Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Feb 2018

McDaniels Turns Down Colts, Stays with Pats


Woah, woah, let's step off the gas here for a moment. Sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter that McDaniels will not accept the Colts' head coaching job, and will instead remain with New England. Huge, if true. This is the very definition of breaking, so we'll see what happens.

It seems there are three possibilities here:

a) Everything is true about the problems in New England between Brady and Belichick, and Belichick is planning to leave when his contract ends after 2018.
b) Belichick isn't planning to go to another team but rather to retire after the 2018 season, making McDaniels the head coach in waiting.
c) Andrew Luck's shoulder is completely and totally screwed.


It's now official, Josh McDaniels is gone to Indianapolis and Matt Patricia to Detroit as the New England Patriots' coaching staff breaks up. Time to break out that Patriots chapter of PFP 2005 and re-read the material about losing both coordinators in the same year. It will be interesting to see how well McDaniels does with Andrew Luck and with a general manager to take care of all the draft stuff he messed up in Denver. Chad O'Shea is the likely new OC in New England, though that may be in reality but not in name. There's some question on the defensive side if the Pats will hire Greg Schiano or promote Brian Flores (possibly with Schiano coming on as assistant head coach).

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Feb 2018

253 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2018, 1:12pm by ssereb


by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 1:56pm

Seriously, Greg Schiano? Do the Patriots worry that they might be getting a smidge too popular, and want to nip that in the bud (or stomp that in the nuts, which is a bit more in keeping with what I remember of Schiano in Tampa Bay)?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:48pm

Maybe old Bill just wanted someone around who will worship him?

(last paragraph is most relevant):


by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 6:22pm

Right, exactly. In a week headlined by a weird player-management issue, I am not sure that Greg Schiano is the coach I would be looking to add to my staff.

by Jimmy Oz :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:07pm

The Rutgers - Patriots connection?

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:25pm

I'm surprised Pepper Johnson isn't mentioned as a candidate. He was a finalist for the DC job when it went to Patricia, and I believe he is currently unemployed (as a coach).

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 1:55pm

If history is any lesson, McDaniels will immediately marginalize Luck, draft Lamar Jackson in the first round, and waste all the picks he got from Arizona for Luck.

by joe football :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:01pm

While I agree with the thrust of this post that McDaniels will mess up in comical fashion, I have to disagree with the implicit Lamar/Tebow comparison here. Lamar is a more capable thrower then Tebow ever was, will be pretty good in the NFL and given how mysterious Luck's health continues to be, might be a better bet going forward

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:22pm

Yeah, that's unfair to Lamar Jackson.

But I need an obvious comp for an unorthodox scrambling Heisman-winning QB who is already fielding requests to switch to TE. So Jackson it is.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 1:56pm

The Sith Lord finds his ideal apprentice in Schiano.

by serutan :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:11pm

Second one. The first wants to keep up the "player" cover story until the proper time comes.
Was wr

by theslothook :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 1:59pm

I think this could be a pretty good signing. McDaniel's on the field coaching wasn't bad at all, but his leadership skills and front office tyranny upended the entire organization and led to his downfall.

Have to think he's learned from this and adjusted accordingly. Was there a better candidate out there? I'm certainly happier with McDaniels than I am Patricia.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:24pm

Was there a worse candidate than Patricia?

At least the other failed Pats coordinators were competent at their original jobs.

I mean, I guess he's better than Fisher?

by johonny :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 3:19pm

Is there a worse job in the NFL the last 50+ years than head coach of the Lions?

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 3:55pm

HC of the current Giants?

Old, highly paid quarterback who is no longer an asset, little talent on the roster, and the owner just publicly gutted the previous coach and took gameday roster decisions away from him?

(and yes, I have no idea why anyone wants Patricia coaching their team at this point)

by Lebo :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:02pm

Why do you not rate Patricia highly?

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:28pm

I think the usual complaint is that his Patriot defenses were all mediocre to bad. The question is, was he hired for his defensive x's and o's acumen, or for his ability to provide leadership and direction to the organization as a whole?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:35pm

Recency bias.

The 2017 NE defense was bad (and bottomed out on the biggest stage possible), according to DVOA, but the 5 prior years under Patricia, they ranked 15, 20, 12, 12, 16. Wade Phillips, he's not. But he's also not the defensive coordinator equivalent of Jeff Fisher like some people are suggesting.

However, none of this will answer the question as to whether or not he'll be a good head coach. I've heard different things (good and bad) regarding his leadership and interpersonal skills. His organizational/logistical skills are probably also an unknown.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 7:26pm

I always wonder what the correlation is between performance of your unit as a coordinator and then performance of that unit on the team you become the HC of.

There are so many differing factors, from the personnel, to the added responsibilities, to slight changes in scheme when you go from one place to another.

As a Colts fan, honestly I would rather have Patricia than McDaniels. Patricia has crafted defenses with average talent into defenses that by DVOA were average (or bad this year, with the weakest on paper roster) and by points were above average and always seemed well coached and playing better than their inherent quality.

With McDaniels, we've seen his Patriots offense be special, but he failed in Denver for myriad reasons, and had truly awful offenses in his brief time in St. Louis.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:33pm

None of the Belichick scions have been worth a bucket of warm spit.

Most of those spit buckets were good coordinators, if not good head coaches. Patricia is like a poor-man's Romeo Crennel.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:31pm

What's wrong with the job?

The owner is rich, patient, and hands-off.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:27am

Too patient, in fact, in that he would be way too slow to fire coaches/GMs who were clearly failing (see Millen, Matt). That's why the franchise has such a poor history post-1963.

by billprudden :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:01pm

I've been confused about his taking this job with luck's shoulder unproven, but then it occured to me that with the Colts' roster, 2018 will either be:

a) Luck at QB and start the rebuilding!

b) #1 overall pick in 2019 and a new QB to groom.

by jtr :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 2:20pm

Come April, they should have a good idea of where the hell Luck's shoulder is. Or at least, a competent organization that was remotely capable of evaluating their quarterback's shoulder injury would have a good idea of where Luck's shoulder is at. I don't think the Colts have shown so far that they are such an organization. Anyways, they have the #3 draft pick this year in what seems to be a very good quarterback draft class. If they're not certain that Luck's shoulder is exactly where it needs to be, they would be wise to at least strongly consider drafting a QB.

by billprudden :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 3:05pm

I had not thought of that either, good point. Double up at the position, give Luck tons of extra time to heal if needed, play either or both this season, and trade one if necc next year. Interesting.

by billprudden :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 3:15pm

me again. The above move would also estblish that it is Josh's team, not the superstar QB's, which seems a very Josh thing to do...

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:31pm

That's why, to be successful with McDaniels, you need to have someone who knows when to say "no" to him. Belichick was great at that job.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:46pm

If by that you mean a dumb thing to do. But I don't see it happening at all unless Luck is forced to retire, which again, seems unlikely.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 8:49pm

Something really odd is brewing in New England.

I mean, there were multiple reports of who is filling out his staff in Indy and he may back out last minute?

Indy is going to riot about this, though personally I think they may be dodging a bullet.

by uosdwiS :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:22pm

I think so too, on the bullet-dodging that is. It seems to have been mostly forgotten by now, but McDaniels's levels of leadership and player management in Denver as HC were... well, underwhelming. And that's putting it mildly. All the tactical brilliance in the world (undercut by his St. Louis tenure, to take another dig) won't save a team from those issues. Perhaps the Colts would've been able to avoid those problems with an already established GM, but I would still have not been happy with that hire if I were a Colts fan.
Either way, it very might well be New England's problem for 2019 now. Lots of luck for them, if so.

by Bryan Knowles :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:01pm

This is, by a wide margin, the strangest coaching thing I can remember. The Colts still have four posts up talking about the McDaniels hire on their front page!

PFT is reporting that the Colts thought this might happen, and have more interviews lined up. If so, they reaaaallly should have told their PR guys, because now they look like idiots.

by Dales :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:03pm

There is no way this could be about Luck's shoulder, could it? I mean, I would find it hard to believe they came to terms, and then faxed him a medical file immediately.

by dryheat :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:32pm

I think it's far more likely to be about the space between Jimmy Irsay's ears. When you've already failed once as a HC, you're probably getting one, and only, one more chance to succeed. I wouldn't have taken the Colts job either in his shoes, instead waiting for a better situation.

I would be curious whether McDaniels ever actually agreed to be the next HC of Indy, or whether Indy put an offer out there which he neither accepted or declined, and it was the media who kept pushing this narrative that it was a done deal.

by Bryan Knowles :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:17pm

The Colts had announced the hire, so it wasn't the media.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:34am

Prematurely, as it turns out. But yes, point taken.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:08pm

I think McDaniels comes out looking worse. They were building a staff, other coaches (admittedly many from NE) were reportedly on the way to Indy.

I wouldn't be surprised if he's blackballed a bit for this. Then again, if it all ends with him taking over for BB it wouldn't matter.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:29pm

This is, by a wide margin, the strangest coaching thing I can remember.

Please see Dave McGinnis vs Chicago Bears.

The difference is, in the earlier case, the Bears flaked. In this case, the flake appears to be the coach.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:35pm

Maybe he's just following Belichick's footprint.

Fail in his first job, earn the eternal scorn of a second franchise for flaking on the HC acceptance, and then try to fail upward due to nepotism.

by Independent George :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:53pm

Stranger than his boss' first press conference as the head coach of the New York Jets?

by Megamanic :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:04pm

One possible explanation for McDaniels faltering would be if the scuttlebutt from a few weeks ago about the falling out with Brady, Belichick and Kraft was true and Belichick was considering retirement. I think if Belichick was upset with Kraft's interference he'd have quit immediately after winning the superbowl. As it is, he still might be considering his options.

