The AP Coach of the Year Award often goes to coaches that defy expectations as opposed to sustaining a high level of excellence over the course of several years. That might help to explain why Kevin Stefanski, the first year head coach of the Cleveland Browns currently has his odds at 18:1, according to Betonline.ag.
The two coaches with the lowest odds are Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both currently at 12:1. Belichick, if he has a great year, may get it for the simple fact he was able to win without Tom Brady and should it go that way, relative unknown quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Meanwhile, the Bucs have high expectations and Arians has to deliver.
For Stefanski, he's a first year head coach taking over a talented Browns roster that arguably only got better this past offseason. The team went 6-10 last year with everyone, but most notably Baker Mayfield taking a step backward. If Stefanski is able to right the ship and lead the Browns to the playoffs while getting Mayfield and the rest of this talent to the level they're capable, he's in any conversation for coach of the year, based on trends of how this award is typically given.
Far easier said than done, especially in light of the impact COVID-19 has had and continues to have, limiting teams from being able to practice. Nevertheless, under the previous head coach, the Browns were so dreadful that if they simply get out of their own way, most believe they'd win a couple additional games without changing a thing. If Stefanski and his staff can go beyond that and really elevate them, they could be a dangerous team, especially in light of the fact there are seven playoff teams per conference.
The lack of on-field prep time might hurt them, but if they can get on a roll, the team could be one no one wants to see in December and January.