Kevin Stefanski won his second NFL Coach of the Year Award this week.
Leading the Cleveland Browns to an unlikely 11-win season was enough to edge past Houston’s DeMeco Ryans.
Stefanski is only the 12th coach in history to win the award more than once, and the second Browns COTY ever.
But just in case that isn’t enough to earn your praise, ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Rizzo weighed in.
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) February 9, 2024
Rizzo says Stefanski’s 2023 coaching effort is the best he’s seen in 36 years of watching the Browns.
He cites the coach’s management of five quarterbacks, other injuries, new coaches, and a tough schedule.
Despite the hurdles, Stefanski led the Browns to 11 wins and a second-place division finish.
Cleveland was even 5-0 in games decided by three points or fewer.
Rizzo wrapped up his commentary with an emphatic endorsement of the Coach of the Year honoree.
“I can’t say enough about the job he did,” Rizzo said. “I thought he did a phenomenal job, and I thought he was very deserving (of the COTY award).”
Stefanski was aided by the addition of the 2023 Assistant Coach of the Year, Jim Schwartz, to his staff.
Schwartz’s emphasis on attitude and buy-in might have contributed in a subtle, but important way.
This is the first season in the Stefanski era that virtually no sign of dissension or confusion leaked from the locker room.
Players and coaches seemed completely unified in goals and the process even after some tough losses.
And Stefanski’s players seem as anxious as ever to start working for next season.