I think McDaniels would prefer the NE job to IND.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:16pm

Nah. Nobody would choose Bob Kraft as a boss over Jim Irsay.....

by Led :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:04pm

McDaniels resigns as HC of the IC.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:37pm

I wonder if Irsay will file a grievance with the league re: McDaniels.

Basically accuse him of fraudulently signing a contract in order to peak behind the curtain and then go back with insider info.

It would be such a New England thing to do.

by dryheat :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:57pm

C'mon man. I know you hate all things Patriots, and that's fine, but there was no contract signed.

In fact Irsay has no leg to stand on, because technically, if he offered the job to McDaniels before Monday morning, he committed tampering.

by mathesond :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:12pm

Say, didn't Belichick do something similar to the Jets (albeit, he was already an employee there at the time). Like master, like student?

by Led :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:19pm

The Colts' website is the highest of high comedy right now, assuming Schefter has it right.

by Cythammer :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:20pm

Seems like this could mean Belichick will be gone relatively soon, one way or another, and so McDaniels thinks (or knows) he is the heir apparent in NE.

But if he's not absolutely sure he'll be getting the Patriots job fairly soon, he's taking a big risk. He looks like a clown in all this, and this after already having one disastrous HC tenure under his belt. He might have a hard time getting another chance at a head coaching position after this move.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:22pm

I'll be shocked if he gets a gig that is not NE going forward.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:39pm

Agreed. Between his CF in Denver, and this bridge immolation, his HC prospects appear to be reduced to one team.

by deflated :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:08pm

This may almost be the perfect outcome for the whole situation. Irsay's team look like the 3 Stooges and McDaniels has killed any chance of a HC job outside of the post-Brady Pats.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:34pm

Clown is an apt description of everything he does

by PatsFan :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:32pm


Two thoughts that immediately come to mind...
1) McDaniels has been given assurances he'll be the next HC of the NEP. He's radioactive now. How could he conceivably get another job after that?
2) BB is leaving after the 2018 season or perhaps in a surprise retirement in the next week or two.

by rageon :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:00am

The most logical scenario certainly seems like McDaniels was given assurances as to the HC job being his (or receiving a large payout if not) and Belichick's tenure having a relatively soon end date (presumably either within the next week or after the next season).

However, the issue with this line of thinking is that all of the above could have been worked out without him leading on the Colts. It really assumes one of the following:

- Someone changed their mind (Belichick re: how long he's going to coach; McDaniels re: how badly he wants the NE job; or Kraft re: who he wanted as BB's successor).

- One or more of the three aren't communicating with the others. I'd be surprised as to a sudden change of heart as to any of the above scenarios (unless McD did find out Luck's shoulder is shot), which really makes me believe things aren't completely copacetic between all three of BB, McDaniels, and Kraft.

In any event, this all falls under the umbrella of "something is up."

by johonny :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:55am

I agree. If he isn't a shoe in for the job post BB it's a huge risky move he just made. I think BB and Brady might both go after 2018. Indeed it kind of felt like this past season was going to be their last, but Brady was so productive this year that they're both going to give it one more go. I mean if you look at DYAR there's a whole Philip Rivers between Brady's current playing level and the next highest QB in the east :)

by ncuba :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:17pm

Clear indicator in the present from Kraft (and Bill) that Josh is up next would be greater control of draft decisions, basically a promise somewhere-along-the-lines-of Josh you get to pick a new QB this draft with our 1st, or even try to work out a trade up with the Niners pick. Draft isn't here yet, but planning sure is underway.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:27pm

Things will now be very interesting when McDaniels and Belichick disagree on draft choices and player transactions.

by johonny :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:08pm

Without a trade up, I don't see a shoe in QB being there to draft. The first 6 teams in the draft need a QB or probably aren't going to take your calls. Unless the Colts are amazingly forgiving :) They also need defensive help. I wonder if they're not planning to snag a guy like Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor for a season and wait and see how things work out.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:59pm

I am terrified that somebody like Sam Bradford ends up being the odd man out in an unusually deep draft-and-free-agent class, going to New England, and finally discovering how to stay healthy and excel in the Patriots system. (Yes, I remember the 2011 Rams. No, I don't think that says anything about how he and McDaniels would do in New England.)

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:09am

God I hope the Oats start giving McD GM-type power! The entertainment value alone will be priceless for 84% of American football fans

by Led :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:49pm

I wonder if he actually signed a contract with Indy. It would be highly unusual for Indy to have made a formal announcement unless a deal was signed. If there's a contract, NE may have to pay compensation to Indy to keep McDaniels.

Edit: Apparently no contract was signed. My lord. Didn't Chris Ballard see Jerry McGuire?!

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 9:58pm

I saw someone who I respect on Twitter say that technically head coaches can't sign until the new league year. Can anyone confirm this?

Either way, multiple assistants thought he was coming and signed up and now are out to dry.

This is a complete dick move by McDaniels.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:12pm

Your source is mostly correct. Assistants involved in the SB cannot sign as HC until after the SB. But they don't need to wait for the new league year. As to your other assertion?


That's Josh McDaniels.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:40pm

OK that makes more sense. League year seemed wrong.

It's a joke that the assistants signed and can't get out now. What a snake.

by rageon :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:35am

That he brought guys with him and allowed them to sign contracts, only to back out, really does seem like a horrible thing to do to them. You would have to think that these are his top choices for assistants and most would not be so keen to work with him again. Is he so bold as to assume he'll just built a new team of assistants a year from now without any problems?

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:37am

I doubt they were his top choices. They were the best that were available at this late date, and presumably they were available for a reason. Two of them I'd never heard of...and a third I've only heard of because he was a Patriots assistant.

I also don't know how upset they'd be. They got promotions out of the deal, and unless it was solely the presence of McD that got them to accept the jobs, they'll get an opportunity to do a good job and get their names more widely known.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:34pm

There are, routinely, announcements of agreements "in principle" that occur before the relevant parties actually sign. In this case, the Colts clearly proceeded because of a representation from the other party. And then one party change its mind.

by Ben :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:30am

The latest statement from the Colts is that he had agreed to contract terms before they made the announcement. He backed out after that. He also apparently didn’t bother to let the staff that he and the Colts had already started hiring know that he had changed his mind.

Edit: Source is this tweet from Colts beat reporter for the main Indy newspaper.


by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:01pm

On the other hand, the news that the Colts will only hire the 9th best coach available is tremendous news for Colts fans. You dodged a major bullet.

by Purds :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:30pm

Huge Colts fan here. I was really excited about McDaniels, as I thought that Ballard would be able to do the leadership things that Josh couldn’t do in Denver, but if anyone makes a move like this, he is not the right person. He might be exactly the right person for NE, and he might eventually get the HC job there and do very well, but he clearly wasn’t the right choice for the Colts if he would operate in this fashion, leading on that he was going to take the job by verbally agreeing to contract conditions and already picking assist coaches that they hired. Imagine being one of those coaches?

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:50am

I'm not happy to be seeing him return to Foxboro. It's pretty clear by now that he still hasn't matured much from his train wreck experience in Denver. If he does take over when Belichick eventually retires, I expect it to be a disaster.

How did it happen that the situation with Kraft wasn't resolved until after he accepted the position in Indy? I cannot think of any good reason this wasn't resolved several weeks ago.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:37am

The Boston beat writers are saying one of the big reasons in McDaniels staying in NE is that he has been given "clarity" about Belichick's situation, whereas he had been unable to get that "clarity" earlier in the postseason.

Make of that what you will.

by DavidL :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:37pm

The million dollar question: Assuming that he's now Belichick's anointed successor, where can he go from there if it turns out he's just not suited to be a head coach? Does he stay on as the OC for his own successor? Notre Dame?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:39pm

Even Kansas won't hire a Belichick retread anymore.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:46am

A "Belichick retread" is the most successful coach in college football right now.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:26am

That guy also failed in teh NFL. Coaching in the NFL and college are two totally different things.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:40pm

No shit. I was responding to a comment about coaching at the college level.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 7:51am

Sabah is a stellar recruiter. Absolutely top-notch. But he's a middling coach. No one with his talent and depth should lose as much as he does.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:46am

What does he average? One loss a year in the SEC? Does he have 4 National Championships now, or 5?

I think your measures of success might be a bit too lofty.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:42pm

Sounds like the guys at Pats' Pulpit whining about how "Belichick the GM" has "cost us several Super Bowls". And that we should "call for his head".

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:15am

I don't. Remember, in the NCAA it's not a level playing field. Saban has so many (and such huge) advantages that it's arguable that one loss a year is too much.

by dryheat :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 8:06am

1. How many more, or bigger, recruiting advantages does Alabama have over LSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Oregon, Clemson, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio St, Florida St, etc?

1a. If you believe that Alabama has a significant recruiting advantage, how much of that is attributable to Saban himself, i.e, athletes want to play in his program? It's not like Alabama, in recent times, was a powerhouse before he got there. The suggestion that 1, or even two, losses a year is somehow tantamount to poor coaching is absurd. There's not a who lot of gimmes on the schedule...Vanderbilt, Kentucky, the early season cannon fodder Appalachian State types...and then a host of top 10 candidates.

by Lebo :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:53pm

As a Colts fan, I'm not gutted that we missed out on McDaniels. I'm not sold on the idea of him as an HC nor the idea of him not working for Belichick.

However, I am gutted that we are now so heavily handicapped in our HC search. What candidate of quality is still available?

Hopefully this leads to the league preventing all teams from hiring HCs before the Super Bowl. I think it's dumb asking coaches who are busy preparing for playoff games to also prepare for and give interviews for HC jobs.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:00pm

for the last point, or just allow them to commit in writing.

NCAA does this with many times coordinators of bowl-bound teams signing up for HC gigs before the bowl game. They continue to coach. It generally ends up fine.

by rageon :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:07am

Sure, they will miss out on the "hot name" coaches that get snapped up right away, but I'm not convinced those guys work out more often than anyone else.

