by Matt Snyder
I'm sure it comes as no consolation today -- following a playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals -- but Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has won NFL Coach of the Year honors in his first season. Smith took on an unenviable task, as the Falcons appeared to be in shambles following the Michael Vick debacle and Bobby Petrino leaving during his first season, but he came through with an incredible performance. They finished 11-5 and made the playoffs after a 4-12 2007 season.
Smith won the award by the narrowest of margins, taking down Miami Dolphins' rookie coach, Tony Sparano, by one vote, 23.5 to 22.5. Yeah, someone voted a half-vote for each coach. I don't quite understand that. Just make a decision. Either way, that only leaves four more votes from the 50 total. Jeff Fisher of the Titans received three, and Bill Belichick garnered one.
Sparano took over a 1-15 Dolphins team and improved on that record by 10, getting them back into the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Falcons' Mike Smith Narrowly Wins NFL Coach of the Year Over Tony Sparano originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:36:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.