Kevin Stefanski Coach of the Year odds: Does Browns coach deserve 2023 honor over DeMeco Ryans, Dan Campbell?

Kevin Stefanski won the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award when he took the Browns to the playoffs in 2020. Now, he’s looking to join an exclusive club of multiple winners in 2023.

Stefanski, despite having an offense riddled with injuries to key players such as Deshaun Watson, Nick Chubb, Jedrick Wills, and Jack Conklin and going through five starting quarterbacks, led Cleveland to an 11-6 record as the AFC’s top wild-card team. The Browns also won 11 games in ’20, adding a wild-card playoff win.

Given Stefanski was considered to be on the hot seat before the season, it was a much-needed breakthrough, even without a full season from Watson again.

Here’s looking at Stefanski’s short odds as his Browns kick off the playoffs against the Texans, as well as whether some other strong candidates have a chance to upset him:

Kevin Stefanski’s NFL Coach of the Year odds

Per VegasInsider.com, FanDuel has Stefanski as a near-lock to win the award at -950. If he wins, he would join 13 other coaches who have taken the AP honor at least twice going back to its inception in 1957. That impressive group includes Don Shula, George Halas, Bill Parcells, and Bill Belichick.

While Stefanski is the heavy favorite as the expected winner from 2023, there are a bunch of coaches with arguments to upset him.

Kevin Stefanski’s top NFL Coach of the Year competition

There are five coaches listed right behind Stefanski in the aforementioned odds that have an outside shot with their own strong cases:

  • DeMeco Ryans, Texans +750
  • Shane Steichen, Colts +1200
  • Dan Campbell, Lions +1900
  • John Harbaugh, Ravens +2200
  • Sean McVay, Rams +5000

This is an interesting set of odds, with the two best overall and longest-tenured coaches at the bottom.

Harbaugh won his only AP Coach of the Year when the Ravens were last the AFC No. 1 seed in 2019. McVay won as a rookie for leading the Rams’ quick turnaround in ’17 but surprisingly wasn’t more in the conversation when he won his first NFC title in ’18 and then Super Bowl 56 after the ’21 season.

Harbaugh and McVay, each with a ring, arguably have done their best overall coaching jobs, given the Ravens were in a big schematic and personnel transition and the Rams revived their contender status with a lot of young players. The award, however, tends to go more to unproven and seemingly overachieving coaches.

Steichen, the former Eagles offensive coordinator, is also on the outside looking in despite having the Colts in the playoff hunt until Week 18 when they lost to Ryans’ Texans at home. Ryans, the former 49ers defensive coordinator, seemed to be the favorite for a good chunk of the season while leading a team with a rookie QB and young defense.

Campbell is likable for his own fiery-former-player approach, but he’s hurt by the fact his personality and coaching prowess already burst on the scene at the end of ’22. The Lions also weren’t much of a surprise as the favorites to win the NFC North.

Had Campbell’s Lions finished higher than the No. 3 seed, perhaps that would have been enough exceeding of expectations to give him a real shot, but it looks like it will come down to Stefanski vs. Ryans, whose Browns and Texans also play each other in Houston to open the AFC wild-card playoffs.

Ryans can’t be counted out because of the newness combined with success, but Stefanski’s team overcame incredible offensive adversity to be not just a playoff team, but also one with an often-dominant defensive foundation. If you’re looking for some betting odds value, then Ryans would be the choice, but when looking at how voters think and who tends to win the award, Stefanski is a good call to become a two-time recipient.

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