After the season ended, it seemed all but certain New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would leave the team to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts had already named him head coach, and as someone who was considered one of the top offensive minds in football, he seemed like the perfect person to revitalize Andrew Luck’s career.
But shortly after the agreement, it was announced that McDaniels would remain with New England. This news was shocking to almost everyone around the league. Most people wondered why McDaniels would want to remain a coordinator rather than become a head coach, and many began to speculate on the possible reasons behind this move.
It’s possible Patriots owner Robert Kraft was able to sweeten the deal a bit for McDaniels. He may have offered more money to coerce him to stay. Upon further examination, however, this seems unlikely. While Kraft probably did give McDaniels a bump in salary, it’s highly unlikely he would have publicly dissed the Colts for a few more bucks. No coordinator, regardless of the franchise, would make more money than a head coach. Especially not one of the leagues most desired head coaching candidates.
Another possibility, (which at this point is considered the “official” story) is Bill Belichick convinced McDaniels to stay. This explanation is certainly plausible. McDaniels has enjoyed plenty of success under Belichick the last few years, and Belichick may have convinced him trying his luck elsewhere is not in his best interests. He also could have made a strong case the team needed McDaniels and the offense would not be the same without him. This is certainly true, to a degree.
However, one can’t help wonder if there’s something more going on here behind the scenes. Remember the supposed turmoil surrounding this team a little more than a month ago, when Belichick was supposedly furious with Kraft over trading Jimmy Garoppolo? This controversy raised questions about potential dysfunction within the Patriot organization, and even caused some to wonder about Belichick’s future with the team. Perhaps, Kraft wanted McDaniels to remain in New England as a potential contingency.
People may speculate all day on the official story the media is reporting regarding McDaniels’ decision to remain in New England, but there is only one logical reason why he would pass up another chance to be a head coach in the NFL –a guaranteed promise of being named heir-apparent to Belichick. That’s what this decision ultimately means.
McDaniels is going to be the next coach of the New England Patriots. When that is remains to be seen. There is no other logical reason for such a public about-face. There is also no reason for any other NFL team to pursue him as their head coach. If he didn’t take the Indianapolis job, he isn’t taking any job. Except, eventually, Bill Belichick’s.