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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Was Raheem Morris slighted in coach of the year voting?



So, you think Bucs coach Raheem Morris was slighted in finishing second to the Patriots' Bill Belichick in the Associated Press coach of the year balloting?

Well, here's another way of looking at this: It can be argued that Morris finishing second -- with many more votes than the likes of Todd Haley, Mike Smith and Andy Reid -- actually got a great deal of credit for the job he did guiding the Bucs this season.

We can debate all day whether he should have beaten out Belichick, who clearly did an admirable job himself. But that's not the point of this posting. The intent here is to reinforce the fact that Morris, with 11.5 votes, was well ahead of anyone other than Belichick. That, in and of itself, is a reflection of the voters' feelings about Morris.

Haley's Chiefs won the AFC West and, like the Bucs, finished 10-6. Yet, he received only 4.5 votes from the 50-member panel of NFL writers and broadcasters (no one on the Times staff is a member of the panel). If that's an indication of how Morris compares, he should feel very good about the results.

Smith (Falcons), Reid (Eagles), Lovie Smith (Bears) and Steve Spagnuolo (Rams) received one votes apiece, well behind Morris.

That means the only guy who was even remotely close to Morris in the voting was the winner, Belichick -- a guy who has won three Super Bowls and had the league's best record despite having Larry, Curly and Moe as his primary skill-position players. Again, it's hard to argue against Morris as the winner here, but both he and Belichick did wonderful jobs this season. And keep in mind, ballots were due just after the end of the regular season, so the Patriots' playoff loss to the Jets was not taken into account. At the time the ballots were due, the Patriots looked like a favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Anyhow, the point is, Morris' showing in the balloting is a sign that even many in the national media had a great appreciation for all he overcame, helping the Bucs improve by seven wins and guiding a ship manned mostly by players barely old enough to have peach fuzz.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 2:21pm]


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