Arizona’s Bruce Arians, who led the Cardinals to a 11-5 record and the club’s first NFC playoff berth since 2009, was selected as the 2014 NFL Coach of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Dallas owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones, whose moves helped the Cowboys to their first NFC East division title since 2009, was selected as the 2014 NFL Executive of the Year.
Former Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who led the Cardinals defense to success despite injuries to key members of his corps, was selected as the 2014 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Cardinals tied the club record for victories, despite dealing with injuries that hampered the production of many of their most-prolific offensive players. Arizona got out to a 9-1 start, but lost starting quarterback Carson Palmer after Week 10 and primary backup QB Drew Stanton after Week 15. In all, 21 different players lost a total of 109 games to injuries. Arians steered the Cardinals to the playoffs despite not having a QB with 2,000 passing yards, a wide receiver with 900 receiving yards or a running back with 700 rushing yards.
This is the second PFWA Coach of the Year for Arians in three years. He was selected as the Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012 for his work as in leading the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs as interim head coach while head coach Chuck Pagano was battling leukemia. Arians is the first Cardinals head coach to earn the PFWA’s Coach of the Year award since Don Coryell earned the 1974 NFC honor (the PFWA selected one coach from each conference from 1970-89).
After three straight years of 8-8 records, the Cowboys finally broke through in 2014 to capture the club’s first division title since 2009. Jones made several successful personnel moves that helped Dallas reach the playoffs. The Cowboys drafted guard Zack Martin in the first round, and Martin was selected to the PFWA NFL All-Rookie Team and the All-NFC Team. DE Jeremy Mincey was signed in free agency and had a team-leading six sacks. Dallas traded for LB Rolando McClain, who was on the Reserved/Retired list, from Baltimore, and McClain became the team’s second-leading tackler. In all, a league-leading four Cowboys were selected to the PFWA’s All-NFL Team – wide receiver Dez Bryant, center Travis Frederick, running back DeMarco Murray and tackle Tyron Smith. Jones also made several other free-agent moves that helped the Cowboys to a 6-1 start and a 4-0 finish to the regular season.
Jones is the first Cowboys staffer to earn the PFWA’s Executive of the Year award, which began in 1993.
In his second season in Arizona, Bowles kept the Cardinals defense among the league leaders in a number of key statistical categories to put the club in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Arizona defense was led by CB Patrick Peterson, S Rashad Johnson, LB Larry Foote, PFWA All-Rookie Team selection S Deone Bucannon and PFWA All-NFC Team pick DE Calais Campbell.
Bowles’ defensive unit finished fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game at 18.7, tied for second in first downs allowed per game at 18.8 and third in red zone percentage at 43.9 percent despite losing DT Darnell Dockett and LB John Abraham to injury for the season and a total of 61 overall lost games to injury by defensive players. Bowles was hired as the New York Jets head coach January 14 after serving two seasons as the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.
Bowles is the first Cardinals assistant to receive the PFWA’s Assistant Coach of the Year award, which began in 1993.
