The Arizona Cardinals didn’t win any playoff games, but that didn’t stop Sporting News from naming Bruce Arians as their NFL Coach of the Year.
Arians, in his second season on the job, led the injury-depleted Cardinals to a 9-1 start and an 11-5 finish. They wrapped up their first playoff berth since 2010, but fell to the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round.
According to Sporting News, the vote wasn’t even close.
But Arians’ landslide win in the Sporting News 2014 NFL Coach of the Year award voted on by players, coaches and executives, was not about looks or friendship, but strictly about the resourceful, resilient, determined job he did steering the depleted Arizona Cardinals to a 9-1 start and an 11-5 final record in the rough-and-tumble NFC West.
They pointed to Arians’ use of the “Next Man Up” belief that became the backbone of the franchise’s most successful regular season since 1975.
If “do more with less” is the mantra of the employment-challenged 21st century, then Arians is the coach of the century, too.
The publication also honored Todd Bowles as their Coordinator of the Year.
The second-year coordinator employed an aggressive, blitzing style in 2014 despite numerous key injuries on that side of the ball as well.
In 2014, key defenders Darnell Dockett, John Abraham, Daryl Washington, Calais Campbell, Tyrann Mathieu and Matt Shaughnessy missed time, some of them the entire season. The defense was worse in every category, sometimes by a wide margin … except in points allowed. They gave up fewer points than the year before and were sixth in the league.
Bowles was introduced Wednesday as the new head coach of the New York Jets.
The AP Coach of the Year, which Arians is considered to be the favorite to win, will be announced January 31 at the NFL Honors Awards Show at Symphony Hall at the Phoenix Convention Center.