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Looking Back at the 2022 Coach of the Year Race

Betting in an NFL awards market is different from betting in other futures markets because voters determine the winner in awards races. In most futures markets, you’re betting on or, in some cases, against a definitive outcome. 

For instance, if you bet on the Super Bowl winner this year, there will not be any questions about which team wins that game. That’s not how things work in awards markets.

In awards markets, who wins is determined by who 50 individuals vote for. What you’re betting on in an awards market is who someone else thinks should win. It requires an entirely different process from any other betting market.

That’s why we’re going to look back at each awards race from last season, so we can try to see things more from a voter’s perspective than from our own.

Others in Series: CPOY | OROY | DROY | OPOY | DPOY

Coach of the Year Race

The Coach of the Year Race (COY) tends to have a large group of preseason contenders at the top of betting markets. In 2022, Dan Campbell (+1000), Brandon Staley (+1400), Nick Sirianni (+1500), Kevin O’Connell (+1600) and Mike McDaniel (+1600) rounded out the top five contenders.

Doug Pederson, Nathaniel Hackett and Brian Daboll were next at +1800 odds. Several coaches with narrow paths to victory like Andy Reid, Sean McDermott, John Harbaugh, Mike Vrabel and Kyle Shanahan were each priced at +2500 before the season. Pete Carroll was a +4000 longshot.

Early Season

Sirianni and McDaniel jumped to the front at +400 odds through three games. McDaniel would soon slide after a multi-game losing streak that began in Week 4, while Sirianni’s Philadelphia Eagles got off to a 4-0 start. 

Pederson (+600) rose after the Jacksonville Jaguars blew out the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10 in Week 3, but soon fell off as his Jaguars would go on a five-game losing streak. Despite a Monday night loss to the Eagles, Minnesota Vikings' new coach O’Connell was +800 after a 3-1 start.

New York Giants' new honcho Daboll was also right in the thick of the race with +700 odds behind a 3-1 start.


Our awards panelists voted for five different COY candidates at the halfway point of 2022. Daboll led with two votes while Sirianni, O’Connell, Carroll and 2021 COY winner Vrabel each received one.

The Giants were an unexpected 6-2 with quality wins against the Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers. This helped vault Daboll’s odds to the +200 range, making him the second favorite in betting markets.

Sirianni’s Eagles were still undefeated through the halfway point of the season. Philadelphia’s 8-0 record had Sirianni as a -150 favorite.

Vrabel (+800), O’Connell (+1000) and Carroll (+1800) each had paths to the title and were on our awards panelists’ radars. New York Jets coach Robert Saleh (+1200) and McDaniel (+1400) did not receive a vote from our panelists but were also within striking distance.

Ultimately, both Sirianni and Daboll needed to slide for anyone else to make up significant ground. 

Second Half of the Season

The Tennessee Titans lost their last seven games, pushing Vrabel completely out of the race. Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks stumbled as well, exiting Week 16’s bout against the Kansas City Chiefs with a 7-8 record.

Daboll’s Giants went on their own downward spiral, entering Week 15 with a 7-5-1 record despite starting 6-2. However, wins against the Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts over the next three weeks pushed Daboll back into contention down the stretch.

Saleh’s Jets fell off as well. McDaniel’s Miami Dolphins snuck into the playoffs behind an up-and-down second half.

The Eagles were no longer undefeated, but they all but locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. That kept Sirianni among the primary contenders in the race entering the final week.

Shanahan, behind a 10-game winning streak after starting 3-4, gradually rose into COY contention. Shanahan’s rise can be primarily attributed to the play of the last pick in the 2022 draft, quarterback Brock Purdy, who went on a tear down the stretch to keep the San Francisco 49ers in contention.

O’Connell was in a tough spot, as his Vikings were behind both the Eagles and 49ers for the NFC’s top spot. While the Giants were not at the top of the division, Daboll exceeded expectations by getting them into playoff contention. 

Entering Week 15, Pederson was +8000 in COY betting markets, while his Jaguars were in the middle of what would be a 6-1 run after their Week 11 bye. Campbell was in a similar position, as his Detroit Lions struggled early but caught fire late.

Last Week of the Regular Season

With one week to go, the COY race had five contenders:

  • Nick Sirianni -175
  • Brian Daboll +200
  • Kyle Shanahan +250
  • Doug Pederson +800
  • Dan Campbell +2000

With one game to go, Sirianni’s Eagles were 13-3 and in control of their own destiny if they beat the Giants in the regular season finale.

The Giants annihilated the white flag waving Colts 38-10 in Week 17. That clinched a playoff berth for New York, and betting markets responded to that victory in a big way.

Shanahan’s 49ers were 12-4 and on a nine-game winning streak heading into the final week. The play of Purdy made Shanahan, whose 49ers lost in the NFC Championship the year before, a compelling candidate. To frame that another way, Shanahan received a lot of the credit for how well the offense was performing under Purdy, and rightfully so.

Pederson had a win-and-in game to take the AFC South against the Titans on Saturday Night Football.

Like the Jaguars, Campbell’s Lions were surging. Detroit needed help to get into the playoffs, but the team was heading to Green Bay for Sunday Night Football to close out the regular season.

The Vote

Those are wild results for the COY race.

Top Contenders

Daboll finished as the victor, albeit narrowly. He turned the Giants around in his first season and revived the career of Daniel Jones, who was trending toward being a failed first-round quarterback. That said, the Giants had a losing record in the second half. It’s worth considering if Daboll would have risen to the top of this race if he wasn’t in a major market like New York. What’s equally curious is the Giants sat their starters in Week 18 and lost to Sirianni’s Eagles. More on that soon.

Shanahan finished in second primarily because of how well Purdy played. Coaches whose teams lost in the NFC Championship the year before don’t usually contend in the COY race. It’s difficult to exceed expectations when you were one of the four best teams in the league the year before. That said, what this offense did with Purdy was remarkable, bordering on unprecedented.

McDermott finishing third in this race was a genuine surprise. The Buffalo Bills had already established themselves as a perennial factor in the AFC, so they didn’t exceed expectations in 2022. Still, you have to give McDermott credit for how Buffalo handled the Damar Hamlin situation, which could have very well been a factor with voters.

Sirriani finished in fourth, which is equal parts surprising and not. Daboll won COY despite the Eagles beating New York twice, including in the regular season finale. This was curious as awards voters went the other way with Kevin Stefanski against Mike Tomlin in a similar situation a few years ago. Still, the Eagles were a playoff team in 2021, and most of the time, the COY winner is from a team that was .500 or worse the year before.

Secondary Contenders

There are a number of arguments for Pederson over Daboll. The Jaguars entered the year with a lower projected win total at 6.5 games vs. the Giants' 7.5. Pederson took over Urban Meyer’s runaway train and won the division in his first year. The Jaguars also finished hot, while the Giants did not. Ultimately, it’s a little surprising Pederson wasn’t closer to Daboll in voters’ eyes.

Reid faces a situation similar to Bill Belichick with the COY award, where it's not won by the best coach but by the most resourceful one.

Campbell’s Lions finished strong, but they didn’t make the playoffs while every other coach’s team on this list did.

O’Connell’s Vikings finished 13-4 after going 8-9 in 2021. That’s a pretty big turnaround for a first-year coach, but this was also a loaded race, and voters sided with an underdog in Daboll.

It’s worth noting Carroll was never truly a contender in COY betting markets, despite his playoff-bound Seahawks being among the bigger surprises last season. Geno Smith won Comeback Player of the Year, but it is curious Carroll and his staff didn’t get more credit for Seattle’s unexpected success last year.

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