There were fairly high expectations for Kevin Stefanski when he took the head coaching job of the Cleveland Browns.
The first-year head coach was asked to lead an inexperienced roster to the postseason.
He did exactly that with an 11-5 season and an upset playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His hard work paid off as Stefanski ended up earning Coach of the Year honors in 2020.
THAT’S OUR COACH. 😤
Kevin Stefanski is the 2020 Coach of the Year! pic.twitter.com/EtY4p6ByrF
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 7, 2021
Stefanski was well deserving of the award after getting Cleveland into the postseason for the first time in what feels like a century.
He’ll now be asked to carry over his success from year one into his second season with the Browns, while having higher expectations.
It’s quite amazing how well Stefanski was able to perform with this Browns roster in 2020.
Obviously, Cleveland had a talented roster, but it takes more than that to win in the NFL.
The season prior, then-coach Freddie Kitchens basically drove Cleveland straight into the ground.
Stefanski comes in and immediately changed the culture in one year.
It’s worth noting that Stefanski was never a head coach for a professional organization before landing the job as the Browns head coach.
In fact, Stefanski was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before taking the coaching spot in Cleveland.
Browns are planning to hire Vikings’ OC Kevin Stefanski, as @RapSheet reported.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2020
Somehow, Stefanski came in with no head coaching experience and ridiculous expectations and managed to exceed the team’s goals.
He was more than deserving of coach of the year last season, but it will be tougher to win the award a second year in a row.
The expectations will be higher after Stefanski was able to succeed with Cleveland last season.
Although, the Browns front office has revamped this team and given Stefanski one of the best rosters in the NFL.
It wouldn’t be shocking if Stefanski is able to surpass his 11-win mark from 2020 and grab the accolade for a second year in a row.
As already mentioned, the expectations are going to be higher for Stefanski heading into the 2021 season.
Cleveland has upgraded their roster and Stefanski has all eyes on him after what he was able to do as a rookie coach.
He’ll need Cleveland to play better than they did last season in order to even have a shot at winning the award for a second time in a row.
The Browns certainly have the firepower to surpass the 11-win mark of last season, but it isn’t that easy in the NFL.
Stefanski won the award in 2020 because he came in with no experience and helped lead this roster to the playoffs for the first time in forever.
Now everyone knows his name and what he is capable of doing as the leader of an organization.
It’s also worth noting that there are seven new head coaches coming into the 2021 season.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) January 19, 2021
One of those coaches might be able to take home Coach of the Year, assuming they turn around their team like Stefanski did in Cleveland last year.
While Stefanski could win the award again in 2021, it’ll be much more difficult this time around.
This is not an attempt at putting down Stefanski’s ability because he is a great fit for this Browns organization.
Although, it’s very difficult to be able to win coach of the year twice in a row.
There is a good chance that some coach comes out of nowhere and leads a team to an 11-12 win season and takes home the award.
It would take Stefanski an 11-plus win season in 2021 just to have a chance at winning it a second time.
The odds are against Stefanski winning again, but Browns fans will be happy as long as they make the postseason again in 2021.