Falcons’ Smith Edges Sparano As NFL Coach of the Year

Atlanta’s Mike Smith was selected as the 2008 NFL Coach of the Year, awarded by the Associated Press, besting Miami’s Tony Sparano by the slimmest of margins. Each rookie head coach spearheaded a tremendous turnaround, inheriting a last- place team in 2007 and guiding it to the postseason this year. Smith received 23 1/2 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL, one more than Sparano (22 1/2). The Falcons bounced back this season from a tumultuous 4-12 campaign in 2007, the incarceration of star quarterback Michael Vick for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring and the resignation of head coach Bobby Petrino after just 13 games.