Friday, February 11, 2022

Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel named 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year


Ben Arthur

Nashville Tennessean

Published 9:18 p.m. CT Feb 10, 2022 | Updated 10:04 p.m. CT Feb 10, 2022

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel has been named the 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year, it was announced Thursday night during NFL Honors. 

Vrabel, 46, guided the Titans to a 12-5 regular-season record, a second straight AFC South title and the AFC’s No. 1 seed. That came in spite of Tennessee using 91 players, an NFL record for a non-strike season. Star running back Derrick Henry missed nine games, while receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown missed seven and four games, respectively. 

Vrabel beat out Bill Belichick (Patriots), Matt LaFleur (Packers), Sean McVay (Rams), Zac Taylor (Bengals) and Rich Bisaccia (Raiders) for the award. Vrabel received 36 of the 50 votes

“It is an honor and a privilege to play and coach in this league,” Vrabel said in accepting the award at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles. “My job and every coach’s job is to teach, develop and to make a connection and make an impact. 

"I want to thank our owner, Ms. Amy Adams Strunk," Vrabel continued. "I want to thank my family. I want to thank my wife, Jen. I want to thank (my sons) Tyler and Carter. I want to thank my best friend, 'Stretch' (Titans coordinator of football development John Streicher). This is a testament of our 91 players who helped us win 12 games and our coaching staff. Thank you, and this was a pleasure."

The Titans earlier this week extended the contract of Vrabel, who was also named the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association of America

Vrabel led Tennessee to its first No. 1 seed since 2008, when it won 13 games. 

The Titans hired Vrabel in 2018 after parting ways with Mike Mularkey. Tennessee has won at least nine games in each of Vrabel’s first four seasons and made three consecutive playoff appearances. In 2019, Vrabel guided the Titans to their first AFC Championship Game appearance in 17 years.  

Vrabel’s 43 wins with the Titans through the 2021 season, including playoffs, tied Jack Pardee for the most wins by a coach in his first four seasons with the organization. 

Before joining the Titans, Vrabel was defensive coordinator for the Texans in 2017. He also worked as a linebackers coach for Houston (2014-16) after beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, Ohio State, as linebackers coach (2011) and defensive line coach (2012-13). 

A former All-Pro linebacker, Vrabel played 14 NFL seasons with the Steelers, Patriots and Chiefs. He won three Super Bowls with New England. 

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