Bengals head coach Zac Taylor deserves to win Coach of the Year

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

What makes a Coach of the Year? Some might say it’s who has the best team all year, most consistent. The coach that deserves it the most is a coach who either overcomes adversity or far exceeds expectation. Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals definitely falls in the latter category.

Not a soul on earth thought the Bengals would be in the AFC Championship game this season. Most people didn’t even give the Bengals a chance in the AFC North. No one was talking about this team to begin the year.

Yes, the Bengals were not perfect in the regular season, but no team is consistent. Look at the four teams left, all four went through rough patches in their season, but they pulled it together when it has mattered most.

I’ve been skeptical of Taylor for a while now. Some of his play-calling and decision-making are baffling but he is still a young coach with things to learn. He’s had a vision/plan and he is executing and it is working, so who am I to question him now?

Zac Taylor deserves Coach of the Year

Taylor’s main competition for Coach of the Year going into the playoffs was Mike Vrabel in Tennessee and Matt LaFleur in Green Bay. According to Pro Football Talk, it was neck and neck between Taylor and LaFleur.

I know it is a regular-season award but no one was surprised that the Packers were great and got the No. 1 seed. Mike Vrabel doesn’t deserve the award for solely losing Derrick Henry. However, I’d argue they did as well as they would have had they had Henry.

The Titans went 6-3 to finish the season with a running back by committee for the most part. Their defense is really their danger, as we learned over the weekend. Tennessee sacked Joe Burrow nine times, so yeah it’s nasty defense. I’m not sure why Vrabel is considered for doing well while losing a player especially when it wasn’t a quarterback.

It’s a passing league. If teams do not have a high-caliber quarterback, they will not win in January when it matters the most. That’s why only quarterbacks ever win MVP, and while yes there are exceptions, it’s a passing league. If the Titans lost Tannehill and Tennessee still earned the No. 1 seed with a backup, I’d consider Vrabel.

Taylor’s main competition should be Kyle Shanahan. His team battled injuries all season to pull out a comeback win against the Rams in week 18 to get into the playoffs. After week 18 no one wanted to play the 49ers and no one still does. Just look at what they did to the Cowboys and Bucs.

Zac Taylor has turned the Bengals around in three years. They’ve gone from the Bungles of the ’90s to one of the most feared teams in the AFC. He’s not only made the team better but he and Joe Burrow have brought an entire culture change in Cincinnati.

After finishing last in the AFC North the past two seasons, dealing with the Burrow injury, and winning just six games in his first two seasons, Taylor has shown what he can do. With a healthy Burrow, Taylor not only delivered a winning season (something I didn’t expect this year), but a division title, the team’s first playoff win in 31 years, and now the franchise’s first road playoff victory after defeating the Titans on Sunday.

Oh, not to mention the Bengals’ first AFC title game appearance since 1988.

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Tell me why Zac Taylor doesn’t deserve Coach of the Year. I’ll wait.