Looks like Kris Richard and Dave Toub are the two left among the guys they interviewed. I don't know much about Richard, but he seems highly regarded. I'd take Toub over McDaniels without question (but I'm a Broncos fan, so, you know...).

by jonsilver :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:15am

1) Indy obviously is now forced to choose from the "what's left after the most desired candidates have been picked" group... however, based upon what I have seen and heard about Irsay, the fact that three McDaniels-chosen coaches are already on staff and the bind Indy is in, this hire can be very desirable for the newly chosen coach...Irsay has shown himself to have a slow trigger finger on firing coaches...I'd bet that the new guy gets a few assurances: no two and out (maybe no three and out), no blame to him if any/all of the three staff don't work out...basically, more job security than the average NFL coaching hire...

2) It'll be a cold day in hell before anyone ever takes McDaniels' word for anything again (in a just world, that'd include free agents considering where to sign)...

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:53am

There are many teams that would have done well to hire Mike Zimmer from the bottom of their head coach prospect list.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:00pm

Yeah, I think many teams would be better off not getting that hot top prospect who's flashy and will fail spectacularly and instead going with the boring guy who will get better results.

The biggest issue here is, what self-respecting coach would take the job without the ability to choose his staff?

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:20am

You're assuming the HC-candidate doesn't want those particular guys. It might not be ideal, but "no self respecting coach" is a hell of a hyperbole.

by MJK :: Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:37pm

Boy, it’s getting harder to be a Patriots fan right now. We had WWE Gronk. Then Belichick benching Butler for what could only be a dick move reason, then hiring cheap shot Schiano as DC, and now McDaniels acting like a total tool to the Clots.

Hmmmm... I really liked Garappolo, and live near San Francisco. Maybe I’ll become a Niners fan. My wife is. If only their owner wasn’t so terrible...

by ssereb :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:17am

Some advice from a longtime Clippers fan: it's OK to root for a team and root against the owner. I celebrated when Sterling was forced to sell.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:44am

Sports franchise owners are self-interested billionaires. Bob Kraft spent over a year playing Boston and Hartford against each other to try to get the best stadium. America has this bizarre predilection for worshiping the wealthy.

There are many owners worse than Kraft, but he's still just a self-interested billionaire. At least he doesn't meddle with the day-to-day operations of the team, like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder do.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:56am

I don't remember; how was Kraft so incapable of getting the two cities in a bidding war? Did Boston just call his bluff?

by PatsFan :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:41am

Kraft actually went as far as signing a ridiculously lucrative deal to move to a stadium-to-be-built in Hartford where Hartford totally gave away the store. But he really wanted to be in MA no matter what.

So when the Speaker of the MA House at the time called the bluff and blocked any attempts to have the state give away $ to Kraft, Kraft invoked an out in the Hartford contract and wriggled free. He then helped get the NFL to create a slush fund to help owners build stadiums and was able to convince the state to kick in $70 million to do road upgrades around the stadium, though he had to agree to pay back that $70 million over 25 or 30 years. Then he used his own money plus money from the slush fund (which I believe but am not sure is also effectively a loan) to build CMGI Field. Which was then hastily renamed Gillette Stadium when CMGI cratered.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:46pm

Good recap.

Yes, Kraft's bluff was called.

It was one of the few times in history that Dan Shaughnessy was right about anything.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:45am

Some advice from a longtime Clippers fan: it's OK to root for a team and root against the owner. I celebrated when Sterling was forced to sell.

Easy for you to say, *your* childhood favorite team wasn't owned by Daniel Snyder. Who will never be forced to sell the team. It wasn't an easy decision for me, it took a lot to do it, but eventually I realized that it's just plain stupid to be a Redskins fan for sooo many reasons, one of which is that it's utterly pointless. The team's absolute ceiling is above average, as long as Snyder is there. They will never be a serious contender with Snyder. That's hard enough to do anyway, even without Snyder.

I'm happier in general now that I've moved on. Less stressed. I don't see any benefit of continuing to root for a team like that, you invest so much emotion in your favorite team, it's nice to get something back for that psychic cost now and then. I have nothing against the players or coaches, and i enjoy seeing them find success elsewhere, if they're lucky enough to make it out with their careers intact. It helps that I had also moved across the country since watching the early 1990s Redskins teams when I was a kid, and that my new home team had signed Peyton Manning. I should have moved on from the racist clusterfuck in Washington in years ago. It's refreshing to write that sentence in a different context than usual.

by ssereb :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 1:12pm

Well, even when the V. Stiviano stuff came out, it seemed impossible that he'd ever be forced to sell the team. Remember, everyone already knew that he was a racist slumlord who mismanaged the front office, mistreated coaches, heckled his own players, and sexually harassed female employees, and none of that had led to his ouster. For the 20 years I rooted for the Clippers while he owned them, I was totally resigned to them having no more than fleeting success.

I might have been happier rooting for another team--hell, anybody would have been happier rooting for any other team except the Knicks--but I grew up in Southern California, the guy who brought me and my family to America had Clippers tickets, and we could never afford Lakers tickets. I couldn't exactly give that up. So I planned on having a party when he died, then the V. Stiviano thing happened, and I had a party when he was forced to sell the team. Then they had more success than they ever had before and I'm still miserable because they still can't win a title. C'est la vie.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:41am


"We had WWE Gronk."

That was bad but 10 other similar plays by guys on other teams don't get 1/10th of the attention.

"Then Belichick benching Butler for what could only be a dick move reason,"

Really dumb take.

"then hiring cheap shot Schiano as DC,"

Not a fan of that.

"and now McDaniels acting like a total tool to the Clots."

Those are the same Colts who participated in the greatest fraud in the history of the NFL to victimize the Patriots. Cry me a river.

But really, you don't have to be a McDaniels fan to be a Pats' fan.

Seriously, what do fans think the only possible reason Belichick benched Butler was "ego" or "hubris" or "to be a dick". Why are so many people refusing to put any blame whatsoever on Butler? Given that you have no real information about what went down in Foxboro or Minneapolis, why just buy into the b.s. media narratives about Belichick?

by sbond101 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:14am

Without making comment on the rest of the post, I have to agree with respect to the Butler benching. There are only two possibilities here; It was about game plan/performance in which case you can argue that it was an error in judgment - but I think BB has earned some leeway in making those judgments; or it was about discipline, in which case I think BB has a pretty strong track record to point to that says good team discipline is more important than individual excellence - especially on defense - and that BB's tactics are excellent at creating it. This decision will be litigated in a similar way to the Wes Welker benching after the loss to the Jets in 2010 as to how much slack exceptional players should get and how exceptional Butler (or at that point Wes Welker) really is - but I think history has shown that in totality BB's approach in this area which seeks to make examples of talented players (e.g. Jamie Collins) is pretty sound. I think calling BB a dick for pursuing that approach is wrong (though you could have a whole values discussion on at what point trying to maximize results on the football field makes you a "dick" - I don't really want to climb down that rabbit hole except to say that I think excellence is a lot more important than most people seem to think it is).

With respect to McDaniels; There are always two sides to every agreement that falls apart at the final stages. As far as I have read we don't really have either. Jim Irsay is known as an "uneven" personality, Josh has been vocal about only taking a HC job in the right situation, I suspect this is about the purview of his expected powers. With that speculation in mind it really leaves Josh in a similar position to before - committed to a view that the buck stops with the head coach on all decisions in a league where that's only true in one organization - and with a bonus "red flag". I happen agree with Josh & BB that having a single coach & GM is a better model for running an NFL team over the long term but I think it will be 7+ years before anyone lets Josh be in that position. I think the Pats will get an over-qualified OC for the foreseeable future as a result & I think Josh's "staff" with the Colts should have let the ink dry on Josh's contract before signing and/or live with the payday for their actions. It wont win Josh any "man of the year" awards, but I'm not losing too much sleep over it.

by MJK :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:39am

I won’t quibble about McDaniels maybe having a good reason to turn down the job. There may well have been good and honorable reasons for not wanting to take the job. I’m actually a McDaniels fan (or was). I think he’s an awesome OC and a great QB developer. And while I don’t know him personally, I’m friends with someone who does (or did)...and by her account, he’s a really great guy.

But pulling out at the last second, after you’ve agreed in good faith to something, is not an honorable move. If you aren’t sure about the job, fine. Think it over, and if you think too long, the offer might be gone. But don’t say you will, actually start hiring staff, and then pull the rug out. That is indefensible. I’ve had job candidates pull that, and anyone who does burns the bridge for good.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:31am

Problem is, we don't know if McDaniels agreed to anything. He never once said publicly that he was going to be the HC of the Colts. For all we know, he told Irsay that he would talk it over with his family and consider it after the Super Bowl, and Irsay took that for a yes.

IF McD DID verbally agree to the job, then it looks worse. And it is. But people change their mind, and have the right to do so. I myself have accepted a job offer before, and after thinking it over some more called the would-be employer and declined -- once because I had received a better offer in the interim, and once because I decided I wanted to go into a different field. I doubt I'm the only one.

You can't really compare it to the Belichick resignation, as he was under contract. At it's most damning, McD's decision is akin to a wedding engagement getting called off.

by rj1 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:39am

"At it's most damning, McD's decision is akin to a wedding engagement getting called off."

16 hours before the wedding at the rehearsal dinner, after everyone paid to fly or drive in and stay in hotels.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:50am

Nah. That would be if he resigned at the draft. Regardless, inelegant as it is, it still beats hitching your wagon to the wrong person, even if the decision came to you later than it should have.

by rj1 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:57am

Hitching your wagon to the wrong person, like engineering a quarterback crisis when there was none because you thought Matt Cassel was the next coming of Tom Brady, and because of your actions you ended up married to Kyle Orton?

