Bill Belichick Says Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury Should Be NFL Coach of Year

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 14, 2021

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals after their game at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expressed his belief Monday that Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury should be the NFL Coach of the Year this season.

Belichick's comments came after Kingsbury told reporters the following regarding his feelings on Belichick and the Coach of the Year award: "I mean, they should just name the award 'Bill Belichick.' And when he retires, like, bring that back. But, yeah, until he retires, I don't think anybody else should get the award, honestly. He should be that every single year that he's coaching."

During an appearance on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show (h/t Dana Scott of the Arizona Republic), Belichick responded: "That's very nice of Kliff to toss that bouquet. I'll toss it right back. Kliff has done a great job and should be the Coach of the Year."

Given how the Cardinals and Patriots have performed this season, both Kingsbury and Belichick have to be considered as strong contenders for the Coach of the Year award.

The Cards are coming off a tough 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football, but they are still tied for the best record in the NFC and the NFL as a whole at 10-3 along with the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kingsbury is in the midst of his third season as head coach of the Cardinals after previously serving as the head coach at Texas Tech, and after missing the playoffs in 2019 and 2020, Arizona seems poised to return to the postseason for the first time since 2015.

While improvement was expected for the Cardinals, it can be argued that Belichick's Patriots are performing well beyond what anyone could have expected.

At 9-4, the Pats aren't only leading the AFC East, they are also tied for the best record in the AFC overall with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans.

Defense is the biggest reason for New England's success this season, as the Patriots rank third in total defense and first in scoring defense.

Making the Pats' success even more impressive is the fact that they are doing it with rookie No. 15 overall pick Mac Jones at quarterback.

Jones was the fifth quarterback off the board in the 2021 NFL draft, and while he hasn't put up monster numbers, his efficiency and ability to protect the football has helped make him the best performer among rookie quarterbacks by far this season.

Belichick won the NFL Coach of the Year award in 2003, 2007 and 2010, making him one of only three coaches to win the award at least three times.

If he wins it a fourth time, he will tie Miami Dolphins legend Don Shula for the most Coach of the Year honors in NFL history.

Belichick could have won the award many more times than he has, but it typically goes to the coach of a surprising or overachieving team. Since the Patriots have always been expected to dominate during Belichick's tenure, he has been overlooked at times.

This year, however, the Pats are one of those surprising and overachieving teams, as they are back atop the AFC after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

It will be tough to deny Belichick the award if the Patriots hang on and win the AFC East, but if the Buffalo Bills manage to chase them down, then Kingsbury will likely be heavily considered as a first-time winner.