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NFL Coach of the Year rankings: Pete Carroll on top

With three quarters of the season in the books, we're taking a look at some of the awards that will be given out at the end of the season at NFL Honors in February.

Chris Wesseling did a great job breaking down the races for the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. Here's a look at our picks for Coach of the Year:

1. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks


Too often this award just goes to the flavor of the month. That's why Dick Jauron, Jim Haslett and Ray Rhodes all have won it in the past. We don't think this should just go to a coach that engineered a comeback season. What's harder than sustained greatness in the NFL?

Carroll has the best team in football. He's built a program in his image and uses players in a creative way that plays to their strengths, often in ways that other coaches didn't envision. That's great coaching. The loss of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has not hurt the defense, and a number of free agents have been brought into the mix seamlessly. Seattle has survived a ton of injuries and suspensions. Carroll is a boss.

2. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers


Riverboat Ron gets attention for his record on fourth downs. The Panthers have converted 9 of 11 fourth-down attempts, including one garbage time try that failed when the Panthers were just trying to run the clock out while ahead 36-0.

Rivera deserves credit for his early-season epiphany to be aggressive, but that wasn't a tough call to make when he has the best short-yardage weapon in football. We give Rivera more credit for methodically building up a championship-level defense. This is the team Rivera dreamed of when he took over the job.

3. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots


The Patriots have started unheralded Joe Vellano and Chris Jones at defensive tackle for most of the season after injuries decimated the position. The receiver group had an almost complete overhaul, and played without Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola for most of the season.

New England lost their defensive leader Jerod Mayo for the season early and suffered a slew of injuries in the secondary. Tom Brady had the worst half-season of his career. Add it all up ... and the Patriots are still 9-3 and in position to be the No. 2 seed in the AFC, just like normal.

4. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs


Reid has done a great job maximizing his limited offensive talent and changing the culture around the Chiefs. No one needs to pretend that this was a normal 2-14 team, though. Half of our Around The League crew picked the Chiefs to make the playoffs before the season. No one had them below seven wins.

Reid seems to be the media favorite for the award, but a rough end to the season could change that. Reid deserves credit for an outside-the-box defensive coordinator hire (Bob Sutton), and the offense looks much improved lately.

5. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles


It's ridiculous that Kelly is still getting some nit-picking criticism about not "revolutionizing" the league with his offense. Wrap your mind around the fact that Nick Foles has 19 touchdowns and no interceptions. (He's two scores away from setting the NFL record for most touchdowns to start a season without a pick.) The Eagles lead the league in explosive plays (plays that gain 20-plus yards). LeSean McCoy leads the league in yards from scrimmage. The defensive has steadily improved. Kelly has over-delivered and then some.

Honorable mention: Bruce Arians, Sean Payton and Chuck Pagano

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