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 2:55am

What's wrong with Orton? He was 10th in DYAR a couple of times with the Broncos. A team could do a lot worse, and 22 of them did.

by Eddo :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:57am

The Colts could, of course, be lying about McDaniels "agreeing to terms", but if you take their statement at face value, he agreed in some manner (verbal or unoffical written).

I don't think anyone is saying McDaniels doesn't have the right to bail on the Colts... just that it makes him look flaky and/or shady and almost certainly will have an impact on his future prospects as a head coach outside of New England. I would be wary of spending much effort negotiating with him after this, if I were a team owner or GM.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:28pm

Sure. And I don't think anybody would argue that the last 48 hours have made McDaniels look good in the present, or enhance his prospects in the future. We just don't know what we don't know.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:49am

If he didn't agree, then how come he already hired staff? Unless the team signed them without his consent and that's why he backed out, but it doesn't seem plausible.

by David :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:52am

"I think calling BB a dick for pursuing that approach is wrong (though you could have a whole values discussion on at what point trying to maximize results on the football field makes you a "dick" - I don't really want to climb down that rabbit hole except to say that I think excellence is a lot more important than most people seem to think it is)"

I really do - though this is prompted by a lot more than this benching.

Let's go through the statement bit by bit - first off, is Belichick a dick? Secondly, is this affected by trying to create excellence on the football field? Thirdly, and I'm inferring this from the last part of your statement, does the end result of creating excellence in any way reduce his dickishness (if, indeed, he is a dick).

So, first thing, is Belichick a dick? Ignoring concepts of intrinsic values, we can judge by his actions - so, does he act in a dickish way? This is going to depend on your ethical/moral value set. Personally, I subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as absolute morality, but only the morality agreed to by a the social group. The implication there is that it depends on what we take as Belichick's social group - is it the group of NFL head coaches, or is it society in general (obviously, there are lots of gradations between these two points, but we need to simplify at some point)? I'm going to go broad, and take society as a whole.

I'm further going to select two instances - one because it's mentioned in this post, and the other because it's a personal hobby horse - the Butler benching, and the tactic of kicking to the 1 to force a return. If the reports are true, Belichick had decided well before the game to bench Butler, but didn't tell him until game time. At least, this is a lie of omission, and is probably a lie of commission. In either case, it's lying, and that's generally agreed to be wrong. According to an excellent article on Football Perspective (http://www.footballperspective.com/guest-post-the-patriots-league-best-k...) Belichick has evolved a strategy to try to force returns. Given the rule changes were implemented to improve player safety, this means Belichick knows his strategy is more likely to injure players. This is also against standard rules of morality (in general, it's not considered okay to try to hurt people - in other industries, in fact, it may lead to criminal or civil charges)

So, first conclusion, Belichick is a bit of a dick.

However, the instances we have selected to show that he's a dick are entirely football related, we have nothing from his personal life to show dickishness or lack thereof. So, I'm going to quickly roll up the second point and conclude that he is only being a dick in pursuit of excellence on the football field.

So, to our final point, does the fact that he is successful in creating excellence on the field mitigate his dickishness? We can think about this in several ways - for example, if he was less successful, would that matter? In general, this does seem to be the case - for example, Schiano and McDaniels (when he was the Denver Head Coach) both have lots of examples of dickishness on the football field, which are (it seems) held against them, and they were not successful (generally). Conversely, to take another example recently in the news, Terrell Owens was very successful on the field, but was also a bit of a dick, and this seems to have been held against him.

So, what is our conclusion? It seems inescapable to conclude that Belichick is indeed a dick (in football-related matters), so does this matter? That's an individual conclusion - based around do the ends (excellence in football) justify the means (being a dick)? Is it okay to be a dick if you're successful, but it's not okay if you aren't successful? Is it acceptable to not be a dick even if that means you're going to fail? Is it possible to not be a dick and still be successful?

by David :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:59am

For extra credit, consider some of the following statements, and your reaction (agreement, disagreement) to them

"Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser"

"I'd rather lose the right way, than win the wrong way"

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying"

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 7:54am

"Don't get caught."

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:23am

It is fascinating to me to see someone argue that there can be no absolute difference in morality between two social groups, while also asserting that it is generally agreed that lying is wrong. To be quite blunt, there are many, many, many circumstances where lying is either morally neutral, or morally required. Lying to a player about depth chart decision a few days before a game, so as to ensure the depth chart decision does not get leaked to the opposition, isn't even close to being generally regarded as a wrongful action.

The kicking to the one argument is also very poorly conceived, in that you attribute a motive to Belichik, the desire to get players hurt, that you have not proven.

Moral reasoning deserves a better effort than this.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:58pm

Belichick kicks to the 1, if possible, because that gives his team an advantage in field position. A kick into the end zone can be taken out the 25 automatically. Belichick believes that the average field position of a kick off caught close to the goal line, but not in the end zone, is going to be inside the 25.

The fact that somebody is trying to seriously argue that a strategy with a valid football reason is actually pursued just because Belichick likes hurting people shows how deranged public thinking has become when it comes to assessing his character.

He's not a comic book villain. He doesn't bench a player just to be a dick. He doesn't kick off to the 1 just to hurt people.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:52pm

Yeah, I know. I call him Darth Hoodie or The Sith Lord because it amuses me, not because I actually attribute to him immoral motivations. Lots of people take this stuff seriously, unfortunately.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:55pm

Hey, as an addendum, did you see the 30 for 30 with Parcells and Belichik? I really enjoyed it, and found it pretty revealing of both guys.

by duh :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:12pm

I watched it, yes. I was fascinated by the body language on both men when they were discussing BB resigning from the Jets. As you say it really was enjoyable.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:24pm

Two very different and interesting personalities, with the common element of loving a profession, and being brilliant at that profession. I appreciate the way both were able to recognize the stuff they didn't do well, Parcells with managing his relationship with Kraft, and Belichik with managing media relations, although I've come to be quite entertained by Belichik's media interactions. I also had forgotten how Kraft's poor relationship with the league office and other owners extends back to the Tagliabue era, when the Jets tampering with Belichik and Kraft was tolerated.

by Independent George :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 1:17am

Belichik's media relations are overblown. He doesn't like answering stupid questions about narratives, but if you ask him a good question about football, he'll talk your ear off and teach you a lot.

The problem is that stupid questions designed to fit a pre-determined narrative are what sells, so that's what we get.

by Purds :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:25am

And this comment itself follows the "pre-determined narrative" trend that Patriot fans like to push when talking about BB's grumpy reaction to questions he doesn't like -- they must be stupid questions. Like asking: why did you dress but then sit in the Super Bowl a CB who played 97% of your plays this season? Yeah, must just be a dumb question. Couldn't actually have anything to do about, you know, football. Sure, BB didn't answer it because it's a stupid question.

by dryheat :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:57am

He answered that question...many time. And similar ones like it. He made the decision because he thought it gave the Patriots the best chance to win.

Just because we don't like/don't believe the answer doesn't mean he ignored the question.

Although there are the various questions the inquire as to the past, and we get the "we're on to Cincinnati" responses. Or the questions about injuries which he won't answer. So if you think coaches should be made to answer questions whose answers don't serve the team going forward, or that they should be forced to divulge detailed injury updates, I can't say you're wrong.

by Tracy :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:06pm

While I'm inclined to agree with both you and Will that David's examples fail to make a compelling case that Belichick is" a bit of a dick", I think it's disingenuous to characterize his thesis as "Belichick tries to get players injured." I think a better characterization would be, "In pursuit of football excellence, Belichick prescribes tactics that expose players to added injury risk."

by InTheBoilerRoom :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:20pm

Agreed. Will is a stickler for reading comprehension, so it is surprising to me that he misread David's statements. I read David's thesis re:kickoffs in the same way that you did. Belichick's strategy is not carried out with the intent to increase injury risk. It is intended to improve outcomes for his team while accepting that he is exposing players to greater risk of injury (which is counter to the motive for creation of the rule).

Also, I read David's comments as just having a bit of fun, and not to be taken seriously. But, my wife always accuses me of being a naive optimist, so who knows.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:22pm

What does "...try to hurt people..." mean?

by InTheBoilerRoom :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:20pm

Will, I read that parenthetical statement as an aside. David doesn't explicitly state that he believes Belichick's intent is to, "...try to hurt people...," but I can see how you read that as an implicit claim that it is Belichick's intent.

And the irony is not lost on me that I am taking his statements at face value and avoiding interpreting statements to attribute implications that are not directly made, while also assuming he's just having a bit of fun (which he never explicitly states).

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:21pm

That's how I read....

"This is also against standard rules of morality (in general, it's not considered okay to try to hurt people....."

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 7:04am

Fair point - I think I was cutting too many corners in the argument. Can we agree that kickoff returns have a higher risk of injury than touchbacks? And that the league changed the kickoff rules explicitly to increase the number of touchbacks, in order to reduce injury risk? And that Belichick is aware of this?

So, my amended statement is (borrowing from InTheBoilerRoom) that Belichick considers it acceptable to increase the injury risk to players in pursuit of excellence on the football field.

Can we further agree that increasing the risk of injury for people is wrong? If not, that's fine, then we don't have anything to discuss, as Belichick is just doing his job (as he should) and never doing anything morally questionable.

However, if we can agree on anything being morally questionable, we're back to the original point - if he's successful, does that make it okay? If he wasn't as successful, would it be not okay? Again, if you don't like my examples for Belichick, substitute your own - unless you have never seen anything, in all your time watching football, that you didn't think "that seems a bit wrong"

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 7:51am

Passing plays carry a higher risk of causing concussions than running plays.

It is likely that the West Coast offense carries a higher risk of causing concussions than any other offensive scheme.


