When the Associated Press announced its annual Coach of the Year award on Sunday, the breakdown of votes went like this: Mike Smith 23.5, Tony Sparano 22.5, Jeff Fisher 3 and Bill Belichick 1.
From a New England perspective, that led to the following question: Which one of the 50 voters selected Belichick?
Turns out it was Bob Costas.
In a phone interview with the Globe, Costas was asked about the vote. His answer was included in Tuesday’s editions of the Boston Globe, and it’s posted here as well:
“I didn’t think he would win, but I thought he deserved a nod for what might have been the best, or certainly one of the best coaching jobs of his career,” Costas said. “He loses [Tom] Brady, and it’s not just losing Brady, but also that [Matt] Cassel basically never played. It’s not the same thing as losing Johnny Unitas and you have Earl Morrall. He brought the kid along.
“The winner is usually the guy whose team is the most surprising, and I wouldn’t argue against Smith, Sparano or [John] Harbaugh. You could make a good case for them, as well as others, like Jeff Fisher, Tony Dungy, John Fox and Tom Coughlin. I just thought Belichick did a phenomenal job, considering the emotional hangover that had to be there from coming so close to perfection [in 2007] and losing in such agonizing fashion, and then you lose Brady virtually from the opening kickoff of the first game. There is not just a strategic adjustment that has to be made, but you have to convince these guys not to say ‘to heck with it.’ There must be an incredible level of respect there for him to command that type of effort.”