3000 for Coach of the Year is worth a sprinkle.
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Sean McVay — Los Angeles Rams
At elementary school awards ceremonies, teachers would often award Eager Beaver certificates to students who had shown improvement from the beginning of the school year until the end. The kids who never got Eager Beaver awards were well-rounded winners in every imaginable facet from the very beginning.
This makes us think of McVay.
McVay’s Coach of the Year futures are at +4000 because, like the kids who didn’t qualify to win Eager Beaver, he’s already on top. Of course his odds to win COTY are in the bottom half of the oddsboard. He’s the reigning Super Bowl-winning coach. What more do you want from the guy?
Well, what gamblers want is for the Rams to replicate last year’s success so they can cash in on the Rams moneyline. What fans want is for the team to get over its Super Bowl hangover and run it back for another title.
With talent like Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Bobby Wagner all over the field, it is possible that the Rams are one of the last two teams standing in February. (Although that Week 1 loss to the Bills was pretty ugly.) And if Stafford has an MVP year or if Donald has a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season, voters and bettors might credit that to McVay’s magic.
When you consider those possibilities, Sean McVay for Coach of the Year has a nice ring (pun intended) to it.
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Golden State Coaches, Golden Opportunity
Staley and Shanahan are both good bets right now for Coach of the Year, and McVay wouldn’t be a bad bet, either. Even though Staley’s odds are at the top of the board, even a $10 bet on him right now would win you $90. That would be a pretty good return for a small investment on short odds. And if you’re feeling frisky, Shanahan and McVay’s longer futures are yours for the betting.
Who ultimately will come out on top?
We think Staley is a safe play for a nice little payday, while Shanahan is a riskier play for a higher payday. McVay is a wild card.