After a 2021 season where he helped lead his Tennessee Titans to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Mike Vrabel was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year. Vrabel was on hand to accept the award in person at the NFL Honors in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The 46-year-old has served as head coach of the Titans for the past four seasons and has enjoyed one of the most prolific starts to a coaching career in franchise history. He matched the franchise record for wins (43) over his first four seasons with the team. In the club history (Titans and Oilers), Vrabel’s .614 career winning percentage (including playoffs) is the highest among head coaches.
Tennessee has also made the playoffs in three of Vrabel’s four seasons as coach, including back-to-back seasons where the team has claimed the AFC South title.
Arguably his crowning achievement came during the 2021 season where he led the team to an AFC-best 12-5 record that was good for the No. 1 seed in the conference. Vrabel and the Titans accomplished that despite losing MVP caliber running back and the foundation to their offense, Derrick Henry, for the bulk of the year.
Being able to endure that level of a loss and still finish atop the conference, certainly was the major X-factor in Vrabel winning the award.
“What it is,” Vrabel previously told reporters at the Pro Bowl of being recognized across the NFL for the team’s accomplishments, “is a reflection of our players and our coaching staff. Yeah, there’s a head coach, and when they give out the award, the head coach gets it. But you know how I feel about when you win, it’s because the players went out and made plays. So that’s who this is a reflection of, it’s the performance of our team, and our coaching staff.”
This has been quite the week for Vrabel as the Titans announced on Tuesday that they had reached a contract extension with the head coach along with GM Jon Robinson.