Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 12/19/11

Last night we kicked off week 15, with the Falcons (led by 2008 AP Coach of the year Mike Smith) kicking some serious Jaguar butts. I started to think which coach deserves the same accolades this year. This has been one of the more competitive years in terms of the battle for coach of the year. There are many names that come to mind right away when thinking of worthy candidates but its important to note what people are looking for when deciding on coach of the year.

The Packers are 13-0 so why wouldn’t Mike McCarthy be coach of the year? The 49ers are 10-3 after an abysmal year last year and are led by new stud head coach Jim Harbaugh, so shouldn’t it go to him? John Fox made as bold as a move as anyone and changed his entire offense based on a player who can’t play QB and now is leading the division, surely he should take it?

In my mind there are several worthy choices for this year’s coach of the year honors, but I will break it down to 4 deserving candidates.

1) Gary Kubiak (10-3) 35% chance of winning

Mario Williams out for the season, Matt Schaub out for the season, Andre Johnson in and out of the lineup all year, Arian Foster injured to start the season. TJ Yates the new starting Texans QB.

If I would have said that before the season started you probably would have had the Texans at 4-9 this point of the season and Gary Kubiak ready to pack his bags. But with three games left on the schedule (Carolina, Indy, Tenn.) it is very likely the Texans could be heading into the playoffs with a first round bye. Despite an injury list long enough to put any coach in a coma, Kubiak has rallied his troops with the help of Wade Philips and his number 1 ranked NFL defense. The Texans finally clinched their first division and playoff berth this year and Kubiak has gone completely under the radar. If the Texans finish off the season with 3 straight and a 13-3 record my money would be on Kubiak taking the coach of the year honors.

2) Jim Harbaugh (10-3) 30%

While the 49ers have completely turned things around this year I am not giving them much of a chance to beat the Steelers this week unless Big Ben is out. While the 49ers had a chance of being an up and coming team, they were not given much respect before the season started. Harbaugh hasn’t completely changed the perception on Alex Smith, but he has made him a mistake-free, efficient QB.

Harbaugh's fun-loving and aggressive attitude has put a spell on the NFL and has certainly caught the attention of his players as the 49ers have become a respectable player in the NFC again. If Harbaugh wants the coach of the year accolades however, his team will have to hold on the #2 seed in the NFC.

3) Mike McCarthy (13-0) 20%

Yes, it is entirely possible that the Packers finish 16-0 and McCarthy doesn’t even win coach of the year.

Aaron Rodgers is a lock to win the MVP award and that probably holds back McCarthy’s odds from winning the coach of the year award.

McCarthy has not been given very much attention this year which is strange because his team is 13-0. You can't blame the Packers for being excellent, but this is a Sportswriters' award, and their dominance just hasn't made for good copy. What can we say? Tebow steals all the headlines.

4) John Fox (8-5) 15%

This man deserves major credit as he basically put his job on the line and switched his whole offense to cater to Sir Tim Tebow. Fox has been extremely conservative in his play calling but has rallied his defense to do whatever it can to make sure Tebow has a shot in the 4th quarter. It is simply miraculous to think that the Broncos hold the power of the AFC West in their hands.

And going back to our last point, if Rodgers wins the MVP (as by all rights he should), there may be a faction of sportswriters strongly motivated to write their Tim Tebow copy here, using Fox as their vehicle. Will that be enough to push Fox to the top?

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