Well informed coaches will be aware of this, but they will still call pass plays or run the West Coast Offense if they believe that doing so gives them the best chance to win. Every coach in the league considers injury risk an acceptable trade-off for increasing his team's chances of winning. They have to; there is no way to avoid it. Coaches may have different assessments of the various risks and rewards of each particular play type -- consider the injury risk argument often deployed against the quarterback option running game -- but it is probably misguided in most instances to ascribe that to morality or ethics rather than the more straightforward strategical considerations.

There are, of course, instances in which the intent to injure is overt, such as the Saints' headhunting bounties scandal, or individual players deliberately attempting to injure opponents (for example Albert Haynesworth stomping on the head of Andre Gurode). That is a different matter, however; I do not believe playcalling -- such as kicking to the 1-yard line instead of kicking for a touchback -- can typically be considered an ethical, rather than a strategic question.

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:00am

This is an excellent point - though at the risk of overextending the conversation, I'm not interested in ascribing coaches' actions to either morality OR strategic considerations, I'm interested in the intersection of these. Of course the primary motivation is (normally) strategic - excellence on the field - but that doesn't mean the morality simply stops existing.

So, to what extent does the attainment of excellence mean that moral arguments can be overlooked?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:19am

This finding is less well-known and less-generally accepted than the view that kick returns are more dangerous plays. The earliest concussion work found that; that view is about 20 years old at this point, and some of the earliest work along those lines is the better part of 40 years old.

I think this paper's finding is generally correct, although I note that on a per-drive basis (and possibly on a per-play basis) the finding isn't significant, and that I didn't see an effort to suss out whether the injuries occurred on running or passing plays (you are allowed to run in the West Coast system).

But if we accept that it is true, and the implication that passes are more dangerous than runs as true, this is still a counter-intuitive finding (to conventional thinking) and flies in the face of the rules changes over the last decades. We've driven football towards strongly passing-rewarding rules in the name of safety. I think that was folly, but mine is the minority view.

Basically, I think the ethical worth of this paper is small and vastly less so than kick returns. The ethics of that have stronger weight, but still have dwarf-tossing issues.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:12pm

I would love to get Zach Binney in on this, in case his work has thrown up more recent findings, but I am fairly confident that the conclusions would hold up at least on the difference in rates between pass plays and run plays.

It is somewhat ironic that the forward pass was introduced in an attempt to reduce injuries (and even fatalities) on the field, but it may now have become the more commonly injurious play.

I may do some work on that this offseason, if Zach does not already have the numbers.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:09pm

Where are you getting the breakdown of on which play a concussion was sustained?

I know the NFL has some of this (I've seen the presentations), but a lot of concussions are diagnosed in retrospect and are only tentatively correlated with a given play. Even the NCAA work that uses in-helmet or in-mouth sensors struggles with this.

I thought it was interesting that West Coast was so much different than Air Coryell. That suggests to me that RB flare passes and crossing routes correlate to larger head shots than downfield passing. (Al Davis was a Coryell acolyte)

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:31pm

There is no dispute that deep vertical routes provide far fewer opportunities for receivers to get lit up, relative to crossing routes.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 4:29pm

Except ironically, the two obvious most recent concussions were on deep vertical routes.

Edit: I would like to clarify that I agree with you. It's just that small sample sizes can be so confounding.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:58pm

It's a combination of data from various sources, for instance a study published this past November (and reported by the Associated Press) indicated that 48 percent of concussions are sustained on passing plays (4 percent of those on sacks) versus 30 percent on running plays. This means that 61.5 percent of concussions identified on specific plays from scrimmage occurred on pass plays.

During the period of the study (2015 & 2016), there were 38,897 recorded pass plays and 26,810 run plays, so only 59.2 percent of plays from scrimmage were passes.

The effect is small, but it correlates with other historic data I've seen and my own concussion tracking for the Injury Aftermath articles.

Edit: Your point about concussions being diagnosed in retrospect is a good one, and a significant part of what makes addressing the league's concussion problem so difficult. I am happy to admit that the data is far from conclusive.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 9:14am

Yeah, look at Andrew's post. By your reasoning, every NFL coach is morally compromised by the playbook they install. That's fine if you want to condemn the game itself as a moral failure, but it says nothing about Belichik in particular. I can nearly guarantee you that there is not a single coach in the league that is refraining to emulate the Patriots kickoff strategy, out of health converns.

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:04am

Well, apart from Mike Mularkey :)

I agree - but then, as per the original post in football perspective (link upthread), since kicking to the 1 is such a huge advantage, why doesn't every other coach do it? If you can "nearly guarantee" that it isn't out of ethical concerns, why is every other coach giving up such an advantage?

I mean, I agree that it probably isn't for ethical reasons, but what else could it be? Can they really all be that dumb?

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:06pm

NFL coaches, as a general rule, are astoundingly risk-averse.

Also, not every NFL team has Stephen Gostkowski -- one of the best kickoff-takers in the league -- and very few place the same level of importance on special teams as Bill Belichick.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 2:10pm

Yep, that's pretty much it.

by Theo :: Mon, 02/12/2018 - 12:56pm

Injuries are not part of the equation in calling football plays. Injuries are an outcome. Unfortunately.

by Eddo :: Mon, 02/12/2018 - 5:03pm

That's simply not true. Injuries might not be a significant factor, but they are indeed part of the equation. Todd Haley said, regarding the Steelers not calling QB sneaks for Ben Roethlisberger, "Some staffs choose not to let people earhole their quarterback in the side of the head. Other staffs take that risk at times. There is risk-reward with everything you do."

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 6:58am

'David's examples fail to make a compelling case that Belichick is" a bit of a dick"'

That's fine, though it just makes things less interesting. If Belichick has never done anything dickish, then he's just someone who is always in pursuit of excellence on the football field, and that's admirable. If you don't fancy my examples, how about Schiano's attacking the victory formation, or Buddy Ryan's Polish Defense?

Thanks also for your much better summation of my thesis - as you say, I in no way think Belichick wants players to get injured. I think that he deliberately pursues a strategy in the pursuit of excellence which he knows increase the injury risk to players

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 6:53am

As commented above (and below, by others), I'm trying to say the opposite - I absolutely do not believe that he does this (kicks to the 1) in order to injure people - he's doing it because it improves the chance of winning a game. However, I do believe that he knows that by doing this he is, however slightly, increasing the changes of some one being injured, and he has decided that this is okay.

Again, I'm responding (possibly badly) to sbond101's comment 'values discussion on at what point trying to maximize results on the football field makes you a "dick"'

I think Belichick does many things and his only motivation is to maximise results on the football field. Some of these things may be described as dickish. Is this bad?

If you don't agree that he has ever done anything in the pursuit of excellence that you personally would find morally objectionable, that's fine, then we have nothing to answer. We can broaden the question - has anyone ever done anything in the pursuit of excellence that you find objectionable? How about Schiano's instruction some years ago about attacking the victory formation? Does that make him a bad person? A neutral person? It's only interesting if we can find something that someone did in the pursuit of excellence - if their motivation was dickishness, that's a simple questino/answer

by MC2 :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 5:10am

Well, as far as Schiano's "strategy" of blitzing the victory formation, I would certainly classify that as a "dick move" that seems designed primarily (if not entirely) to injure opposing players. I know he claims he's trying to force a fumble, but the chances of that are about 1 in 1,000 (maybe even less after teams have seen him do it once or twice, and are no longer caught off guard by it).

As far as Belichick's kickoff strategy "increasing the chances of an injury", the question I would ask is, "Compared to what?" Certainly not compared to the way the game was played for decades. Remember, Belichick is an old school guy, and he may well believe that rules like this are "going too far" in the name of player safety. That doesn't necessarily mean he views player safety as unimportant.

As an analogy, imagine that the speed limit on all interstate highways were reduced to 40 miles per hour, in the name of reducing highway fatalities. I'm guessing you would probably consider that to be unreasonable, and you might well break the speed limit any time you thought you could get away with it. I know I would. It's not that I'm not concerned about highway fatalities, nor that I dispute that driving slower does reduce highway fatalities. Rather, it's just that minimizing highway fatalities, while an admirable goal, must be balanced with other goals, and in my opinion, a 40 mph speed limit on the freeway would strike a poor balance. It would go too far, and because of that, I wouldn't feel too bad about breaking it. It's quite possible Belichick views the attempt by the NFL to eliminate kick returns as similarly unreasonable. If that's the case, then his kickoff strategy is no more of a "dick move" than someone breaking the hypothetical 40 mph speed limit.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 6:12pm

*Everyone* who ignores the highway speed limits for selfish personal reasons is a dick, as is every clown who runs red lights and fails to yield to pedestrians.

by MC2 :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:54am

Wow. I've been reading comments here for well over a decade, and this is almost certainly the most irrational one I've encountered, and that includes the Brady-Manning thread. Congratulations.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 02/11/2018 - 5:05pm

It's hardly irrational. If you choose to break traffic laws and endanger others, what does that say about you?

I've been nearly run down several times as a pedestrian or gotten into crashes while driving because of people who think speed limits and traffic signals are a joke, or can't be bothered to pay attention to what they're doing, or are too aggressive.

by PatsFan :: Sun, 02/11/2018 - 6:43pm

On interstates speed limits are a joke in most places. 55mph and even 65mph are too low in many, many places given the standards the roads were designed to.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 5:20am

You're conflating the actions of a few obviously dangerous idiots ("anecdotes" if you will) with the much wider majority of people who go 5 or 10 mph over the speed limits routinely and safely.

Simply breaking a traffic law in and of itself is not necessarily more dangerous than the alternative. It's situational, and anyone who tells you otherwise is an asshole.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 5:22am

EDIT: Apparently my thoughts have already been expressed and discussed earlier, which I couldn't see due to FO's logical but insane comment ordering system

The fact that somebody is trying to seriously argue that a strategy with a valid football reason is actually pursued just because Belichick likes hurting people shows how deranged public thinking has become when it comes to assessing his character.

