Mike McDaniel competition for the NFL Coach of the Year

Mike McDaniel Miami Dolphins (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Mike McDaniel Miami Dolphins (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

So far, Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel hasn’t been mentioned as a legit candidate for the NFL Coach of the Year award but he should be.

McDaniel has some stiff competition for this year COTY, just as much as Tua Tagovailoa has competition for the MVP award. In reality, McDaniel may have a better shot to get the nod over Tua but if we are being honest, it’s unlikely that McDaniel gets the honor as well.

This year, the competition is pretty tough across several teams and while McDaniel has developed one of, if not the most exciting offense in the NFL, he has a lot to do to get the rest of the media to look his way. Who is he competing with?

First of all, you could say he isn’t competing with anyone. McDaniel isn’t looking at the COTY as an end goal and I would surmise that any coach really looks at end of the year awards during the middle of the season or at all until the season is over and even then, most coaches would consider it an honor but nothing more.

This year, McDaniel will be going up against these coaches, some who have already had their names mentioned.

Mike McDaniel
Mike McDaniel (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

AFC coaches

  • Sean McDermott – 6-3 (3rd in AFC East)

McDermott was one of the early preseason predictions to be COTY. The Bills were the odds on favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl but now, many are not seeing that as a 100% probability. The Bills have lost three games, one each to the Jets and Dolphins, and last week to the Vikings in overtime.

  • Robert Saleh – 6-3 (2nd in AFC East)

It’s hard to argue with this even as a Miami Dolphins fan. The Jets have been playing really good football and beat both the Dolphins and the Bills but then lost to the Patriots so who knows what team this really will be at seasons end. Saleh has the Jets trending in the right direction for the first time in more than a decade. The last eight games will determine how many votes, if any he receives.

  • Andy Reid – 7-2 (1st in AFC West)

Reid lost his best WR and so far hasn’t missed a beat. The Chiefs are 7-2 and on their way to a first week bye in the playoffs and Reid should get some of the attention for how the Chiefs have attacked this season so far. The AFC West, however, was supposed to be the best in the NFL but through 10 weeks, only the Chiefs and Chargers (5-4) have winning records.

  • Jim Harbaugh – 6-3 (1st in AFC North)

Harbaugh has his Ravens back on track after a rather disappointing 2021 season, for them anyway. This year the Ravens are in position to keep the Bengals out of the playoffs, away from the division lead but there is a lot of season left. Chances are, Harbaugh doesn’t get anywhere near the votes to win the award.

Oct 29, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll before a game against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll before a game against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

NFC Coaches

While the AFC has a few coaches that could potentially win a COTY award, the likelihood is that this years real competition for McDaniel could come from the NFC side of things.

  • Brian Daboll – 7-2 (2nd in NFC East)

If there is one head coach who clearly has turned things around, outside of McDaniel of course, it has to be Brian Daboll. Daboll has turned the Giants into a legitimate contender for the division and the postseason. His Giants are 7-2 on the year and Daniel Jones is actually relevant. Daboll has already had his name mentioned when chatter about the award comes up.

  • Nick Sirianni – 8-1 (1st in NFC East)

A week ago, Sirianni was the odds on favorite to win the COTY but that was because his Eagles were undefeated. A loss on Monday night to the Commanders will take away some of that shine but the Eagles are, well, flying high even with their one loss. The race for Coach of the Year very well could come down to Daboll and Sirianni, and of course Mike McDaniel.

  • Kevin O’Connell – 8-1 (1st in the NFC North)

O’Connell has the Vikings playing at the highest level in decades and at 8-1 they are running away with the North. The Vikings are the only team in the North with a winning record. The Packers? They are four games back at 4-6.

  • Pete Carroll – 6-4 (1st in NFC West)

Carroll is a long shot, as many of these coaches are but you can’t deny what he has managed to do after the entire NFL media world wrote them off after the Russell Wilson trade. Geno Smith has them competing.

Next. Dolphins offensive line is playing a lot better. dark


Mike McDaniel will be in the conversation so long as the Dolphins keep winning games and putting up big point totals. He has a good shot to win COTY but his the top competition will come down to how Sirianni, O’Connell, and Daboll fair as the season unwinds as well.

While it will be close, the reality is Mike McDaniel deserves to be in the thick of the conversation and should be one of the top vote getters, especially if this success continues.