Mike McCarthy doesn’t have a vote for AP coach of the year, but if the Packers coach did he suggested that last year he would have voted for the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh and this year for the Indianapolis Colts’ Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano.
Last year Harbaugh, whose team plays the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs Saturday night, took over a team that went 6-10 in 2010 and led it to a 13-3 record and appearance in the NFC championship game. Because of the NFL lockout in the ’11 offseason, Harbaugh and his new coaching staff didn’t get any offseason work to implement their schemes and learn their players.
This year, Pagano took over a team that went 2-14, and with the help of No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck finished 11-5 and qualified for the playoffs. Pagano, a first-year head coach, missed most of the regular season while recovering from treatment for leukemia. Arians was the interim coach.
“The year (Harbaugh) had last year,” McCarthy said, “when I look at coaching jobs that have been done in the NFL in my time as being a head coach here, you appreciate what the 49ers accomplished last year. You had no offseason program with the CBA (negotiations), the lockout, and then to go all way to the NFC championship game, I think speaks volumes about Jim and his staff.
“No different than the job of Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano and what went on in Indianapolis. You look at those types of situations, the job that was done in Indianapolis this year and the job that was done in San Francisco last year, I think those are two of the best coaching jobs that I’ve seen in my time just based on the circumstances around their seasons.”