Brian Daboll beats out Doug Pederson for NFL Coach of the Year honor

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on and smiles against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (Nic Antaya, 2022 Nic Antaya)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Pederson will have to settle for an AFC South title and a bright future in Jacksonville.

Pederson was a finalist, but didn’t win the NFL’s Coach of the Year honor — that went to New York’s Brian Daboll — during the NFL Honors show on Thursday night.

Pederson — along with San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and the Giants’ Daboll — was one of three finalists for the honor. Daboll had 33 points in the voting, Shanahan had 32 and Pederson had 27.

While Daboll ultimately brought home the award, Pederson’s inclusion in the final three was testament to the work he did with one of the league’s most downtrodden franchises.

Pederson had already earned AFC Coach of the Year honors from the 101 Awards, so the postseason accolades didn’t completely evade him. More than wins on the field — Pederson led the Jaguars to a 9-8 record in the regular season — was what he was able to accomplish across the board with a broken franchise.

Pederson helped quarterback Trevor Lawrence recover from a forgettable rookie season and got the second-year player on a trajectory for greatness. And he not only cleaned up the mess left by his predecessor, but Pederson unified the locker room and infused the city with excitement that hasn’t been here in years.

Jacksonville had the top pick in the draft each of the last two years. In 2021, the Jaguars were coming off a franchise-worst 1-15 regular season, including 15 straight losses to end the year. They took quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, and then watched as Urban Meyer ran the organization into the ground. Meyer was fined $100,000 by the NFL and the Jaguars were docked $200,000 for excessive contact during organized team activities in July 2021.

That was only a precursor to his disastrous tenure. Meyer was alleged to have kicked and berated kicker Josh Lambo, was caught on video with his hands on another woman who wasn’t his wife and was in well over his head with football decisions. Owner Shad Khan fired Meyer just 13 games into his first season.

The search for Meyer’s replacement took longer than expected and the Jaguars eventually hired Pederson.

Pederson brought stability and regained trust in the organization that was fractured by the disastrous association with of Meyer. Jacksonville, which was 3-7 at the bye week, won six of its final seven games of the regular season and topped the Titans in Week 18 for the AFC South title. It completed one of the largest playoff comebacks in NFL history when it beat the Chargers 31-30 in the AFC wild-card round. Jacksonville eventually lost to the Super Bowl-bound Chiefs, 27-20, in the divisional round.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.