Through 10 weeks, plenty of viable candidates for coach of the year have emerged. Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre would give the award to one specific coach, based on what has transpired to date.
“I don’t know what the outcome of the season will be but if I had to pick a coach of the year right now it would be Jon Gruden,” Brett Favre said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Some people may say I’m absolutely crazy but I think he’s done a tremendous job. I mean, think about the drama that he’s — and you just talked about not so much drama, but last year when he traded Khalil Mack and then Mack’s first game against Green Bay he just goes crazy and has a tremendous game and everyone says, ‘Is Gruden crazy?’ Trades [Amari] Cooper. Then he has the Antonio Brown fiasco at the start of the season, and all this could have just destroyed his team. I think when you look at all those things that have occurred and where they are and more importantly how they’re playing, they’re playing well and they’re responding to how he coaches. It’s just a tremendous job, it really is. I’m very impressed with what he’s done there.”
The Raiders didn’t have a true home game for seven weeks, playing in Minneapolis and Indianapolis and London and Green Bay and Houston between hosting contests at the Coliseum. And the team is moving next year. And they dealt with the distraction of Hard Knocks. Which is still nothing compared to the distraction of Mr. Big Chest a/k/a Antonio Brown, whose antics could have ripped the team apart.
With the Bengals and Jets up next, the Raiders could be 7-4 when they face the Chiefs in Week 13, and the Chiefs could be 7-4 entering that game, too. It’s an amazing thought that Oakland could supplant Kansas City as AFC West champion in a year when many assumed the Chiefs would be the conference’s No. 1 seed, again.
While Favre isn’t crazy to pick Gruden, there are still other viable candidates. Beyond Gruden, current favorites should include 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Saints coach Sean Payton, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, and Packers coach Matt LaFleur. Others could emerge over the final seven weeks — and there’s indeed a good chance that Gruden will be the ultimate winner, especially if his team not only makes it to the playoffs but also wins the division.