Kevin Stefanski being rewarded for a fantastic first season.
It was a phenomenal rookie year for Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, capped off with being named Pro Football Writers of America Coach of the Year.
In his first season as a head coach, Stefanski, 38, turned the Browns into a 6-10 nightmare to a divisional-round playoff team.
An 11-5 regular season marked the best record for the Browns since 1994 while snapping the NFL’s longest active playoff drought of 17 years. Marty Schottenheimer was the last Browns head coach to win PFWA AFC’s Coach of the Year in 1986.
In addition to the PFWA honors, Stefanski also earned Sporting News’ Coach of the Year, the award that is voted on by the league’s other coaches. Paul Brown was the last Cleveland coach to be awarded Sporting News honors in 1953.
Last season, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh won the award for coaching the Ravens to a 14-2 record and Lamar Jackson to an MVP season. Even though Stefanski was not on the sideline coaching the team’s Wild Card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers due to COVID-19, the culture he had set throughout the season was enough to win himself the award.
While Stefanski’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, Stefanski has been properly credited for the work he has done this season. While other organizations around the league are scrambling to hire their next head coach, the Browns can sit back and enjoy this award with Stefanski, the club’s twelfth coach since 1999.
At only 38 years old, it’s quite possible that Stefanski’s name could be etched onto the Coach of the Year award several more times in the many years to come.