There are other deserving candidates. Pagano himself. But what he did in coming back from leukemia is more about fortitude and character than X's and O's.
It began last January when the Pittsburgh Steelers unexpectedly announced the retirement of their offensive coordinator.
Within a week, Arians unretired to work for the Colts: a dispirited, two-win team, about to embark on a very ambitious project.
Of all the quarterbacking prodigies, Andrew Luck would be asked to do the most and would make the most mistakes.
Then Pagano took to his medical leave.
It wasn't life and death for Arians. But, truth be told, these were less than ideal circumstances.
The interim designation guarantees no succcess. Especially when you're already below .500.
And the Steelers? No playoffs for them. Seven wins. Down from 12 last season. The offense went from 12th to 19th.
It's not hard to see why.