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After announcing its awards for excellence on the field earlier this week, the Pro Football Writers of America announced the honors for the recipients who work on the sideline and in the front office Thursday.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was named Coach of the Year, and Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was named Executive of the Year, per Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole.
Garrett completed his sixth full season as head coach of the Cowboys in 2016, and it was his best one yet.
He coached the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, which was the organization’s best mark since the 2007 season and just the third time in franchise history it won that many games.
While dealing with a quarterback controversy that saw an injured Tony Romo bow out of his starting duties, a pair of rookies in quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott electrified the league and sparked the Cowboys.
Prescott took control of the starting job and kept it even upon Romo’s return to health as he passed for 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
In the backfield, Elliott led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards and 108.7 yards per game. He also added 363 yards receiving and 16 total touchdowns to win the PFWA Rookie and Offensive Player of the Year awards.
However, they could not have had that much success had it not been for an offensive line that was ranked second-best in the NFL by Pro Football Focus at the end of the 2016 regular season.
Dallas managed to win the NFC East for the second time in three years and nab the conference’s No. 1 seed, but it was unable to get past the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round.
In Oakland, McKenzie helped build the best Raiders team since the turn of the century.
For the first time since 2002, when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders made the postseason with a 12-4 record.
Those 12 wins were the most Oakland had won since the 2000 season when it made the AFC Championship Game.
Most of the Raiders’ success is centered around the 2014 draft, in which McKenzie acquired linebacker Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr.
Mack became the first Raider to win the PFWA’s Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday while Carr passed for 3,937 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Carr could have eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark if he hadn’t broken his fibula during Week 16 against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Raiders also could have done much more damage in the postseason with him under center. Instead, they had to settle for a first-round exit with a loss to the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card Round.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.