Carolina's Rivera wins Top Coach; Belichick third

Carolina's Rivera wins Top Coach; Belichick third
February 2, 2014, 1:30 am
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Panthers coach Ron Rivera on the Patriots: “We are playing one of the elites in this league, who just also happens to have one of the elite quarterbacks in this league.”

(AP Photo)

Ron Rivera took home the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award after leading the Panthers from also-rans to Division Champions.

The Panthers finished 12-4 to take the NFC South and a first round bye. They lost to the 49ers in the Divisional Round.

Rivera is the second Panthers coach to win the award. Dom Capers won the award in 1996, Carolina's second season in the league.

Bill Belichick finished third in the voting, behind Rivera and Kansas City's Andy Reid.

Belichick guided the Patriots to a 12-4 record and yet another AFC East crown, despite a laundry list of injuries to key players and an entirely re-configured offense. 

The Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC Championship.