PHOENIX -- The first-ever Assistant Coach of the Year award has gone to a man who is no longer an assistant.
Todd Bowles -- recently named as head coach of the New York Jets -- was announced as the league's top assistant at Saturday's NFL Honors awards show.
It's a fitting tribute from The Associated Press after Bowles worked wonders this season as Arizona's defensive coordinator, overcoming the loss of multiple key players to help the Cardinals to a playoff berth.
Bowles showed remarkable creativity in patching over the loss of Pro Bowl linebacker Daryl Washington to a year-long suspension after watching Karlos Dansby leave through free agency. It didn't stop there, with defensive tackle Darnell Dockett suffering an ACL tear before pass rusher John Abraham landed on injured reserve with a concussion.
Making the most of Arizona's remaining talent, Bowles directed a defense that allowed just 18.7 points per game, fifth best in the NFL.
"The guy is special," one NFL coach said of Bowles, per ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "People just don't understand, they don't make them like that anymore."