The Denver Broncos have a new man in charge, and Sean Payton is already the early heavy favorite to win the NFL’s Coach of the Year Award in 2023.
The Broncos had high hopes and expectations coming into the 2022 NFL season. They had previously had solid talent on both sides of the ball, and figured to get even stronger with the addition of nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson. But things never panned out. No QB was sacked more often in 2022, and the dismal performance of the team led to the firing of head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
Sean Payton Is Early Favorite To Win NFL Coach Of The Year Award
There was always one obvious candidate to become the team’s next head coach. Sean Payton had taken a year off from football after stepping down as the leader of the New Orleans Saints at the end of the 2021 season. There were rumors that he flirted with the idea of becoming the Dolphins’ head coach, but the Broncos were in hot pursuit from the moment they had a vacancy.
After a few weeks of flirting, the two sides got a deal done, and Payton was actually traded from the Saints to the Broncos in exchange for draft picks.
The oddsmakers apparently believe that he has the power and the magic to turn the Broncos around. His odds to win the Coach of the Year Award currently stand at +600, far and away better than any other candidate. The next three in line are actually tied at +1200. Dan Campbell has been one of the hot candidates for the award for the last couple of years, and new Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is a hot candidate. Dennis Allen of the Saints is also tied.
One of the easiest ways to win the COY award is to drastically improve a team that underachieved the season before, which is why we see Payton and Eberflus at or near the top of the odds list. The Broncos obviously struggled but have the talent for a quick turnaround, and the Bears could be poised for a flip.
Chicago finished with the worst record in the league in 2022, but seemed to have found something special in quarterback Justin Fields. They are sitting in one of the most beneficial spots draft-wise, with the first overall pick in a QB-loaded class, when they feel that they already have their guy. Someone will pay top-dollar to trade up for a pass thrower, and the Bears will reap the benefits of the return.
But would it be enough to be better than Sean Payton and the Broncos? Doubtful, which is why everyone else is a long shot.