The highs and lows of being a head coach in the NFL can mirror some of the highest peaks and lowest valleys that you might find in the same geographic areas their team represents. MyBookie has put a price on some of these coaches heading into a new season of games with betting odds for NFL Coach of the Year and odds for which one of the 32 gets fired first.
NFL Head Coach of the Year
The top four coaches on this list at +750 betting odds to win NFL Head Coach of the Year honors just so happen to represent four of the top contenders to win Super Bowl 50.
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Starting with Bill Belichick as head coach of the defending champion New England Patriots, you would have to think there is some solid value in his odds. Since coming to New England in 2000, his teams have won 10 or more games in 13 of his 15 seasons at the helm. He has actually won this award three times during this tenure with the team, with the last award coming in 2010 when the Patriots went 14-2. The value in his odds would actually go up if Tom Brady's four-game suspension is upheld. That would add a key element of adversity in the voters' minds should his team goes onto to have another highly-successful year.
The other three coaches are Pete Carroll in Seattle, John Fox in Denver and Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis. Of the three, I would have to go with Pagano as having the best value. The Colts are a popular pick with bettors to win the AFC this season and if the Colts can get past that 11-win mark that they have reached in each of the last three seasons that could be enough to put him over the top.
If you are looking for some better value in the odds then the Eagles' Chip Kelly at +900 could be a viable option. His teams have won 10 games in each of his first two seasons as head coach in Philadelphia, but in a bold attempt to get his team to the next level he completely blew up his roster this past offseason. Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin are out, and in their place is the trio of Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor. If Philadelphia ends up with one of the two first-round byes for the NFC Playoffs, you would have to think that Kelly would win this award going away.
First NFL Coach to be Fired this Season
The combination of a restless owner who goes through head coaches like he goes through underwear and an incumbent coach that won only one more game (four) than his predecessor in his first year at the helm officially puts Washington's Jay Gruden on the hot seat at +160 to be the first head coach fired this year. The controversy surrounding the play of former first-round pick Robert Griffin III has not helped Gruden's cause with Redskins' owner Dan Snyder, so it is easy to see why he may be on such a short leash heading into his second year on the job.
Cleveland is another wasteland for head coaches, and that's why Mike Pettine is second on this list at +400 betting odds. In just one season with the Browns, his 7-9 record last season was the most wins this franchise has produced since going 10-6 in 2007. Even though there is a fairly new ownership group in Cleveland, the past tends to follow you into the future with seven different head coaches in the same span that Belichick has been in New England.
A very interesting name near the top of this list at +750 is Sean Payton in New Orleans. He has been the head coach in the Big Easy since 2006, and he has led his team to five winning seasons, including a Super Bowl title in 2009. Payton still carries the stigma of being suspended for an entire season as a result of player bounty controversy, but the real reason his job could be in jeopardy is last season's fall to 7-9 after the Saints went 11-5 in 2013. Once a veteran coach starts taking too many steps backwards, the tendency is to start looking for some fresh young face to inject new life into the franchise.
You could always go to the extreme with a play on Chip Kelly at +1800 that he doesn't make it to a fourth season in Philly. This could actually happen if all of his moves completely backfire into a losing season. One way or the other, Kelly wins my award for the most intriguing NFL head coach heading into the 2015 regular season.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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