When news broke earlier this week that the Pro Football Writers of America named the Carolina Panthers‘ Ron Rivera as their choice for 2013 Coach of the Year, I waited for Ashton Kutcher to appear, throw someone in a headlock, give them a noogie and bring out the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Andy Reid. No such luck.
While GM John Dorsey was acclaimed by the PFWA as Exectuive of the Year, Reid was not recognized for his role in the Chiefs’ epic one-eighty from league worst to playoff-bound. Reid’s implementation of a West Coast offense in Kansas City maximized Jamaal Charles‘ potential in 2013, a year that saw him arguably ascend to “best running back” status.
He coached to his players’ strengths and instilled faith in a Chiefs’ fanbase that was beginning to lose it. Reid did more than simply rejuvenate the franchise, he brought an entire city back to life. All this during Reid’s first season in K.C.
Rivera, in his third year for Carolina, led the Panthers to a 12-4 regular season record, good enough to snag the two seed in the NFC Playoffs. After a first-round bye, Carolina fell to the San Francisco 49ers 23-10, a disappointing end to an otherwise very successful season.
Following a shaky 1-3 start, the Panthers rebounded to win 11 of their last 12 regular season games behind Rivera’s leadership. Assisted tremendously by the play of QB Cam Newton and Carolina’s suddenly stalwart defense, the Panthers may have been the best all-around squad in the second half of the season.
Still, Carolina has owned the tools for success since Rivera arrived and it was only a matter of time before things clicked. The Panthers finished 2012 with a 7-9 record, good enough for a second place finish in a competitive NFC South division. Kansas City finished 2012 at 2-14, the league’s worst mark.
Basically, Kansas City was the butt of several mediocre jokes while Carolina was on the verge of playoff contention. Reid transformed Kansas City from league laughingstock to it’s last undefeated team; Rivera finally did what was been expected of him.
The fact that Reid wasn’t rewarded for his part in Kansas City’s 2013 season challenges the integrity of this honor in the future. Was Reid snubbed to avoid a Kansas City sweep of the PFWA awards? Who knows. But it would be as logical an excuse as any I’ve heard to deny Reid the recognition.