LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has been named the 2017 NFL Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.
In his first year as an NFL head coach, McVay led the Rams to an 11-5 finish and an NFC West championship, marking the first time the club won a division title since 2003.
McVay became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when he was named the franchise’s 23rd full-time head coach on Jan. 12, 2017.
In team history, McVay is only the third head coach to earn the distinction of Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. Dick Vermeil won the award in 1999 after leading the Rams to a 13-3 regular season record and the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship. Chuck Knox became the first Rams head coach to earn the honor in 1973 after leading the Rams to a 12-2 record and a division title.
Los Angeles led league in scoring during the 2017 season, averaging nearly 30 points per game after totaling 14 points per game last season. The team’s jump in scoring average from 2016 to 2017 is the NFL’s largest improvement from one season to the next during the Super Bowl era.
Defensively, the Rams ranked fifth in the NFL in takeaways with 28, which was 10 more than the team recorded in 2016. L.A. finished second in takeaway points scored, with 126 of the team’s 478 points resulting from takeaways. The 2017 Rams also became the first team to block multiple punts and return them for touchdowns since 2014. On the season, L.A. blocked three punts, one PAT and one field goal.
Under McVay, the Rams concluded the season with their first playoff berth since the 2004 season and their highest output of Pro Bowl nominations since the 2003 season.
Within the division, McVay is the first head coach from the NFC West to receive the award since Arizona’s Bruce Arians in 2014. McVay is also the first rookie head coach to win the award since San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh in 2011 in addition to being the youngest head coach to ever receive the award. He is now one of only seven active head coaches to have earned Coach of the Year honors, joining New England’s Bill Belichick, Kansas City’s Andy Reid, New Orleans’ Sean Payton, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, Carolina’s Ron Rivera, and Dallas’ Jason Garrett.