In the week leading up to Super Bowl LII, it was reported that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had accepted an offer to be the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. This was cringe-inducing news to many Patriots fans, as it came on the heels of defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s agreement to leave New England to become head coach in Detroit, all but spelling a major shakeup in the coaching staff of the most well-oiled machine in the NFL. Then McDaniel’s changed his mind.
So what was he thinking?
5.He’s the Ultimate Troll
The Colts are a mess right now. They’re coming off an unavoidably lost 4-12 season, and with the news of McDaniels’ backtracking, the only bright spot they really have to look to right now is that star quarterback Andrew Luck reportedly won’t require a second major shoulder surgery in two years. Which means he might be able to play next season, though at what level remains to be seen. With that in mind, is it so far-fetched to believe that McDaniels never really intended on joining the Colts in the first place, but simply sabotaged their coaching search? Maybe it was all a spiteful stunt aimed at the Colts for the Deflategate debacle. I don’t necessarily buy that, especially considering the trade of QB Jacoby Brissett to the quarterback-needy Colts appeared at the time to be an olive branch offering of sorts, Belichick believes in such things.
4.He Learned From the Best
In times like these, however, it’s probably appropriate to recall how Bill Belichick went about becoming head coach of the Pats in the first place:
- By agreeing to take over as head coach of the New York Jets, after being brutally snubbed for the job three years prior
- Holding an introductory press conference
- Quitting at the introductory press conference
- Writing his letter of resignation on a napkin
- Subsequently taking a job as head coach of their division rivals.
If that’s what McDaniels thinks it takes to be one of the greats, then I can’t necessarily blame him. He might also just be a dick, though.
3.Winning, Winning, Winning
We know McDaniels’ acumen: An adaptive, do-more-with-less schemer whose prodigious beginnings and record-breaking offensive outputs made him a Super Bowl veteran by age 30. He is a certified NFL wunderkind. But we also know what happened last time McDaniels was a head coach.
- He immediately tried to send starting quarterback Jay Cutler to the Patriots in exchange for Matt Cassel (yeah, no, seriously, that happened),
- He lost Cutler’s trust (duh),
- He traded Cutler to Chicago for Kyle Orton and a bunch of picks
- He won his first six games with Orton
- He subsequently lost 8 of his next 10, missing the playoffs
- He went 3-9 to start the next season
- He was finally fired following a videotaping scandal that he had nothing to do with but still somehow mishandled.
For Josh McDaniels in 2018, being the guy isn’t nearly as important as being the right guy, as the Belichick – Jets incident from 2000 illustrates pretty vividly, over and over, for eternity.
2.He Knows Something We Don’t
All we’ve heard for the past month is that the Patriots are an organization in quiet distress, with trainers and coaches and owners and quarterbacks at odds over everything from legacies to retirements to the benefits of deep-tissue massages. So what is it about that situation that would appeal to him? It could go one of two ways: Either things are way more stable than anybody suspects, with a well-thought-out succession plan in place where McDaniels can eventually build his own head coaching legacy with his own long-term ideas of roster creation; or…
1. Belichick Needs Just a Little More time
It’s just as likely that Belichick sees the Super Bowl window closing fast and know that any additional turnover on top of the possibility of Rob Gronkowski retiring and Tom Brady developing soy-breasts would be too much for the organization to handle. Perhaps Belichick sees the future of the NFL elite, realizes it doesn’t include him or his organization for much longer, and figures a couple more Super Bowls will cement McDaniels’ legacy and future opportunities either way. And, worst case scenario, he packs up his rings, takes some advice from Bill and remembers that as long as Cleveland has a franchise, there will always be a place for young, talented coaches to cut their teeth, lose their hair, and become helplessly bitter forever.