PFWA NFL COACH OF THE YEAR: 1970 AFC – Paul Brown, Cincinnati Bengals; 1970 NFC – Dick Nolan, San Francisco 49ers; 1971 AFC – Don Shula, Miami Dolphins; 1971 NFC – George Allen, Washington Redskins; 1972 AFC – Don Shula, Miami Dolphins; 1972 NFC – Dan Devine, Green Bay Packers; 1973 AFC – John Ralston, Denver Broncos; 1973 NFC – Chuck Knox, Los Angeles Rams; 1974 AFC – Sid Gilman, Houston Oilers; 1974 NFC – Don Coryell, St. Louis Cardinals; 1975 AFC – Ted Marchibroda, Baltimore Colts; 1975 NFC – Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys; 1976 AFC – Chuck Fairbanks, New England Patriots; 1976 NFC – Jack Pardee, Chicago Bears; 1977 AFC – Red Miller, Denver Broncos; 1977 NFC – Leeman Bennett, Atlanta Falcons; 1978 AFC – Walt Michaels, New York Jets; 1978 NFC – Dick Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles; 1979 AFC – Don Coryell, San Diego Chargers; 1979 NFC – Dick Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles; 1980 AFC – Chuck Knox, Buffalo Bills; 1980 NFC – Leeman Bennett, Atlanta Falcons; 1981 AFC – Forrest Gregg, Cincinnati Bengals; 1981 NFC – Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers; 1982 AFC – Tom Flores, Los Angeles Raiders; 1982 NFC – Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins; 1983 AFC – Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1983 NFC – Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins; 1984 AFC – Chuck Knox, Seattle Seahawks; 1984 NFC – Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers; 1985 AFC – Raymond Berry, New England Patriots; 1985 NFC – Mike Ditka, Chicago Bears; 1986 AFC – Marty Schottenheimer, Cleveland Browns; 1986 NFC – Bill Parcells, New York Giants; 1987 AFC – Ron Meyer, New England Patriots; 1987 NFC – Jim Mora, New Orleans Saints; 1988 AFC – Sam Wyche, Cincinnati Bengals; 1988 NFC – Mike Ditka, Chicago Bears; 1989 AFC – Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1989 NFC – Lindy Infante, Green Bay Packers; 1990 – Art Shell, Los Angeles Raiders; 1991 – Wayne Fontes, Detroit Lions; 1992 – Bobby Ross, San Diego Chargers; 1993 – Dan Reeves, New York Giants; 1994 – Bill Parcells, New England Patriots; 1995 – Dom Capers, Carolina Panthers; 1996 – Dom Capers, Carolina Panthers; 1997 – Jim Fassel, New York Giants; 1998 – Dan Reeves, Atlanta Falcons; 1999 – Dick Vermeil, St. Louis Rams; 2000 – Jim Haslett, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – Dick Jauron, Chicago Bears; 2002 – Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles; 2003 – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots; 2004 – Marty Schottenheimer, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears; 2006 – Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints; 2007 – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots; 2008 – Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals; 2010 – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots; 2011 – Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers; 2012 – Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts; 2013 – Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers; 2014 – Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals.
PFWA EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: 1993 – George Young, New York Giants; 1994 – Carmen Policy, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 – Bill Polian, Carolina Panthers; 1996 – Bill Polian, Carolina Panthers; 1997 – George Young, New York Giants; 1998 – Front Office, Minnesota Vikings; 1999 – Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts; 2000 – Randy Mueller, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – Charley Armey, St. Louis Rams; 2002 – Al Davis, Oakland Raiders; 2003 – Scott Pioli, New England Patriots; 2004 – A.J. Smith, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts; 2006 – Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints; 2007 – Scott Pioli, New England Patriots; 2008 – Bill Parcells, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts; 2010 – Scott Pioli, Kansas City Chiefs; 2011 – Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers; 2012 – Ryan Grigson, Indianapolis Colts; 2013 – John Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs; 2014 – Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys.
PFWA ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR: 1993 – Ray Rhodes, Green Bay Packers; 1994 – Dom Capers, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1995 – Pete Carroll, San Francisco 49ers; 1996 – Dave Campo, Dallas Cowboys; 1997 – John Fox, New York Giants; 1998 – Brian Billick, Minnesota Vikings; 1999 – Dom Capers, Jacksonville Jaguars; 2000 – Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals; 2001 – Mike Mularkey, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 – Monte Kiffin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2003 – Romeo Crennel, New England Patriots; 2004 – Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2005 – Ron Rivera, Chicago Bears; 2006 – Rex Ryan, Baltimore Ravens; 2007 – Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys; 2008 – Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2009 – Mike Zimmer, Cincinnati Bengals; 2010 – Marty Mornhinweg, Philadelphia Eagles; 2011 – Wade Phillips, Houston Texans; 2012 – Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts; 2013 – Ken Whisenhunt, San Diego Chargers; 2014 – Todd Bowles, Arizona Cardinals.
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15, while ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos, is the PFWA’s first vice-president and long-time national writer Dan Pompei is the organization’s second vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.