Dan Campbell, Mike McDaniel, Kyle Shanahan Emerge as NFL Coach of Year Candidates


DraftKings has updated their 2023 NFL Coach of the Year odds, and Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions) is a slight betting favorite at +300 odds over Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins) at +400, and Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers) at +500.

Dan Campbell Lions head coach
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell prowling the sidelines of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Image: Getty)

Shanahan and the 49ers (5-0) are one of two undefeated teams in the NFL. The 49ers are currently the consensus favorite to win Super Bowl LVIII at +350 odds.

Campbell and the Lions (4-1) have the second-best record in the NFC, and he’s on a mission to lead them to their first division title in 30 years and first playoff victory since 1991.

McDaniel and the Dolphins (4-1) were tied with the Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) for the best record in the AFC after five games. Under McDaniel, the Dolphins are the highest-scoring team in the league and are on pace to break records as the most lethal offense in NFL history. The 2023 Dolphins are close to overtaking the best offense in NFL history, the 1999 St. Louis Rams, which was known as the “Greatest Show on Turf.”

Shane Steichen, head coach of the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles (5-0), guided the Eagles to a trip to last year’s Super Bowl. He’s +1200 odds to win Coach of the Year, but not in the same upper echelon as the front-running trio of Campbell, McDaniel, and Shanahan.

Dan Campbell (Lions) +300

Campbell is a former tight end who spent 11 seasons in the NFL. He pivoted to coaching after his playing career abruptly ended in 2009 because of a knee injury.

Campbell spent a decade as the tight ends coach with the Miami Dolphins and the Saints. He went 5-7 as the interim head coach with the 2015 Dolphins when they fired Joe Philbin after four games.

The Lions surprised a lot of fans and industry insiders when they hired Campbell as their new head coach in 2021. The fiery and passionate Campbell impressed executives during his interview, which became a part of NFL lore when he used office furniture to demonstrate blocking schemes.

As a former player, Campbell quickly earned the trust of veterans in the locker room. The Lions went 3-13-1 in 2021, but they played hard every game. Campbell instilled a positive culture, and the Lions improved every year since his arrival.

Since taking over as the head coach of the Lions, backing Campbell has been a profitable venture. The Lions are 27-12 against the point spread (ATS) under Campbell, and they boast the top betting record in the NFL since the start of the 2021 season. They were 11-6 ATS in 2021, and the second-best betting team in the NFL in 2022 at 12-5 ATS. Backing the Lions has been profitable in 2023, and they’re tied for the best ATS record at 4-1.

Campbell is the current favorite to win the Coach of the Year at +300 odds, but he’ll be the first person to tell you he’d rather win a Super Bowl than an individual award.

Mike McDaniel (Dolphins) +400

McDaniel is a Yale graduate who earned his first break under legendary head coach Mike Shanahan, the father of 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan. The elder Shanahan hired McDaniel as an intern with the Denver Broncos in 2005.

When Mike Shanahan took over as the head coach in Washington, he hired McDaniel as an assistant coach in 2011. During his time in Washington, McDaniel befriended three other assistant coaches who would become NFL head coaches — Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleur.

When Kyle Shanahan became the head coach of the 49ers in 2017, McDaniel joined his staff as their run game coordinator. McDaniel took over as the offensive coordinator in 2021, and the Dolphins hired him as their head coach in 2022.

McDaniel went 9-8 as a rookie head coach, but the Dolphins were plagued with injuries at quarterback when Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions. They secured an AFC wild-card berth, but were eliminated from the postseason by the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa is healthy this season, and he’s emerged as a favorite to win the MVP. Tagovailoa runs McDaniel’s high-octane spread offense. McDaniel has a team stacked with talented and fast players like Tyreek Hill and De’Von Achane, and his offensive schemes maximize their skills.

The Dolphins lead the NFL with 36.2 points and 513.6 total yards per game. At least eight NFL teams average fewer than 18.2 points per game, which is less than nearly half as many points that the Dolphins score on a weekly basis.

So long as Tagovailoa stays healthy, the Dolphins can keep winning and McDaniel will remain a front-runner in the awards market. Right now, you can back McDaniel to win Coach of the Year at +400 odds.

Kyle Shanahan (49ers) +500

Fans in the Bay Area spent the off-season wondering what the 49ers could have accomplished if they weren’t decimated by multiple quarterback injuries in 2022. Brock Purdy was a third-string quarterback and the last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, yet he was thrust into action after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down during the season.

The 49ers and Eagles currently share the best record in the NFL at 5-0 and remain the league’s last two unbeaten teams. Purdy has yet to lose a regular-season game as a starter, and all signs suggest the 49ers and Eagles will meet again in the NFC Championship.

Shanahan has a 57-46 record as a head coach with the 49ers. He was only 10-22 in his first two seasons before the 2019 squad went 13-3 and won an AFC West division title. The 49ers lost to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV that season.

After a regression in 2020 because of injuries to Garoppolo, George Kittle, and Richard Sherman, the 49ers bounced back with two consecutive trips to the NFC Championship. They lost to the 2021 Rams, who would go on to win the Super Bowl, and then lost to the 2022 Eagles after Purdy tore ligaments in his throwing arm early in the game.

Shanahan and the 49ers dismantled the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, and they’re now the favorite to win the Super Bowl. After a 5-0 start, Shanahan is +600 odds to win Coach of the Year, making him the third favorite on the board behind Campbell and McDaniel.

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