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Texans HC DeMeco Ryans got jobbed out of Coach of the Year

And you will never convince me otherwise.

NFL: Super Bowl LVIII-NFL Honors Red Carpet
The rightful COTY.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On a night when Houston Texans C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. won Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively, you would think it would be difficult to find fault with what might be the best single night in franchise history.

Reader, it was not difficult. At all.

Because not long after Stroud and Anderson collected their hardware, the NFL announced the winner for AP Coach of the Year.

It was not DeMeco Ryans.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski won.

Kevin Stefanski.

Okay. Let’s ignore the fact that the Texans curbstomped the Browns in the playoffs 45-17 because by that point the vote had already been cast. I understand that had no effect on anything, I just wanted to mention it again because that was soooo satisfying.

But seriously, Kevin Stefanski?

According to the NFL’s own website, the case for Stefanski as COTY rested on his ability to keep the Browns in the playoff hunt and ultimately led them to the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs after cycling through five quarterbacks (including the alleged sex criminal Deshaun Watson), three offensive tackles, and an injured bell cow running back in Nick Chubb; again, only to get boat raced by our very own Texans.

That’s no small feat, I’ll give you that.

But then, taking a team that had won eight games over the last three years and winning 10 games is no small feat. Winning the AFC South in your first year is no small feat. Creating a winning culture in one season is no small feat. Bringing hope back to a fan base that had subterranean expectations for the Texans is, say it with me, y’all, no small feat.

I do not begrudge Stefanski his award and congratulate him for what should rightfully belong to The Cap’n.

I DO, however, begrudge the AP voters. And here’s why.

Context: first place votes = 5, second place votes = 3, third place votes = 1

Here’s the full breakdown:

*Kevin Stefanski (CLE) 21-18-6 = 165
*DeMeco Ryans (HOU) 20-21-2 = 165
*Dan Campbell (DET) 3-3-9 = 33
*Kyle Shanahan (SF) 3-3-2 = 26
*John Harbaugh (BAL) 2-2-10 = 26
Sean McVay (LAR) 1-2-10 = 21
Mike Tomlin (PIT) 0-1-2 = 5
Shane Steichen (IND) 0-0-4 = 4
Matt LaFleur (GB) 0-0-2 = 2
Todd Bowles (TB) 0-0-1 = 1
Mike McDaniel (MIA) 0-0-1 = 1
Sean McDermott (BUF) 0-0-1 = 1

*Coach of the Year finalist

The only thing separating Stefanski and Ryans was a single first place ballot for Stefanski that broke the tie. Again, Stefanski got the Browns to the playoffs which in itself is something close to a miracle; I do get it.

What I do NOT get and will not get are these votes for non-finalist candidates. Any one of the third place votes for Sean McDermott (huh?) or Shane Steichen (HAH!) put in DeMeco’s column would’ve been enough to break the tie and get The Cap’n, the Coach of the Year award he so rightly deserved.

But since AP voters turn their ballots in early, including before the Texans punched their ticket to the playoffs in Week 18, we get first place votes for Sean McVay (sure, whatever) or a throwaway third place ballot for Mike McDaniel.

As a result, DeMeco Ryans got...well...jobbed. He got hosed. Hoodwinked. Finagled. Other synonyms for screwed, as well.

So, if you’re an AP voter and you happen to come across this post (and I know y’all read this) and you voted for Shane Steichen or any of the non-finalist coaches, I just want to have a high-decibel discussion about your vote and why you think you should continue to be a voter for the Associated Press.

But then again, these are the same people who said Joe Flacco, who had a bad couple of years prior to this year, deserved to be Comeback Player of the Year over Demar Hamlin, who literally came back from the dead to resume his physically demanding job of being a professional athlete with no drop-off in performance.

With voters like these, who needs enemies, I guess.

DeMeco will make them eat their votes next year after the Texans win their first (of hopefully many) Super Bowls.