So the playoff picture is set and now I would like to move onto an issue I feel very strongly about. The NFL coach of the year award.
Now normally I never care about these things but for once it is my team and a coach whom I love so I am going to throw out some facts about the 3 major candidates and I want to hear from all of you about who you want to win it and why.
Tony Sparano, Dolphins: The Dolphins turned over 60% of their roster and came off of a 1-15 record where it seemed that most quality college teams could beat them. The fish started 6 rookies, 6! and won a very tough division on defense and quality running backs and a limp noodled armed cast-off quarterback named Chad Pennington. They beat the Jets in NY on the last game of the season and found a way to take a college offensive system that no one in the NFL had used aside from a gadget play here or there and made it useful and something to scheme against.
Sparano had on wide out drafted in the NFL and a running back who has smoked more ganja than a Rastafarian chimney and he made it work! The Dolphins are in the playoff because they have this guy and I am a believer.
The guy is a Dolphin and I hate the Dolphins since I was a kid but I have to give credit where credit is due and let’s face it, the guy is a hell of a coach and he has the coolest name this side of the Bada Bing!
John Harbaugh, Ravens: Harbaugh is awesome! He took a rookie QB, the number 18 overall pick and a guy he, nor anyone in the organization wanted to start and made the guy a 16 game starter and rode the underrated and very talented youngster and a defense for the ages to a wild card berth in a beast of a division. Harbaugh is a strong and skilled coach and he took a team that could have been just another one-sided defense first team and made sure that his teams offense was effective and balanced.
Harbaugh had a great season and I will go to the mat right now and say that the Ravens are in my opinion possibly the best team in the AFC right now and I would not want to play them if I could avoid it. The Ravens and the Dolphins play this coming weekend and I think the the coach of the year battle will get VERY interesting once that game ends.
Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons: Mike Smith has made a team that was in freefall just one year ago challenge for a division title this year on the back of a rookie QB, an untested free agent running back and a underacheiving defense. Smith brought a positive light to a team that certainly seemed in the dark and made belivers out of loyal Falcons fans as well as the rest of the NFL.
In winning 5 of their last 6 games the Falcons beat the Chargersin Qualcomm, won at Minnesota in the Metrodome and at home against the Buccaneers and in week 11 they outplayed the eventual NFC champion Panthers in front of a delirious Georgia Dome. These are all playoff teams! What does this tell you? Mike Smith has shown these guys that no matter who it is we are playing we have the chance to win as long as we trust ourselves and you know what I believe it!
The Bird Speaks!