What about Mike Smith?

As the NFL regular season comes to a close, the Coach of the Year award winner is in doubt. In terms of comeback seasons, Raheem Morris, Steve Spagnuolo, and Todd Haley fit the mold. Add Tom Cable, Jack Del Rio, Eric Mangini, Mike Tomlin, and Lovie Smith to the mix. But look at the NFC South. The Super Bowl Champs are not in first place in their division. Do you know who is first in the NFC South? Yep, the Atlanta Falcons. After a 9-7 2009 where they missed the playoffs after an 11-5 season the previous year, Atlanta is tied for the NFL’s best record at 11-2. Why? Partially because of the maturity of Matt Ryan. Partially because of Michael Turner’s revitalized season. And a lot of it because of head coach Mike Smith, who gets virtually no credit whatsoever. Since he was hired, before the 2008 season, Smith has been 32-14 as a head coach, and won the NFL Coach of the Year award in 2008. He should win it again, after coming back from a tough season that seemed like everyone was burned out and tired, and sitting on top in a very competitive division and tied for the best record in the whole league. While there are the obvious choices, such as Bill Belichick, I say, don’t forget about Smith. And don’t be surprised if the Falcons go far this playoffs.

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