McCarthy Runner-Up For AP Coach Of The Year, Winner Of NFL Alumni Honor


Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday finished as the runner-up for The Associated Press 2007 NFL Coach of the Year in a vote of a nationwide panel of media members.

But on the same day he won the Coach of the Year award from a different voting group, the NFL Alumni.

McCarthy, who led the Packers to a 13-3 record and a first-round NFC playoff bye just two years after the team finished 4-12, was second in the voting for the AP award to New England's Bill Belichick.

"I think Bill Belichick is very deserving of the award," McCarthy said. "What else can you say about the season he's had in New England. I congratulate him on that.

"It's an honor to be part of the conversation for Coach of the Year because it really reflects the success of your football team."

Belichick led the Patriots to the first undefeated regular season in 35 years. There was some question as to whether Belichick would earn enough votes from the media after being fined and penalized for the upcoming draft when the Patriots were caught videotaping New York Jets coaches during the season opener.

But Belichick garnered 29 of 50 votes nonetheless. McCarthy finished second with 15 votes. Four other coaches also received votes. They were Dallas' Wade Phillips (two), Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio (two), Indianapolis' Tony Dungy (one) and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden (one).

McCarthy, however, was able to capture the NFL Alumni's Don Shula Coach of the Year award, ironically in this instance named for the last head coach to direct a perfect regular season, with the Dolphins in 1972.

The NFL Alumni awards are chosen by a voting process in which former players and coaches cast ballots for their modern counterparts, voting only for the positions they once held themselves, meaning McCarthy was chosen by a vote of former NFL coaches. A total of 10 players and a coach are selected.

"I'm thrilled to be recognized by the NFL Alumni Association," McCarthy said. "It's a very well-respected group of individuals who played the game at a very high level and understand what it takes to be successful in this league. It's special to be honored by the Association."

In addition to McCarthy, the other honorees are New England QB Tom Brady, Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook, New England WR Randy Moss, Dallas TE Jason Witten, Indianapolis OL Jeff Saturday, Houston DL Mario Williams, Kansas City pass rusher Jared Allen, San Francisco LB Patrick Willis, San Diego DB Antonio Cromartie and Chicago special teamer Devin Hester.

Green Bay's Aaron Kampman was the NFL Alumni's Pass Rusher of the Year in 2006 when he set a career-high with 15 1/2 sacks.

The NFL Alumni award winners will be honored at the 26th annual Player of the Year awards dinner on Friday, Feb. 1, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Shula himself will present the Coach of the Year award named in his honor to McCarthy.

"I'll be very appreciative of the opportunity to meet Don Shula," McCarthy said. "When you think about everything he's meant to the game of football, it's impressive."

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