Sporting News named Atlanta Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith as the NFL Coach of the Year Friday, marking his third time. Smith led the Falcons to their first postseason win since 2004 and became the first head coach in franchise history to registered five consecutive winning seasons.
The Falcons finished their 2012 NFL campaign with a NFC-best 13-3 record and managed to appear in the team’s first NFC Championship Game in 14 years. Smith joins Hall of Fame coaching greats Paul Brown, Chuck Knox and Joe Gibbs as the only NFL coaches to be honored three times by Sporting News.
During his tenure in Atlanta, Smith have been able to compiled a 56-24 (.700) regular season record with three straight playoff berths and two division titles.
Fortunately, he was able to get the monkey off his back by winning a postseason this season. The Falcons nearly blew their opportunity to win the NFC Divisional Round against the Seahawks this season as they came from behind with least than a minute remaining in regulation to defeat Seattle, 30-28.
Smith and the Falcons eventually lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, despite being up 17-0 early in the contest, 28-24.
Smith passed former head coach Dan Reeves to become the Falcons’ all-time leader in coaching wins this season. Reeves registered a 49-59-1 record during his tenure from 1997 to 2003.
Sporting News also honored new Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians as the NFL Coordinator of the Year Friday, due to his outstanding success of guiding the young, Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs in the absence of head coach Chuck Pagano who battled with leukemia during the season.
The world, respected publication will announce the NFL Executive of the Year and All-Pro Team on Jan. 28