In the final weeks of the regular season, Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen was a name that repeatedly popped up in Coach of the Year conversations. Justifiably so, a ton of people were convinced that Steichen would either win the award or be a finalist, because he had an extremely strong case.
However, the league announced finalists for all of the end-of-season awards, and Shane Steichen’s name was nowhere to be found on the list of Coach of the Year finalists. Instead of Steichen, Detroit’s Dan Campbell, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh, Houston’s DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan, and Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski were listed.
Shane Steichen not named as a Coach of the Year finalist
Some fans and media members immediately argued that Steichen was snubbed. In his first year coaching, he inherited a four-win team and turned them to a nine-win squad that was a play away from the postseason. In addition to the impressive turnaround, Steichen navigated a ton of obstacles, without blinking.
He dealt with Jonathan Taylor’s messy contract situation and the star running back being sidelined to start the season. The Colts also lost starting rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson for the year in Week 5. Grover Stewart was suspended six games, Shaq Leonard was released, and several other players were either hurt or suspended. Still, Steichen just kept things rolling and kept winning.
To be fair, though, as is the case with all awards, there are always far more worthy candidates than available spots. Steichen definitely deserves to be a finalist and win the award, but so do the five coaches that are the finalists. All five made the playoffs, three made it to championship Sunday, and DeMeco Ryans led his team to a victory over Steichen’s squad with the playoffs on the line. It’s hard to say anyone is a snub, but Steichen doesn’t deserve any less credit for the coaching job he did this season just because he wasn’t voted a finalist.