If it were up to NFL executives to decide on post-season awards, it looks like the Buffalo Bills would go home with some serious hardware this season.
NFL.com Reporter Tom Pelissero revealed the results of his annual early awards survey on Wednesday, which was completed by high-ranking executives from 22 NFL teams, including nine general managers. Pelissero also said that all 22 individuals who were surveyed participated on the condition of anonymity for competitive reasons and to provide an honest assessment.
The executives voted for Bills head coach Sean McDermott as the Coach of the Year and voted for Brandon Beane as the Executive of the Year. Bills quarterback Josh Allen also earned two votes in the NFL MVP voting.
McDermott won the award for the second year in a row after bringing Buffalo its first AFC East title in 25 years. McDermott received 7.5 votes and edged out Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski (6.5) and Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores (6).
“He’s easy to overlook because they’ve been such a steady, progressing program,” an NFC team executive said of McDermott in the article. “But I think he still needs to get credit for a team that hadn’t been in the playoffs in very long, hadn’t won a division in very long, and just won a division that’s been a monopoly for 20 years.”
Since McDermott took over the Bills have been an organization on the rise and Beane has been right next to him making crucial moves to build the roster they have now.
“The main thing is just the type of players he’s brought in and they’ve bought in and they fit the coach’s vision,” an NFC team executive said of Beane during the article. “It’s evident that he and McDermott are on the same page. And to get the franchise quarterback that early in their tenure is huge. That’s kind of what turns it. They’re going to play good defense, and they hit on some defensive players. And it’s never easy making a trade like that for Diggs, obviously, and for him to do that and hit on it says volumes.”
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Sean McDermott, NFL Coach of the Year
Since taking over as the Bills head coach in 2017, McDermott has been building the organization from the bottom up. Alongside Beane, they’ve completely rebuilt Buffalo’s roster. Defensive end Jerry Hughes is the only player remaining on the roster from the year before McDermott’s tenure started.
In his very first year, McDermott took the Bills to the playoffs and snapped a 17-year playoff drought by earning a wild card spot. In a rebuilding year, with rookie quarterback Josh Allen leading the way, the Bills went through a down year but still battled and built for the future.
The Bills returned to the playoffs last season with a record of 10-6. They already secured the AFC East title this season with an 11-3 record and they are currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC. McDermott has also built a record of 36-26 since taking over and 2017.
Brandon Beane, NFL Executive of the Year
Beane was the runaway winner in this category with 11 votes and rightfully so as he’s made some of the boldest moves since joining the Bills after the 2017 NFL Draft.
He traded up in the 2018 NFL Draft to draft Allen, who is now a current NFL MVP candidate and has built around the former Wyoming signal-caller ever since. He brought in guys like Cole Beasley and John Brown in free agency and has also brought in a contingent of former Carolina Panthers players that have helped build the culture in Buffalo.
He’s also hit in the draft with guys like Tremaine Edmunds and Ed Oliver. But one of the biggest moves he’s made since joining the Bills happened this offseason when he put together a trade for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and it’s taken Buffalo’s offense to a whole new level. Diggs is currently third in the league with 1,314 receiving yards and leads the NFL with 111 receptions.