Head coaches BILL BELICHICK of the New England Patriots, JACK DEL RIO of the Jacksonville Jaguars, JOE GIBBS of the Washington Redskins, MIKE MC CARTHY of the Green Bay Packers and MIKE TOMLIN of the Pittsburgh Steelers are the nominees for the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year award, the NFL announced Monday.
Fans can vote on NFL.com for the head coach whose game planning played the greatest role in his team's success this season. Voting will take place from 9:00 am ET on Monday, January 7 through 6:00pm EST on Monday, January 21 to determine the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year. The winner will be announced at a press conference in Arizona during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLII.
A closer look at the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year nominees:
-MIKE McCARTHY took a Green Bay team that finished 8 - 8 last year to a 13 - 3 record securing the number two seed in the NFC and tying the Packers franchise record for wins in a season (13). McCarthy, who calls the plays on offense, led QB Brett Favre and an offense that came in second in total yards per game (370.7), total passing yards (270.9), and fourth in total points scored (450). Favre also set four records this year, including the most wins by a quarterback (160), most career touchdown passes (442), and all-time career passing yards mark (61,655). To protect Favre, McCarthy employed the league's only offensive line that used five of their own draft choices as starters. On defense, the Packers were tied for sixth in the NFL allowing only 291 total points, as well as tied for sixth in interceptions (19). Green Bay is young and talented on defense, with only two starters in their 30s. On special teams, the Packers were able to rely on the foot of their rookie K Mason Crosby, who kicked 50+ yard field goals in three different games. McCarthy was nominated for two Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning both times.
-In 2007, BILL BELICHICK became the first coach to lead a team to an undefeated regular season in 35 years since Don Shula and the 1972 Dolphins ended with a 14 - 0 regular season record. Belichick coached the most dominating offense in the NFL, a team that ranked first in points, first in total yards and first in passing yards. Under Belichick's direction, quarterback Tom Brady led the NFL with a quarterback rating of 117.2, 4,806 passing yards, and 300.4 yards per game. Brady also threw 50 touchdowns, setting the single-season passing touchdown record in the same game he delivered the Patriots' final win to bring them to 16 - 0. Belichick frequently utilized WR Randy Moss who led the league with 23 touchdowns, setting the NFL's single-season touchdown receptions record, and who came in second for receiving yards with 1,493. The Patriots defense ranked fourth in the NFL in allowing only 288.3 yards per game and only 274 total points (17.1 points per game). Belichick was nominated for four Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning twice.
-JACK DEL RIO coached a Jaguars team who finished the regular season with an 11 - 5 record as the fifth seed in the AFC, and who ranked first in the AFC & second in the NFL in rushing (149.4 yards per game). Jacksonville scored 24 or more points in 10 consecutive games, which contributed to their success this year. Del Rio began the season boldly cutting his QB and making David Garrard the starter, who had a 9-3 record (.750) as starter and completed 208 of 325 passes (64.0 pct.) for 2,509 yards with 18 touchdowns (versus three interceptions). The Jaguars offense was also fueled by RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Taylor finished the season ranked ninth in the league in rushing with 1,202 yards, averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and closed the regular season with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Jones-Drew ranked fourth in the AFC with 2,014 all-purpose yards (768 rush, 407 receiving, 811 KR, 28 PR). The Jaguars defense totaled 20 interceptions (tied for fourth) and 37 sacks (tied for ninth) and allowed 313.8 yards per game (12th in the league). DE Paul Spicer led the Jaguars defense with 7.5 sacks and rookie S Reggie Nelson posted five interceptions, tied for first in the NFL among rookies. Del Rio was nominated for five Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning twice.
-After tragically losing his best defensive player (S Sean Taylor), JOE GIBBS rallied Redskins together to finish the season with a 9-7 record as the sixth seed in the NFC Playoffs. The Redskins won their last four games of the season, including beating two NFC East rivals, the Giants (Week 15) and Cowboys (Week 17), both playoff teams, to secure a wild card spot. To complete the final surge, Gibbs placed the ball in the hands of QB Todd Collins and RB Clinton Portis. Collins guided the team to the last four wins of the season, posting a 106.4 passer rating, completing 67 of 105 (63.8 %) for 888 yards and five touchdowns (and no interceptions). Portis ranked second in the NFC with 1,591 scrimmage yards, including a career-high 47 receptions and 389 receiving yards and he finished third in the NFC with 1,262 rush yards. Redskins TE Chris Cooley had career-high eight touchdowns, which was the most among NFC TEs. The Redskins ranked third in the NFC in total defense (305.2 yards per game) and second in rush defense (91.3). DE Andre Carter finished the season with 10.5 sacks (14th in the league) and two passes defensed and CB Shawn Springs had four picks. Gibbs was nominated for three Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning twice.
-MIKE TOMLIN became only the second rookie head coach in Steelers history to post a winning record, win at least 10 games in the regular season and lead the team to the playoffs. This season, the Steelers became just the fifth team in NFL history to win their first four home games by at least 20 points. Under Tomlin's leadership, the Steelers defense improved to rank first in total defense this season, and they were third versus both the run and the pass. He also helped open up the offense for QB Ben Roethlisberger to have the finest season of his career, earning his first Pro Bowl berth while setting team records for touchdown passes (32) and passer rating (104.1). RB Willie Parker ended the year as the number four rusher in the NFL and the number two rusher in the AFC, totaling 1,316 total yards. Tomlin was nominated for three Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning twice.