On one hand, it makes sense that Bill Belichick didn’t talk to Josh McDaniels about staying with the New England Patriots until after the Super Bowl. The Patriots were focused on trying to win a championship.
While the story of McDaniels turning down the Indianapolis Colts after agreeing to be their head coach is still pretty crazy and somewhat baffling, Belichick told media members at the league meetings in Orlando that he and McDaniels hadn’t substantially talked about McDaniels staying on as the Patriots offensive coordinator until after Super Bowl LII. That came after the Colts had come under the impression McDaniels would take the job. Assistants aren’t allowed to officially accept a job until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs.
“Once that game ended, I think that really gave Josh and I a chance to sit down [Tuesday] and talk more directly about the situation, as opposed to, ‘We really want to talk about the game and what we need to do to try to compete in that game.’ That’s basically what happened,” Belichick said, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Before the game, I’d say we had minimal discussions. I’d say we had much deeper and longer and more in-depth and more constructive discussions immediately after the game.”
And it was then that Belichick talked McDaniels into staying. It has been reported often since then that no promises were made about McDaniels being Belichick’s successor as head coach in New England, but that’s practically impossible to believe. By turning down the Colts, McDaniels might have ruined his chances to get another head coaching job anywhere but New England. There were probably more layers discussed than just a succession plan, but Belichick said “we were able to work some things out.”
“I’m very glad, based on the meeting we had — there were a number of things that happened — that we were able to work that out and keep him with us,” Belichick said, according to ESPN.
The entire ordeal will go down in NFL history, and it could even lead to rule changes for assistant coaches interviewing with teams when they’re still alive in the playoffs. It’s hard for teams and coaches to concentrate fully on game-planning for playoff games through the Super Bowl and also juggle assistants interviewing for other jobs. That apparently is how McDaniels had one foot out of the door to Indianapolis before Belichick finally had a meaningful conversation with him about staying. And it’s still a little surprising McDaniels turned down a head-coaching job to remain a coordinator with the Patriots without any assurance he’d get a chance to be New England’s head coach down the line, but that’s what has been reported.
It all worked out for the Colts, who seem happy with their choice of Frank Reich, and the Patriots have to be happy to not lose their offensive coordinator. All it took was Belichick talking McDaniels into it.
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