NFL Honors 2013: Making the Case for Bruce Arians as AP Coach of the Year

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 1, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts (L) looks on alongside offensive coordinator Bruce Arians during the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagano has been sidelined on medical leave for three months with leukemia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In the face of incredible adversity, Bruce Arians helped lead the Indianapolis Colts on an unthinkable run to the playoffs that should earn him AP Coach of the Year in the NFL.

Things weren't supposed to go so well for the Colts this season.

With the Peyton Manning era ending and the Andrew Luck era beginning, it was thought that this franchise would remain in the dumps as an annual favorite for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the next few years.

On top of that, their head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer during the season and that left the team coachless, pushing Indianapolis into an even bigger hole to climb out of.

Arians, the team's interim head coach, saw his squad go 9-3 under his direction, all the while remaining as the team's play-caller, which would have been his original duty as the team's offensive coordinator.

The Colts would go on to finish the season 11-5, just one game behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South. Indy did fall short of winning its division, but that didn't stop them from completing a successful playoff run.

All of this while trying to groom a rookie quarterback—and Arians succeeded there too.

Luck had a great rookie campaign which led to him breaking multiple records. The Colts signal-caller's most impressive broken rookie records include most passing yards in a season (4,374) and in a single game (433).

Also, Luck proved to have ice water in his veins with seven game-winning, fourth-quarter drives, which was yet another rookie record broken by the No. 1 overall pick.

All of these accomplishments do have a lot to do with talent, but one can't mistake just how important Arians was in putting Luck in a position to win and how well he taught his young quarterback the ropes of the league.

To say the deck was stacked against the Colts having a great season would be the understatement of the century.

But despite that and all of the difficulties this team had to overcome during the season, Arians was able to steer the Colts' ship to the playoffs. The job he did was remarkable and unmatched, thus making him the most worthy candidate for Coach of the Year.