Patriots

Here's who Belichick thinks should win NFL Coach of the Year

Patriots

Bill Belichick and Kliff Kingsbury are playing nice in their race for NFL Head Coach of the Year.

The New England Patriots coach and Arizona Cardinals coach entered Week 14 as co-frontrunners to win this year's award, per PointsBet. But when asked about his candidacy Thursday, Kingsbury heaped praise on his competition, suggested the NFL should name the award after Belichick.

"Until he retires, I don't think anybody else should get the award, honestly," Kingsbury said. "He should be that every single year that he's coaching."

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Belichick was asked about Kingsbury's comments Monday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" and insisted Kingsbury should be this year's winner.

"Very nice of Kliff to toss that bouquet, and I'll toss it right back," Belichick said. "Kliff has done a great job. I think he's done a great job and should be the Coach of the Year this year."

Both coaches have strong resumes: The Patriots (9-4) have won seven in a row to vault to the AFC's No. 1 seed and have done a tremendous job integrating rookie quarterback Mac Jones in addition to several free-agent signings. Kingsbury's Cardinals enter Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams with the NFL's best record (10-2) despite playing three games without star quarterback Kyler Murray.

 

If the Cardinals can maintain that top spot, Kingsbury is the likely winner. Even if Belichick is the better coach, the Coach of the Year award tends to favor youth over experience, and Kingsbury -- who actually played for Belichick as a backup Patriots quarterback in 2003 -- is in just his third year with Arizona.

If Belichick wins, he'd join Don Shula as the only other coach to win this award four times. But he's downplaying his candidacy at the moment -- at least publicly.