Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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There’s been a lot of talk locally after the Eagles squeaked by the Giants Sunday that Doug Pederson will be the NFL coach of the year.

This is what happens when sportswriters and other media types — hello, sportstalk radio and television news people all dressed in midnight green — get caught up in the homerism of a potential Super Bowl run. Fun fact: Most NFL press boxes do not have other games on during an NFL game, and most wifi systems in those press boxes don’t have the bandwidth to stream NFL Redzone. After the early games, most writers are interviewing coaches and players and writing their newspaper columns for the next day.

This is not to say Pederson won’t win NFL coach of the year. He might. But taking the word of someone who only covers the Eagles is like letting someone tell you Hall & Oates is the best band of all time just because they’ve seen that Applebee’s ad four hundred million times during games and it’s the only non-Christmas song they’ve heard in December.

YouTube video

(I may have Stockholm Syndrome re: this song now.)

Pederson is on a very short list of coaches who can win NFL coach of the year. Given all the injuries he’s had to deal with this season — not just Carson Wentz, but losing Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles, Chris Maragos and Ronald Darby for half the season — it’s remarkable that Pederson has his team in line for home field advantage in the playoffs.

Already the Eagles have won five more games than they did in Pederson’s first season, and they have a chance to double their win total in one year. That’s … incredible, and if it happens, Pederson will probably take home coach of the year honors.

That said, the award should be given to the coaching staff of the year. Pederson wouldn’t be in line to win anything without Jim Schwartz stewarding the defense and Dave Fipp running the special teams. That says nothing of Frank Reich’s work as offensive coordinator and the other positional coaches, most notably Duce Staley, who heads the running back room.

So if Pederson, like his Eagles team, is the frontrunner in the NFL, here’s a look at all the contenders. In other words, it’s not over yet.

Doug Pederson

Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

Pederson needed the Cowboys to rest all their starters in Week 17 last season just to get to seven wins and now he’s on the cusp of locking up the No. 1 seed in the NFC in dominant fashion one year later. To withstand the long list of injuries to key players and still have his team winning games is worthy of praise.

The Eagles have the best scoring offense in football, tied with the Rams, and a legendarily good run defense.

It’s hard to think another coach has done as much as Pederson and his staff this season.

Why he won’t:

Howie Roseman should win GM of the year, which is why Pederson may not get as much credit for the Eagles’ rebound as he should. The fact is, the roster is markedly better than it was last year at receiver, running back and along the defensive line. And while the secondary’s stats haven’t shown improvement, the unit is more talented than a year ago.

Pederson deserves credit for believing in Nelson Agholor, sure, but it was Roseman and his personnel staff that opted to not cut or trade the mercurial receiver. So Pederson may be a victim of his own team’s talent. That, and there are some other very deserving candidates.

Bill Belichick

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

He’s the best coach in football, maybe the best coach in any sport today and possibly the best coach in the history of the NFL.

Seriously, name one player on that defense this year. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Despite giving up a ton of yards per game, the Patriots have the sixth-best scoring defense in the league. Better than the Steelers and Eagles.

Plus, Belichik hasn’t won the award since 2010, so voters may feel he’s due.

Why he won’t:

The Patriots have only three losses this season and are in line to earn home field advantage in the AFC, but if Tom Brady wins MVP, voters may feel there are other more worthy candidates for coach of the year. It’s like those years where LeBron James doesn’t win NBA MVP. Like, that’s stupid because he’s the best player on the planet, but someone may have had as good a year so voters pick him instead. That’s Belichick, every year for the last six.

Mike Tomlin

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

The Steelers also only have three losses, and dropped last week’s heartbreaker to the Patriots in controversial fashion. But what Tomlin has had to handle this season is borderline ridiculous. From Le’Veon Bell’s preseason holdout to Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement tease to the debacle surrounding the national anthem protests — and the fallout after Alejandro Villanueva was photographed outside the tunnel by himself — to losing Ryan Shazier to a horrific spinal injury to now losing Antonio Brown, a candidate for MVP himself, for the rest of the regular season, it’s amazing that Tomlin has managed to keep the Steelers from completely imploding.

Instead, the Steelers are in line for a bye, have a 6-1 record on the road and are licking their chops for another shot at the Patriots.

Why he won’t:

He’s not Bill Belichick.

Doug Marrone

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

Jacksonville finished 3-13 last season and Gus Bradley got fired, leaving the team in the hands of Doug Marrone. It felt as though Marrone got the job because nobody else wanted it, despite a ton of talent on both sides of the ball for Jacksonville. Nobody should have expected Marrone would get another chance to be an NFL head coach after the debacle in Buffalo, but he seems like perhaps the perfect fit for the oft-overlooked Jaguars, leading them to a 10-4 record with two games to play and a shot at a first-round bye.

Through 14 games, Jacksonville has the best scoring defense in the NFL by two-and-a-half points. If the Jags win out, Marrone will be responsible for a nine-win increase from last year. That just doesn’t happen often.

Why he won’t:

While the Jaguars have some signature wins this season, including one over Pittsburgh, they’re still regarded by most as second citizens in the AFC behind the Steelers and Patriots. That shouldn’t be the case, but when it comes down to voting, it’s hard to believe many voters will reward Marrone for what he’s done over Belichick.

Sean McVay

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

Sean McVay is the youngest @NFL head coach to win 10 games in a season since Bull
Lehman with the 1929 Frankford Yellow Jackets.@NFLResearch

— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 18, 2017

For my money, McVay has as good a chance to win MVP as Pederson. The Rams were 4-12 last season and Jared Goff looked like a bust. But in the first year under the 31-year-old rookie coach, the Rams are in line to win the NFC West and look like one of the two or three best teams in the NFC heading into the playoffs.

The Rams have the league’s best scoring offense, along with the Eagles, and the fifth-best scoring defense, behind only the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings and Jaguars.

Why he won’t:

He’s a rookie head coach and he’s 31 years old, two reasons why old-head media types won’t vote for him to win coach of the year, even if they should.

Mike Zimmer

Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Why he’ll win:

Zimmer is probably looking at all the people touting Pederson for coach of the year because of all the injuries he’s had to endure and thinking, “that’s cute.”

The Vikings are 11-3 this season with their third-string quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater just came back this week after a horrible leg injury that nearly cost him two years of his career. Sam Bradford started this season before, himself, going down for the season and Zimmer just plugged in Case Keenum and the dude is a Pro Bowler.

Plus, the Vikings lost rookie running back Dalvin Cook after he got hurt early in the season and their running game has barely missed a beat. Cook was an early favorite for NFL rookie of the year, but the Vikings kept on rolling without him with barely a hiccup.

At 11-3 the Vikings still have a chance for home field should the Eagles lose their final two games, and are on pace for the No. 2 seed and a first round bye.

They have the best scoring defense in the NFC by two full points, the second-best defense in the NFL in yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game and they’ve beaten the Saints, Rams and Falcons, losing only to Carolina on the road among playoff teams.

Why he won’t:

He’s not Bill Belichick? Given his standing around the league and what the Vikings have done on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to think of any reason why Zimmer won’t win coach of the year this year.

That said, if Pederson locks up home field with Nick Foles at quarterback and no middle linebacker, he could, and probably should, still win. But it’s not as much of a lock as some of the local scribes might make it out to be. Not yet.