The Chicago Bears’ Matt Nagy, who lead the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title, was selected as the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, whose moves helped the Colts earn an AFC playoff spot for the first time since 2014 with a 10-6 record, was selected as the 2018 NFL Executive of the Year.
Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who oversaw a Bears defense that led the NFL in takeaways and interceptions and included three PFWA All-NFL selections and one PFWA All-Rookie pick, was selected as the 2018 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Bears returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 in Nagy’s first season as head coach as the franchise rebounded from a 5-11 mark in 2017 to a division title this season. Thanks to four players on the PFWA’s All-NFL team: cornerback Kyle Fuller, outside linebacker Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson on the defense and punt returner Tarik Cohen on special teams along with All-Rookie team linebacker Roquan Smith, the Bears earned the NFC’s No. 3 seed. The Bears won nine of the last 10 games for the most victories for Chicago since 2006, thanks to an offense that scored 24 or more points 11 times, and a defense that allowed a franchise-fewest 1,280 rushing yards to opponents.
This is the first PFWA Coach of the Year honor for Nagy, and the sixth Coach of the Year honor for the Bears’ franchise. Jack Pardee was the NFC Coach of the Year in 1976 (the PFWA selected separate AFL/NFL and AFC/NFC winners from 1967-76 and 1978-89), Mike Ditka was the NFC Coach of the Year twice (1985 and 1988), Dick Jauron was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2001 and Lovie Smith was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2005.
The Colts improved from a 4-12 record in 2017 to a 10-6 mark this season as Indianapolis returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Ballard oversaw a 2018 draft class that combined to play in 133 regular-season games (67 starts), and he spearheaded the acquisition of defensive players as the team switched to a 4-3 scheme in 2018 from a 3-4. Linebacker Darius Leonard was the PFWA’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, and he joined guard Quenton Nelson and offensive tackle Braden Smith on the All-Rookie team, while Nelson was one of three rookies to earn PFWA All-NFL honors in 2018. During the 2018 offseason, Ballard signed free agent tight end Eric Ebron and unrestricted free agent defensive tackle/defensive end Denico Autry. Ebron was selected to his first career Pro Bowl and Autry led the team in sacks (9.0). During the 2018 season, Ballard signed safety Mike Mitchell and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, who each registered multiple starts for the team. The Colts finished the 2018 regular season as one of four teams to rank in the NFL’s top 10 in offensive points per game (fifth) and defensive points allowed (10th). Quarterback Andrew Luck also came back strong from injury as the Colts became the third team in league history to rebound from a 1-5 start to make the playoffs.
This is the first PFWA Executive of the Year honor for Ballard, and the fifth Executive of the Year honor for the Colts franchise since the award was established in 1993. Bill Polian was a three-time honoree (1999, 2005, 2009) and Ryan Grigson was honored in 2012.
Fangio took over as the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2015. In 2018, the Chicago defense led the league in fewest points per game allowed (17.7), total takeaways (36), interceptions (27), interception returns for touchdown (5), lowest opponent passer rating (72.9), fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (5). With 50 sacks and 27 interceptions, Chicago was the first team since the 2006 Baltimore Ravens to have 45 or more sacks and 25 or more interceptions in a season. The defense also forced multiple turnovers in 11 of 16 games. Fuller tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, Mack led the Bears with 12.5 sacks (tied for third in franchise history), Jackson was fourth in the NFL with six interceptions and Smith was second all-time among Bears rookies with 122 total tackles.
Fangio is the second Bears assistant to win the PFWA award established in 1993, joining Ron Rivera (2005). He was named the Denver Broncos head coach on January 10.
2018 COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
2018 EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: Chris Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
2018 ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR: Vic Fangio, Chicago Bears
PFWA NFL COACH OF THE YEAR: 1966– Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys; 1967 AFL – John Rauch, Oakland Raiders; 1967 NFL – Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers; 1968 AFL – Weeb Ewbank, New York Jets; 1968 NFL – Don Shula, Baltimore Colts; 1969 AFL – John Madden, Oakland Raiders; 1969 NFL – Bud Grant, Minnesota Vikings; 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; 2016 – Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys; 2017 – Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams; 2018 – Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears.
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; 2016 – Reggie McKenzie, Oakland Raiders; 2017 – Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles; 2018 – Chris Ballard, Indianapolis Colts.
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; 2016 – Kyle Shanahan, Atlanta Falcons; 2017– Pat Shurmur, Minnesota Vikings; 2018– Vic Fangio, Chicago Bears.
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 daily. Bob Glauber, the national football columnist for Newsday, is the organization’s president for the 2018 season, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.