Maybe the post was edited, but from what I read no one is saying that. The point was that they kick to the one yard line DESPITE the knowledge that one of the results of the strategy is going to be more injuries to players on both teams. As a factual point, I don't think anyone could argue against that, but its importance is certainly debatable.

I think the OP's mistake was choosing "society at large" instead of "high level head coaches," which is a much fairer comparison IMO. If BB is a dick for kicking short, where would you draw the line? Should you expect a moral head coach to voluntarily stop running crossing routes across the middle, because of the risk of injuries like Brandin Cooks'? Should you stop rushing the passer (or blocking opposing rushers) because those little but frequent collisions are even worse collectively than one big one? All of those things would decrease the injury rate. Even the "not blocking" one would, for the team overall (at the expense of a single position group, of course).

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 6:47am

Okay - I'm stating exactly the opposite - there is no absolute morality (i.e. I do not believe that there is a set of rules which should always be followed, handed down from a single moral authority (normally, this is religion)) - there is only relative morality - what people in your social group generally accept to be okay. One important distinction here is whether you consider Belichick's social group (and hence moral character) to be NFL head coaches, sports coaches, US society, western society or global society.

If you consider that lying is sometimes a moral action, that's fine. It was the example that came to mind, given that earlier in the thread, someone had posited that lying to Butler (if, in fact, that's even what happened) was wrong. If we disagree that Belichick is acting immorally, then the rest of it is irrelevant.

I distinctly do not impute that motive to Belichick - exactly the opposite - I'm imputing the motive that he wants to do well at football and has identified this as a way of doing so. The point about it causing injury is that the rule change was explicitly put in place to increase touchbacks, so as to decrease injury across the league. I believe that Belichick was aware of this and decided that winning games was more important. I absolutely do not believe that he is doing this in order to cause injuries

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 9:24am

We are getting too far afield for this site, but briefly, I think it is dubious to make the implication that by the calculation you put forth, the institution of slavery, for example, may have been an entirely moral activity in the United States in 1860.

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:44am

You're absolutely right that we're getting very far afield, but I do feel obliged to point out your comment from post 98 (upthread) in which you argue that morality is indeed relative, and not absolute

"To be quite blunt, there are many, many, many circumstances where lying is either morally neutral, or morally required. "

So, which is it to be? Is morality absolute (owning slaves was wrong) or relative (there are many circumstances where lying is neutral or required)?

And, just to be clear, I do have my tongue firmly in cheek in asking this question :)

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:00am

I don't understand your definition of "absolute morality". To me, the term does not entail the provision that every single human behavior can be definitively,broadly, categorized as either immoral or moral. It means that reason can be employed to absolutely determine when some behaviors are definitively moral or immoral, regardless of what society as whole maintains. I thus can absolutely determine when lying is immoral, or morally required,, or morally neutral, and I can absolutely determine that slavery in the United States in 1860 was immoral, regardless of the fact that if a referendum had been held in that year, a majority of citizens may have chosen to continue to allow the practice to continue in the southern states.

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:13am

"I don't understand your definition of "absolute morality"" - here's a good overview - http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_moral_absolutism.html. Compare and contrast with moral relativism - http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_moral_relativism.html

There are of course flavours of this - by saying that you can determine when lying is immoral, moral or neutral, you meant that there is no absolute moral stance on the act of lying, but the morality is dependent on the consequences. This is termed consequentialism - the main opposition to this is Deontology, championed by Kant (actions are what matter, not what the outcome was).

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 1:51pm

The problem with Kant is that his categories of actions are rather too broad, which can result in such absurdities as saying the theft of a bottle of clean water, from an abandoned store, by a person dying of dehydration, in the wake of a tsunami, is the same as the theft of a bottle of water, by a man who has 10 dollars in his pocket that he is going to use to go to the movies later in the day. Of course intent and consequences matter, but that isn't nearly the same thing as saying that morality is merely the byproduct of the consensus of a society.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:49pm

" If the reports are true, Belichick had decided well before the game to bench Butler, but didn't tell him until game time."

That didn't happen.

Seriously, you're saying that somebody has a report about when Belichick made a decision in contrast to when he told anybody said decision. It's essentially impossible that anybody has that information.

by slomojoe :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:33pm

Even more so, I would bet a substantial amount of money that Belichick rarely (if ever at all) tells his players about active roster decisions until the time for making those decisions comes, unless it's strictly necessary, obvious or expedient. Most players will likely assume whether they are playing or not, or infer it from their role in practice, injuries to other players etc. But telling a healthy starter player days in advance "you will not play at all, for X reason" would mostly be nuts. What if Rowe and Bademosi had gotten injured in practice? What if Butler decided to slack it off, and then was needed? What about the distraction that the decision would have caused in the locker room for days, right before the biggest game of the season? Seriously...

Tactically, benching Butler may well have costed the Pats the SB. Strategically, it may have been an empty authoritarian move, even if it was meant to signify tough discipline, because it hurt all the other players as much as Butler. Plus, he would have left anyway, so he had no chance to do it again in the future (let alone if Belichick himself retires). Not sure how much it may have served as an example, either - would Belichick do it again, now that it is obvious it may have backfired? But telling Butler right before the game was the only logical thing to do.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:51pm

Hard to believe that you're trying to delineate the parameters of the acceptability of whether a pejorative should be applied, as if that were some kind of objective issue.

by David :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 7:11am

Ah, no, I did say that "Ignoring concepts of intrinsic values" and "I subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as absolute morality" - it's completely a subjective issue, I'm just trying to establish clearly what my subjective view is. If you disagree, that's absolutely fine - then Belichick isn't a dick, and has never done anything dickish in pursuit of excellence in football, and he's an admirable person.

We are in absolute agreement that there is no objective measure for whether that pejorative can be applied. Also, I agree that the word is a pejorative, which is unintentional in my part, I'm simply using the word that was in the original post I responded to. You can substitute a more neutral statement (moral, ethical)

But, and as stated a few times, if you don't think Belichick has ever done anything morally questionable, then substitute a different example which, subjectively, you think was a bit dickish (unless, as stated before, in all your years of watching football you've never seen anything you thought was a bit dodgy). Now, is it okay to stretch or break the rules of morality in pursuit of excellence on the football field? If so, why? How much? If not, why not?

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:06am

If you tell would be subordinates that you will be taking a position as their leader, but there are rules in place that prevent you from signing your contract for a few days, and those would be subordinates take themselves out of the job market, sign contracts, based upon your word, and then you back out, you are a really, really, really, crappy leader, that no reasonable human being should ever trust. Who knows? Maybe he told those guys that until he signs, the decision isn't final, but I doubt it.

by MJK :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:42am


by rj1 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 8:35am

"Those are the same Colts who participated in the greatest fraud in the history of the NFL to victimize the Patriots."

Not even close.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:04pm

lol, yeah, here we go again.

But... it does make me wonder. What if McDaniels felt the same way RickD does about the Colts? He might have planned this whole thing as payback...

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:02pm

In the annals of frauds, what's the competition for the league office lying to the public and the courts for well over a year just to impose a penalty that the Patriots didn't deserve?

Do I have to dig through the reports about how Goodell lied about the nature of Tom Brady's testimony under oath in his statement justifying the penalty? He thought the testimony would remain sealed but was exposed when Judge Berman unsealed it.

It's just the tip of the iceberg.

That Pats could have used that stolen first round pick on defense this Sunday.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:00pm

I still maintain that the penalty imposed on the Patriots was eminently reasonable, purely on the basis of Kraft not being 100% cooperative with his partners, on something so minor as several interviews with a low level employee. This has nothing to do with whatever Goodell said or did not say, however.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:31pm

It's only now that you consider a disingenuous, underhanded, although legally-feasible move for personal advantage to be beyond the pale?

How rich.

by MJK :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 9:38am

I wrote a long post explaining why I thought benching Butler was a dick move, but deleted because it was a bit hostile to RickD and I didn’t want to be arracking other posters here. But here’s the gist.

We don’t know why Butler was benched. But there’s only a few possible explanations:
1 it was disciplinary for some egregious transgression that has yet to emerge, despite all reports currently to the contrary (including statements from both Butler and Belichick)
2 it was a terrible decision from one of the best coaching minds ever, who uncharacteristically doubled down on it even when it was obviously not working, in the biggest game of the year.
3 it was a terrible decision but Patricia, and Belichick let him run with it
4 It was an attempt to depress Butler’s value in a contract year, either as retribution for the contract dispute that has been ongoing with him, or to lower his value an make him easier to resign in FA (likely failing on that on two fronts)
5 He really was too sick to play, or had been too sick for meaningful practice, in which case Belichick blatantly lied on the injury report to get an edge.

1 and 2 are very unlikely. 3,4, and 5, especially 4, are “dick moves” that have nothing to do with maximizing excellence on the football field. 3 is allowing your DC to do something you know is a bad idea, short changing all the hard work the other hundred odd players and coaches etc have put in. 5 is the most defensible, but is still a violation of NFL rules. And 4 is downright despicable.

Benching Butler for matchup reasons could have been an actual mistake...a dumb one, but a mistake. Keeping him benched for “matchup reasons” as your defense historically imploded because your fourth and fifth string special teamer safeties couldn’t cover receivers would require a total moron. So, absent a severe transgression which everyone involved denies and which a very curious press has heard nothing about, Belichick was either a football idiot, or a jerk (for non football reasons). I generally try not to attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but in this case, stupidity is pretty unlikely.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:09am

Eh, if we don't know why Butler didn't play, then we don't know, and there is little to be gained from speculating about motivation.

by SandyRiver :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:04pm

#5, above: Butler showed up on the injury report as "limited (illness)" for the Wednesday, Jan 31 practice, so the league, Vegas, and the Eagles at least were given a clue about his status.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:10pm

You've failed to enumerate all the possibilities.

