Stop me if you've heard this one before - Kevin Stefanski is the NFL Coach of the Year. For the second time in his four-year career as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Stefanski took home the coveted award. This time, he did so in a tie-breaker with DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans. The two had the same score but with Stefanski earning one more first-place vote, he took the trophy.
The first time Stefanski won the award was in 2020 as a rookie. That year, he took the Browns to the playoffs with a record of 11-5 as he installed a new system during a season that was heavily impacted by Covid. This season was even more impressive as he again took his team to the postseason with a record of 11-6 but did so despite losing several star players including Nick Chubb and Deshaun Watson.
Stefanski became the first coach to take his team into the playoffs while securing wins with four different starting quarterbacks — and actually had five different players start under center by the time the year ended.
In addition to losing their top offensive weapons, Cleveland overcame injuries to both starting offensive tackles, their No. 3 tackle, several linebackers, and safety Grant Delpit near the end of the year. The "next man up" mantra was put to the test time and again and Stefanski continued to keep things moving in the right direction.
Browns cleaned up at NFL Honors
Stefanski was the third Browns to win an award on Thursday night. First, it was defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who won the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year award. He was followed by Myles Garrett, who took home the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award — upsetting T.J. Watt in the process.
The future is bright in Cleveland thanks to the leadership of general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski.