In the least surprising news since the sun coming up this morning (I suppose the far north might be an exception of that in the dead of winter), 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year. Harbaugh is the first rookie coach to claim the award since Falcons head coach Mike Smith in 2008. The last 49ers coach to win the award was Bill Walsh all the way back in 1981. There are some reports Dick Nolan won in 1970, but that is a bit hazy.
Coach Harbaugh won in a landslide victory as he took home 45 of the 50 votes. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy received three votes and
Carolina Panthers Denver Broncos coach John Fox received two votes. I figured Harbaugh was an easy choice for Coach of the Year, but five people felt otherwise. Arguments could be made for several coaches doing great jobs, but 13-3 following a lockout and coming off a 6-10 season seems like a no-brainer to me. Of course, I happen to be a 49ers fan, so my opinion might be slanted ever so slightly. If I had to choose a number two in this balloting, I'd be more inclined to go with Marvin Lewis than John Fox or Mike McCarthy.
Coach Harbaugh was not in attendance at the NFL Honors event last night, so Alex Smith actually accepted it on his behalf. He had a few quick comments for his coach:
Just trying to think about what Coach Harbaugh would say if he were here. He probably would say that he doesn't deserve this. It's just the type of guy he is. He'd give all the credit to the players, to the assistant coaches. Just who he is. From someone who's had one or two coaches in my career, I would just like to tell you that this is well-deserved. Congratulations Coach. Thank you.
His line about having one or two coaches drew some laughs from the crowd. I'd imagine it was primarily from the football players in the crowd.