New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been named as the Associated Press coach of the year. It’s the third time that Belichick has won the award.
Belichick led with 30 votes. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley finished tied for second with 11 ½ votes a piece. Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons), Andy Reid (Philadelphia Eagles), Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears) and Steve Spagnuolo (St. Louis Rams) all had one vote each.
Belichick guided the Patriots to an NFL-best 14-2 record in 2010. He became the first head coach ever to win at least 14 regular-season games in four separate seasons (2003: 14-2, 2004: 14-2, 2007: 16-0 and 2010: 14-2). Only four other coaches – San Francisco’s George Seifert (3), Washington’s Joe Gibbs (2), Chicago’s Mike Ditka (2) and Miami’s Don Shula (2) – have more than one 14-win season.
The 2010 Patriots set and tied numerous NFL records in 2010. The team set an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game season with 10, set an NFL record by playing seven straight games without a turnover, set an NFL record with seven straight games with 30 points and no turnovers, tied an NFL record with eight straight games of 30 points or more and tied an NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season with five. The 2010 team also set a franchise record by finishing the season with a turnover differential of +28, forcing 38 turnovers while allowing just 10 turnovers. The turnover differential of +28 is the second-best since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, trailing only the +43 posted by the 1983 Washington Redskins.
In addition, the 2010 Patriots finished first in the NFL in scoring (518 points for a 32.4 average) and eighth in the NFL in fewest points allowed (313 points for a 19.6 average).
Belichick has led the Patriots to a winning record for 10 consecutive seasons (2001-2010). The only other NFL coach to have at least 10 consecutive winning seasons with one team since the 1970 merger was Tom Landry, who led the Dallas Cowboys to 16 consecutive winning seasons (1970-1985).
Belichick, who was hired by Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft on Jan. 27, 2000, has delivered three Super Bowl championships, four conference titles, eight division crowns and 14 playoff victories. He directed the Patriots to victories in Super Bowls XXXVI (2001), XXXVIII (2003) and XXXIX (2004), and in 2007 he became the first NFL head coach to guide his team to a 16-0 regular season record. He is the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four seasons.
Belichick’s accomplishments have placed him among the elite coaches in NFL history. He owns a career record of 177-99-0 overall as a head coach, 10th all-time. His .641 winning percentage is third all-time, behind George Halas (.682) and Don Shula (.666). He is one of just four head coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began following the 1966 season. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club – Chuck Noll (4 titles) and Joe Gibbs and Bill Walsh (2 titles).