If Butler was in the midst of an emotional collapse (and there certainly is evidence to support such a belief), there's no reason the demand that Belichick put it on the injury report. Such an argument is ridiculous.

The presumption you are making is that Butler was capable of playing on Sunday at the level we've come to expect from him over the years. Bill Belichick, the greatest appraiser of football ability in the NFL this century, and the person who actually runs the practices, disagreed with that.

You think he must be lying and he's a dick.

The fact that you think by listing 5 possibilities you've somehow encapsulated all the possibilities shows the problem with speculative thinking. You'd be better off just admitting that these arguments are little more than speculation and that none of us is really in a position to judge why the benching happened.

But usually, when a player is benched by a coach in the NFL, the default assumption is that it is a result of how the player is playing. When both the coach and the player state that is the reason, it really becomes ridiculous to conjure up other motives based on negative personality traits that you attribute to the coach.

by ChrisS :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:15pm

5 makes sense. It jibes with not playing Butler even as your secondary was being torched and it helps explain the non-explanation explanation since admitting a blatant violation of the injury report rules might actually result in a (small) penalty, It can even be interpreted as BB doing something nice for Butler by dressing him, since if the Pats won Butler would be able to fully participate in the post-game celebration.

by dcl0 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:05pm

I think B.B. held Butler out for some undefined reason (probably disciplinary) that B.B. thought would help the Patriots over the long term. The replacements played so badly that if it were simply a performance issue, they would have at least tried Butler on the field.

Holding Butler out probably had a material contribution to the SB loss. B.B. might feel that was worth it because his made point would help with discipline in the future. Others probably had different viewpoints, maybe including most of the players and the Krafts. I could imagine that they were furious - it’s not easy to get to the Super Bowl and to let one go on purpose could very well be unforgivable.

If the relationship of the Krafts and B.B. was seriously damaged, the Krafts would then make every effort to hold on to McDaniels as a possible successor, either soon or at the end of next year (unless B.B. wins the next Super Bowl).

So, it seems to me that the two strange decisions are related.

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 7:09pm

I don't see any way holding Butler out of the game for disciplinary reasons helps the Patriots either in the short or the long term, especially considering that Butler is a free agent and unlikely to be resigned by the Patriots. This is not youth sports. Belichick's job is not to develop Butler's character or demonstrate some moral lesson to the other players on that roster. His job is to do his best to win the Super Bowl. I acknowledge that it's impossible to be certain without all of the details, but based on what's publicly known it does not seem that he did that.

That puzzles me because for whatever faults he has, Belichick has shown himself to be a pretty dispassionate guy who is focused on winning. I find it difficult to believe that he made some personal stand over keeping Butler out if he could have helped them perform better on defense. But then, I also find it difficult to believe, based on Butler being healthy enough to dress and play special teams, and the abysmal performance of his backup, that Belichick truly thought it was in the best interest of trying to win the game to keep Butler out in the second half.

If, as some Belichick supporters are insinuating, whatever happened with Butler was serious enough that he could not be trusted to play, then why not declare him inactive and dress someone else in his place? What would have happened if multiple other corners were knocked out of the game?

by MC2 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:56pm

I'm also baffled by it. As you say, if Butler's health (either mental or physical) was such that Belichick felt he couldn't trust him, why was he active? And even if the decision was based on something that happened after the inactive list had been released, why allow him to play special teams (especially given the importance we know Belichick places on special teams)?

The only possibility I can imagine that makes any logical sense at all is that Butler did something that upset Belichick so much that he felt a need to publicly humiliate Butler on the game's biggest stage.

Admittedly, that hypothesis doesn't make much sense, but all of the other theories I have heard to explain the move make even less sense.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:02am

He was active because if one of the other corners had gotten hurt, NE would have had no one to put out there. Presumably Belichick felt an untrustworthy Butler would still be better than, say, Danny Amendola or the corpse of Troy Brown at corner.

by MC2 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:06am

So, if Butler was only available to play defense in case of emergency, why play him on special teams?

by dcl0 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:03am

Well, I’m not sure why B.B. did it, but his failure to play Butler at all clearly indicates some sort of grudge/prinicpled stance. The guy played more snaps than any other defensive player and suddenly he’s not good enough to play even one in the biggest game of the year. Maybe it’s some sort of Jamie Collins thing. I think B.B. was willing to lose the Super Bowl rather than play someone who might have helped because of some discipline/ego thing. Over the long run, that sort of stance might work for the betterment of the team. In this particular case, I think the sentiment that “in the long run we are all dead” is appropriate.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:36am

lol, yeah, I agree with everything you said.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 5:36am

Even the "clearly" part? Come on. NOTHING about this situation is clear.

by Scott P. :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:47pm

I was already a Niners fan before I became a Patriots fan, so best of both worlds.

by jtr :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 9:30am

I'm kind of thinking it's the Belichick retirement situation, with the possibility that some bad Luck news pushed McDaniels' decision over the edge. Now that Belichick's Brady succession plan is scrapped, he probably wants to retire before Brady declines too much to keep them as perpetual Super Bowl favorites. And while I think it's probably too early for McDaniels to really have the inside scoop on Luck, I can totally see Irsay casually saying something to McDaniels like "by the way, I'd love to hear your opinions on this quarterback draft class."

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:57am

j,. mcdaniels little bti of a weirdo

by jmaron :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:43pm

Man Tom Brady made a lot of coaching careers,

Head Coaching records for Belichick without Brady and NE coaches moving on to Head Coach roles

Belichick without Brady as QB 54-63
McDaniels 11-17
Crennel 28-55
Mangini 33-47
O’Brien 31-33

So that’s 157-215 for these guys as Head Coaches when they didn’t have Tom Brady as their QB.

by billprudden :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:46pm

"Belichick without Brady as QB 54-63"

Man, does that make Gibbs' 3x SBs with three (very) different QBs look good.

by Scott P. :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:50pm

Yes, but 36 of those wins came with the Browns, and a win with the Browns is like 3 wins with any other team.

by jmaron :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:22pm

The Browns were 44-34-1 in the five years prior to Belichick taking over. That's back when the Browns were pretty good.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:28pm

The numbers are also slanted, as Belichick had the Browns trending upwards, and then they announced the move to Baltimore. They were 11-5 the season before that and appeared to be trending upwards, and then the next season just imploded when the move was announced.

by Independent George :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 2:04am

Good grief is there any clearer evidence that you're cherry-picking your numbers to try to defend a stupid argument? The Browns were 3-13 in the year before Belichick arrived. The only reason to take the previous five years is to deliberately and artificially pump up the record to make it look like Belichick did worse than he did.

1995: 5-11 (Belichick)
1994: 11-5 (Belichick)
1993: 7-9 (Belichick)
1992: 7-9 (Belichick)
1991: 6-10 (Belichick)
1990: 3-13 (Carson/Shofner)
1989: 9-6-1 (Carson)
1988: 10-6 (Schottenheimer)
1987: 10-5 (Schottenheimer)
1986: 12-4 (Schottenheimer)

That's not a great record in Cleveland, but it is a gradual improvement over time before the wheels came off in '95, when the move was announced.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 6:21am

I was going to post essentially the same thing, but you beat me to it. By the time Belichick was hired, the good players that formed the core of the late those good 1980’s Browns teams were either traded, retired, or washed up (especially Kosar). They didn’t go 3-13 in 1990 by accident. And as RaiderJoe insinuated in his post below, it took a lot of balls for Belichick to cut Kosar (I remember him taking a ton of heat from the media/fans about it at the time), and give Vinny Testaverde a chance to resurrect his career (which he did).

by Jerry :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 9:50am

I'm sorry. The greatest coach of all time doesn't go 36-44 in his five years in Cleveland. (Those good years beforehand tell you that the Browns' organization was capable of competence then, unlike today.)

By comparison, the worst five-year stretch for Don Shula was 42-37.

by theslothook :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:50am

so are you saying Vince Lombardi (or whoever you think is the GOAT, Shula I guess) would have been able to have a winning record with the current Browns incarnation?

by Jerry :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 4:37am

Maybe Rob Chudzinski is actually the GOAT, but the dysfunction in the front office didn't give him a chance to show it. ;)

Lombardi took over a Packer team that had reached .500 twice in the previous eleven years. He was 7-5 his first year, and things got better from there.

Belichick will, deservedly, go into the Hall of Fame for what he did with Brady in New England. What he did in Cleveland, though, was nothing special.

by SandyRiver :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 4:30pm

Belichick inherited a disorganized 3-13 team, spent 3 years lifting it from dumpster fire to mediocrity, then made the PS (and got a win over the Parcell Pats.) After which Modell ripped the heart out of the team. And I suppose BB learned some things at CLE that helped improve his serve at NWE.

by jmaron :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 9:23pm

Well Mr Independent,

What you posted here doesn't convince me that my argument is wrong. You say he took over a 3-13 team, but lots of coaches take over organizations with multiple losing seasons and put up far better records over 5 years than Belichick. Further to that 3-13 year, FO estimated wins for the 90s Browns was 4.8, so he probably wasn't really taking over a 3 win team was he?

In Belichick's first 18 games in NE he had a 5-13 record with Bledsoe (NE was 8-8 the year before he arrived). So at that point in his coaching career he was 41-57, 6 years plus 2 games and just one winning year. Then Brady gets to play, not because Belichick figured out that Brady was better, Bledsoe got hurt, so you can't even credit Belichick with making a brilliant coaching decision to bench Bledsoe for Brady.

