Carolina’s Ron Rivera, who led the Panthers to a league-best 15-1 record and the NFC’s No. 1 seed, was selected as the 2015 NFL Coach of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, whose moves helped the Jets rebound to a 10-6 record in 2015, was selected as the 2015 NFL Executive of the Year.
Former Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, whose work with the Bengals skill position players paid dividends in a 12-4 regular season and Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who helped the Broncos lead the league in total defense and sacks, tied for 2015 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
The Panthers set the club record for victories with 15 on the way to the club’s third straight NFC South title. Carolina became the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to start a season 14-0, joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins, 2007 New England Patriots and the 2009 Indianapolis Colts. The Panthers led the NFL in scoring average at 31.3 points per game, thanks to the work of 2015 PFWA NFL MVP Cam Newton, who led the league in total touchdowns with 45. The defense led the NFL with 39 total takeaways.
This is the second PFWA Coach of the Year honor for Rivera in three years, as he was selected as Coach of the Year in 2013 with the Panthers. It is the fourth Coach of the Year honor for the Carolina franchise as Dom Capers was selected in back-to-back seasons (1995-96).
After a 4-12 season in 2014, the Jets had a huge turnaround in 2015 with a 10-6 record, just missing the AFC playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Maccagnan was hired as Jets’ GM in January 2015. The Jets signed key unrestricted free agents, including guard James Carpenter, safety Marcus Gilchrist and cornerback Darrelle Revis, and New York also traded for wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Maccagnan and his staff selected defensive lineman Leonard Williams in the first round, who went on to PFWA All-Rookie Team honors.
Maccagnan is the first Jets staffer to earn the PFWA’s Executive of the Year award, which began in 1993.
For the first time since the PFWA awarded an Assistant Coach of the Year award in 1993, there was a tie for the honor.
Jackson coached a Bengals offense that used varied looks and inventive play calls on the way to a 12-4 record and the AFC North title. The Cincinnati offense was led by QB Andy Dalton, HB Jeremy Hill, WR A.J. Green and 2015 PFWA All-AFC tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Jackson was hired by the Cleveland Browns as head coach January 13 after serving on the Bengals coaching staff for four seasons. He is the first Bengals assistant to receive the PFWA’s Assistant Coach of the Year award since Mike Zimmer in 2009 and the third Cincinnati assistant coach to be honored, joining current Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who was selected in 2000.
Phillips, in his first season into his second stint as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, coached a Denver unit that led the NFL in total defense (283.1 yards per game), pass defense (199.6 yards per game) and sacks (52). Denver also held opponents to 18.5 points per game, fourth in the NFL. OLB Von Miller was both a PFWA All-NFL and All-AFC choice in 2015, while Chris Harris Jr. was an All-AFC choice.
This is the second PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year award for Phillips, who was honored as a member of the Houston Texans in 2011. He is the first Broncos assistant to win the PFWA award established 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; 2015 – Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers.
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; 2015 – Mike Maccagnan, New York Jets.
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; 2015 – (tie) Hue Jackson, Cincinnati Bengals and Wade Phillips, Denver Broncos.