According to DraftKings, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is tied for ninth in Coach of the Year odds this season, despite having a team that sits atop of the NFL’s standings following their Thursday Night Football win over the previously undefeated Cardinals. He is tied at +2500 (four percent implied probability) with Sean Payton and Mike Vrabel, who have a combined record of 9-4 this season.
This is the same LaFleur who is on the longest active win streak of his career, to this point, and has started off his head coaching record so well that you have to compare his record to coaches from the pre-Super Bowl era for context. Voters like flashy news names, which explains the likes of rookie Chargers coach Brandon Staley being ranked so high, but that alone does not explain all names ranked ahead of LaFleur.
For example, Sean McVay, Sean McDermott, Mike McCarthy, and John Harbaugh, all coaches who have a better chance to win Coach of the Year than LaFleur per the live odds, are no spring chickens. McCarthy has basically been limited to calling timeouts and sending in the kicker for Dallas this year with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore calling plays offensively. McCarthy also just had to fire his collection of buddies making up his 2020 defensive staff. Some coach!
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury just lost to LaFleur’s team head-to-head and the Cardinals managed to win a game this year without Kingsbury on the sideline entirely. Give me a break! The Packers also have a head-to-head win over Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who is tied for the third-highest odds to win the award after Staley and Kingsbury.
The Packers will be able to settle some of this debate on the field this season, with the Los Rams, Ravens, and Browns on the schedule from Week 12 to Week 16. McVay (Rams), Harbaugh (Ravens), and Kevin Stefanski (Browns) all have better odds to win the award, as it stands today, than LaFleur.
With all of the injuries that Green Bay has had to adjust for in-season, with the wins that came with those adjustments along the way, without even having to bring up that the team is in Year 1 of a new defensive scheme and managed to beat the undefeated Cardinals without their defensive play-caller or their top three wide receivers, it’s hard to imagine that LaFleur’s odds stay this low moving forward.