Undefeated season earns Pats' Belichick Coach of the Year honors
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Bill Belichick's ability to lead New England to an undefeated season was rewarded on Thursday when he was named the Coach of the Year, as voted on by the Associated Press.
Belichick guided the Patriots to the first undefeated regular season in league history since the 1972 Miami Dolphins under Don Shula. Belichick also won the award in 2003 when the Patriots finished 14-2 and topped Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The award comes despite a major embarrassment for Belichick in the season opener. The Patriots were caught filming the New York Jets' defensive signals. Belichick was fined $500,000 -- the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's 87-year history, and the maximum permitted under league rules. The Patriots were also fined $250,000. Additionally, the Patriots will forfeit their first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. New England will select seventh in round one by virtue of a draft day 2007 trade with San Francisco.
Belichick netted 29 of the possible 50 votes for the award. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy received 15 votes, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio got two each while both Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden got one apiece.
The 55-year-old Belichick is looking to lead the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title in the last seven years.