When considering which head coaches to place future bets on to win Coach of the Year, it’s best to remember what the award is designed for.
The winner of Coach of the Year first and foremost needs to be the head of one of the best teams in the NFL. Take a look at all of the teams heading into 2021 and who you think has the best chance of being one of the two best teams in their respective conference.
Beyond wins, Coach of the Year tends to be a fresh face. Someone who’s recently come into a team and led a turnaround from the previous season. Target teams with the most potential for improvement from 2020 to 2021.
Let’s find our best bets to win NFL Coach of the Year.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers: +1300
Staley is in his first season with the Chargers, the former Rams defensive coordinator. He’s an intriguing bet to win Coach of the Year, given he’s making his head coaching debut and widely considered to be one of the best young minds in football.
Staley is taking over a Chargers team that went 7-9 last season. Los Angeles feels like a team on the rise, led by quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert won Rookie of the Year last season and has looked the part of a franchise quarterback. With a strong defense on his side and a bright young passer, Staley has everything you’d want in a Coach of the Year bet.
If the Chargers can make the playoffs in a loaded AFC, Staley should be in the running for the award.
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers: +1300
Shanahan isn’t a fresh face in the sense he has been the 49ers coach for a few seasons now, but he has never won the award and remains a well-respected coach.
Shanahan can win this award because of the expected improvement in San Francisco’s record. The 49ers went 6-10 in 2020 thanks to a slew of injuries but should be all set for 2021. The core that went to the Super Bowl in 2019 is still intact.
What would help Shanahan’s case is if he can seamlessly integrate rookie quarterback Trey Lance into this offense, and get Lance playing at a high level immediately?
There’s a lot of potential in the rookie from North Dakota State, and if Shanahan can get positive results out of San Francisco’s new franchise quarterback, he stands a good chance of winning Coach of the Year.
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts: +1600
The Colts made the playoffs last season, finishing 11-5, and lost in the Wild Card round. What Frank Reich will need to do is elevate the Colts into one of the three best teams in the AFC.
Reich can win this award if he succeeds in the reclamation project of former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz had a dreadful 2020, so much so that the Eagles gave up on him, trading him to Indy.
Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator back in 2017 when he would have won MVP if not for an ACL injury late in the season. If Reich can get the most out of Wentz, and this team builds on their 2020 success, the Colts could finish with one of the best records in the league.