5 Reasons Why Ron Rivera Deserved the 2013 NFL Coach of the Year
Ron Rivera: 2013 NFL Coach of the Year
The NFL Coach of the Year is one of the most debated awards among NFL fans. While a coach can only do so much with the players at his disposal, it really takes a strong leader to bring together the egos and talents of elite athletes. Ron Rivera may not have won a Super Bowl in 2013, but his efforts over the past three seasons have earned him his Coach of the Year title.
Despite the success of the Carolina Panthers, there are two other coaches that the fans really rooted for to win the 2013 NFL Coach of the Year. The first coach is Chip Kelly. When a college coach takes over an NFL team, analysts love to speculate how the coach will not be able to have professional athletes buy into their system. The analysts also say that college coaches bring gimmick plans into the NFL. There are cases where this is true, but Kelly quickly quieted all of the skeptics in 2013. With only four wins in 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles ran a brutally fast offense that left defensive players struggling to catch their breath. Not only did Kelly lead the Eagles into the playoffs in his first year as a head coach in the NFL, but he did this with a completely different quarterback than he started the season with.
Andy Reid is the other coach that the majority of NFL fans thought should have won the title. After suffering 29 loses from 2010 to 2012, Reid was able to turn the Kansas City Chiefs into winners. Not only did Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles have career years, but Reid helped the Chiefs start the 2013 season with nine straight wins. For a team that has not won a Super Bowl in over 40 years, Reid appears to finally have the Chiefs back on track for a championship run.
Even though Kelly and Reid were strong contenders, here are five reasons why Ron Rivera deserves to be the 2013 NFL Coach of the Year.
5. Not Afraid of Change
Rivera was often criticized for being too conservative in key moments during a game. While many coaches can be very stubborn about their game plan, Rivera was not afraid to evolve his coaching style to help the Panthers win. The team clearly benefited from his new mentality.
4. Winning Record
After only winning six games in 2011, the Panthers became a dominant force in the 2013 NFL season. Not only did the Panthers rack up 12 wins this past season, but they won some very impressive games against the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
3. First Playoff Appearance Since 2008
After only three seasons with the Panthers, Rivera helped the Panthers reach a playoff appearance in 2013.
2. Powerhouse Defense
It is not a surprise that a former linebacker could help improve a defense. Carolina ranked sixth against the pass and second against the run in 2013. Luke Kuechly winning Defensive Player of the Year is another bragging right for Rivera.
1. Rocky 2013 Start
After only one victory in four games, there was some speculation that Rivera may not have a job in Carolina at the end of the season. Not many coaches would be able to go from potentially losing their job to being Coach of the Year.