We are months away from even thinking about postseason awards other than perhaps MVP. However, Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni deserves to be the front-runner for this year’s Coach of the Year award.
Historically, the award goes to the NFL head coach who had the biggest improvement from the prior season to current. Last year, it was New York Giants’ Brian Daboll taking home the honor. Leading the Giants to the postseason in his first year as head coach was certainly an impressive accomplishment after the Giants were a woeful 4-13 in 2021. Daboll garnered 16 first-place votes and 123 total points.
Here’s the rest of the Top-5 and where they finished:
-Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco (12 1st place votes, 100 total points)
-Doug Pederson, Jacksonville (5 1st place nods, 75 points)
-Sean McDermott, Buffalo (7 1st place votes, 48 points)
-Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia (6 1st place votes, 45 points)
I think it’s time for the award to be viewed in a different lens. Here’s why Sirianni should be considered a front runner for Coach of the Year.
No Super Bowl Hangover
One of the biggest topics of concerns for teams who make the Super Bowl is the dreaded “hangover” the teams sometimes have to overcome following a successful season either ending in hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the confetti filled atmosphere or the team who loses, plays potentially 3-4 extra games and have a shorter offseason.
That clearly hasn’t been the case with this Eagles team. They are 8-1 for the second straight season. The Eagles have the inside track to the top seed in the NFC to clinch the ever-important home field advantage, which is a legitimate advantage when you call Lincoln Financial Field your home.
Of course, the defending Super Bowl Champion Kanas City Chiefs are leading the mediocre AFC West Division, but they aren’t dominating the league with their 7-2 record. Are they suffering from that Super Bowl “hang over?” Hard to tell. The Eagles aren’t lighting the world on fire either, but they do own the best record in the NFL.
The biggest question marks coming into the 2023 season were first year coordinators in Brian Johnson (Offensive) and Sean Desai (Defensive). With the departure of Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen both taking head coaching jobs at Arizona and Indianapolis, respectively, the Eagles entered the season as just the sixth team ever to reach the Super Bowl and lose both offensive and defensive coordinators. Of those six teams, none have made the big game the following season.
Sirianni, along with Johnson and Desai are in a position to change that narrative. They’ve also been able to get off to the best start in the league with a banged-up Jalen Hurts at quarterback who is now primarily passing from the pocket and running seldomly due to his injured knee all while being the second odds-on favorite to win MVP. Couple that with the rotating secondary that has seemed to regress from a season ago due to lack of performance and injuries. It’s been a bend but not break mentality this year on the defensive side of the ball opposed to the utter dominance that unit showed on a week-to-week basis last season.
Has it been a dominant 8-1 start for Philadelphia? Absolutely not. Has it been pretty? Nope.
But, if Sirianni leads the Eagles through this five-game gauntlet (@KC, vs. BUF, @SF, @DAL, @SEA) with a winning record, it would be hard pressed to turn an eye from what kind of achievement that would be with all of the factors the team and coaching staff has dealt with to this point.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum