The results are in and the coach who has done the best job in the AFC North is ... the Steelers' Mike Tomlin.
Of the 10,150 votes in this week's SportsNation poll, 46 percent went to Tomlin. The Bengals' Marvin Lewis finished second with 28 percent. The Ravens' John Harbaugh and the Browns' Pat Shurmur tied for last with 13 percent.
Here are some selected comments from my mailbag ...
Ben from Dayton, Ohio: Pat Shurmur is the Brown's best coach since Butch Davis. Not much of an accomplishment. I voted for Tomlin. He's done the most with all the injuries the Steelers have suffered.
Geoff from Bethlehem, Pa.: Based on this year alone, Marvin Lewis is the best coach in the division. He has kept his players motivated even after the long losing streak and is working for a consecutive playoff appearance which historically this club has struggled with. Finally, removed from the drama of Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer, he has been able to produce winning football teams.
Bob from Mason, Ohio: As a life long Bengal fan, my vote for Marvin Lewis is hardly what any one would call objective. On the other hand, at the end of last season, I was ready for a coaching change. I still contend Lewis could better serve the Brown family as a GM, rather than a head coach (a la Ozzie Newsome). Still, whatever wisdom he imparts with the troops at half time seems to be making a difference.
JJ from New York: Have to give division Coach of the Year to Tomlin. What he has done with all of the injuries, especially to the O-line and quarterbacks, is nothing shy of impressive. The award may have been up for grabs previous to this week, but the game in Baltimore with Big Ben, Woodley, Ike Taylor, and others out earns him the award today.
Matt from Frederick, Md.: My vote went to Marvin Lewis of the Bengals because he has his team positioned to get to the playoffs in consecutive years as well as back-to-back seasons with a winning record since the early 80s. He's got people calling this team the Bengals and not the Bungles.
Andy from West Virginia: I believe that Mike Tomlin is most deserving of AFC North Coach of the year. His theme of "The standard is the standard" has truly been put to the test this year. He has been without his best defensive player for the majority of the season (Polamalu), while also having his starting quarterback sidelined for a fourth of the season. I seriously doubt that any other team in the league would even be in the playoff hunt without their top playmakers on both side of the ball.
Mathew from Omaha, Neb.: As for the Coach of the year, it is without a doubt Marvin Lewis. Lewis is taking a team that looked on the verge of collapsing this season, and has them on a 4 game when streak where they look better than any other team in the division. His defense is loaded with former first-round busts and has them in the top 10 overall now. How can he not be the Coach of the Year in the division.
Paulette from New York: I vote for Tomlin for coach of the year. While every team has injuries, dealing with your third-string quarterback, no Troy, no Harrison. Despite the fact that they have lost some games they clearly should have won in ridiculous fashion, he somehow manages to get them motivated to come back the following week and play well. He doesn't lets them give up and they always believe they can win. Is he perfect? No, but I wouldn't trade him for anybody. The guy is never even mentioned in NFL coach of the year discussions, and I truly don't understand why.
Neal from Arlington, Va.: Mike Tomlin is having his best year as a coach. When things are going well, it is easy to look good. This has been a difficult "journey" (Tomlin language) with constant changing personnel. Regardless how the story ends (Again Tomlin speak), the team has played together, been accountable and constantly worked to improve and succeed. Can't ask for more from a coach.
John from Buffalo: Shurmur. How many people were predicting that the Browns would go 0-16? Especially after starting out 0-5. They have been in every game, except for that spitbucket against Buffalo. They led the Giants by 14, led the Ravens, led the Eagles, led the Cowboys, and demolished the Steelers. Now he has them learning how to finish games, and is doing it with 26 rookies/second-year players.
Tony from Alexandria, Va.: My vote would go to Pat Shurmur of the Browns. He's taken what has to be the youngest roster in the NFL and made them competitive each and every week. The only game where they had no chance to win was week 3 vs the Bills, strangely enough. Go Browns!