My take on Belichick is he's a much better GM than coach. I think his moving players out for picks as they age along with trading current picks for better picks the following year helps keep the talent refreshed and maybe those skills have assisted in winning more Super Bowls than Brady would have with just an avg coach/gm. Having said that, in the only year he didn't have Brady he missed the playoffs and the team DVOA fell from a record 52.9 (43.5% off) to 13.1% (12.5% off). So he clearly managed to put some talent around Brady, but not enough to be better than 9th in DVOA with Brady gone.

I could even argue that Brady has made Belichick's GM job much easier by taking less than market salaries. Heck, how much credit does Bob Kraft deserve for making Belichick's job easier? So hard to know.

What seems obvious to me is that Brady is by far the biggest reason for NE's incredible run, and that there isn't much evidence that it's had much to do with Belichick.

Last thought, calling a person's argument stupid, is about the worst possible way of convincing them of the merits of your argument.

by theslothook :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:58am

I think it's very difficult to argue if Brady or Belichick is more responsible for the Patriots success. But there are so many advantages that the Patriots have had and have overcome that I think it's pretty naive to assume that it's mostly the contributions of one over the other

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:30pm

Those wins were with the Ravens.

by Chuckc :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:31pm

For Belichick at least, those wins were with the old Browns (now Ravens), not the new Factory of Sadness Browns. I don't count those as the same teams

by Scott P. :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:16pm

Ask Joe Posnanski about that.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:13pm


Those were original Bropwns who turned into Ravemns. Good franchse, won a lot although last title in celve was 1964. went to afc title game thrre times 1986, 1987, 1989. Belichick took over team after b. carson ran it into ground after good first season as heaf coach. then team got old in bunch of spots. then Belichick took over. had to rebuild. got rid of B. Kosar who was startignt ot really stink. Couldn't bel.ieve at time Browns fans were so upset. pretty obvious to me that Kosar needed to be put out to pasture. thought/knew Belichick was correct with that. tgen team went 11-5 in 1994. tema moving on up to the east side. then a. modell decide to move team for sure. then 1995 season ruined as result. then that was tik. belichick didn't make move to Baltimore with team and instead went to Pates to be assiitant coach for obne season before goong to Jets.

As folr new Browns, total clown show. Not technically same franchise although league ghistory books wants to say it is

by aces4me :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:25pm

Well, technically they were with the Ravens.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:15pm

Bill Walsh always said Gibbs' accomplishments were the most impressive, for this reason.

by DavidL :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:20pm

It also makes it that much more impressive to get the 1 seed with a mobile, improv-specialist QB, and then win the Super Bowl with a pocket passer.

by MC2 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:04am

Yeah, it's for this reason that I don't think you can simultaneously argue that Brady is the greatest QB of all time, and Belichick is the greatest coach of all time. You can argue one or the other, but not both. If Brady really is the GOAT, then it's awfully hard to claim that Belichick winning 5 SBs, all with the GOAT QB, is more impressive than Gibbs winning 3 SBs, with 3 different QBs, none of whom are even in the top 50 QBs of all time. The only way to make a persuasive argument for Belichick over Gibbs is to simultaneously argue that Brady is massively overrated.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:47am

I'm OK with that last argument. Quite persuasive to me ;)

by PatsFan :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:57am

Gibbs coached in the pre-cap, pre-real-free-agency era. He could basically hold on to any player he wanted for as long as he wanted so long as he could convince the owner to write the check. There's a whole bunch of roster management and decisions that coaches and execs have to make/deal with now that he never had to.

by MC2 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 2:09am

I think that's more of an argument for Belichick the GM than for Belichick the coach. Look at 2007. Belichick the GM put together a great roster, and Belichick the coach went 16-0 with that roster. Then, in 2008, Belichick the coach had almost the exact same roster, except no Brady, and he won 5 fewer games. I think that speaks to the tremendous importance of Tom Brady to Belichick's success as a coach.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:02am

I never fully understand this argument. This applied to every team in Gibbs day. Yes, the Redskins could easily hold onto their players in a way modern teams can't. So could the 49ers, Giants, Bears, Eagles, Rams, etc.

This wasn't a unique situation. I guess you could say that big-market teams had it better, but modern day baseball has shown that market size only loosely correlates to success even in an uncapped sport.

Gibbs won a lot in the rules of his day. Belichick won even more in the rules of his day with superior QB play in an era where that position became increasingly important.

Personally, I think BB is the best coach that I've ever seen (started watching football religously around 1999), but I really can't say if he's better than Gibbs/Walsh/Shula, and when you go back to guys like Paul Brown, who literally invented 40% of the stuff in the modern NFL, it becomes almost impossible.

by BJR :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 5:47am

Gibbs had a very rich (although all accounts very demanding) owner who spared little expense on his team. This clearly put him at an advantage over many head coaches in the league at that time. The '3 Super Bowls with 3 different QBs' story is well known, but he did enjoy personnel consistency in other parts of his team that would be unheard of today (most notably along the O-line).

That's not to take away from Gibbs; winning three championships in ten years is a phenomenal achievement, and would be frankly impossible in any era without a 'good' ownership situation. From what I have seen and read of his coaching, his biggest strength was a willingness and ability to adjust and adapt according to the particular strengths of his personnel (although it always started with protecting the QB), and that is really just the basic tenet of good football coaching, and no different to Belichick and some of the other great coaches.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 8:46am

Exactly, on both counts. The OL thing in particular was what I was thinking of. When you can keep a superior O-line together like that it makes it considerably easier to get it done with different QBs.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 9:49am

I think both Gibbs and Belichik have a stone tablet, upon which is engraved "I. Thine quarterback shall be made to feel comfortable in thine pocket, forever and ever, Amen."

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:40am

How did a rich owner help in a an era of no free agency?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 2:04pm

Some owners were willing to stockpile depth at considerable costs, avoiding holdouts and locker room dissension. Because of the lack of free agency, holding out was a much more viable option, because the much smaller salaries, with no years of service standard for free agency, meant that the player holding out wasn't sacrificing as much. Teams like Gibbs' or Walsh's benefitted a lot from owners who were willing to write checks. Teams like the Vikings had mostly good coaching and scouting, but had ownership that was always trying to depress salaries as much as possible. It resulted in things like the Vikings trading a borderline HOF guard like Ed White, continually pissed off about his salary, for a slightly above average running back, like Ricky Young.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 5:58pm

There's also another factor that you could hold onto an expensive veteran whereas today you'd be more likely to give up his experience for a cheaper rookie.

I can't think of a good example but the time of that 3rd SB win for the Redskins - that o-line of Grimm, Jacoby, Bostic were all in their 11th/12th seasons.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 5:50pm

The Hugh Culverhouse Bucs who were monumentally rubbish from 70s - 90s were a prime example of what happens if you try to run a team on the cheap.


His attitude meant that they lost Doug Williams who'd led them to the 1979 NFC Championship game.


I'm sure I read stories about how the Bucs players were charged for drinks from the dispensing machines and they didn't even have a cafeteria to eat in so had to go to a local restaurant to get lunch between practices and would turn up in their cleats and taping to eat.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 8:29am

I take the same view regarding the numbers of 60s Packers (and Celtics) in the Halls of Fame.

They couldn't all have been Hall guys.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 5:53am

Agreed, they're inducting 1970s Steelers #2-3 WRs nowadays. Nostalgia is a terrible drug.

by MJK :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 6:43pm

I never thought this argument made much sense. It's like saying that you can't simultaneously say that the Mona Lisa is a great painting and Leonardo da Vinci is a great painter.

A coaches job is to coach--i.e. to coach a player as to how to improve, to coach that player's teammates as to how to help him succeed, and to design a scheme which will highlight his strengths and cover his weaknesses. If he does that really, really well, and if the raw material he's working from has a high enough ceiling, that player will become really great.

If you think Brady is the GOAT, isn't the fact that Belichick took a scrawny, weak-armed sixth-round draft pick who couldn't even beat out Drew Henson for a starting job and turned him into the GOAT rather telling as to Belichick's skill as a coach? Shouldn't Brady's success be a testament to Belichick's coaching skill rather than a knock on it?

The idea that a QB being good somehow diminishes a coach's skill (or vice versa) supposes that great QB's fall from the sky with all their greatness intact and is independent of the coach they play for. What if Brady has been drafted by the Niners instead of Tim Rattay and had to endure a decade of incompetence and changing coaches? What if Belichick left after the 2005 season and Jeff Fisher had taken over the Pats? Do you think Brady still would have done what he's done and be considered the GOAT?

The problem is people think being a great offense is an OR function--you need a great coach OR a great QB. I think being a *good* offense can be an OR function--a fantastic coach can scheme to make a mediocre QB look good, and a transcendent QB can overcome a lot of coaching flaws. But I think that being a *great* offense is an AND function--you need a great coach AND a great QB.

by theslothook :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 9:19pm

Brady is a complicated example.

Lets instead think of players like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre etc etc. These are players with pedigrees coming into the nfl.

Were these players lumps of clay that were molded by their coaches? Possibly and I've gone back and forth with Will on this. Perhaps if Manning had been coached by Rich Kottite, he would have developed some bad habits and never become the player he is.

That said - I don't think anyone is giving Jim Mora credit for Peyton Manning. I don't think anyone is giving Mike McCarthy credit for molding Aaron Rodgers.

What to make of this? I tend to take the view that talent that comes to a team is less of a lump of clay and much closer to a finish product. It is up to the coach to coax good behavior and utilize the player properly.

Ne is a tougher case because they've had success without Brady in a way that few teams have. When Steve young was injured, the niners fell apart. When aaron Rodgers got hurt, the packers took a massive step back. We all know what happened to the Colts without Manning(or Luck).

NE is far less dynamic without Brady(duh), but they don't fall to pieces. In fact, they are still good. The closest facsimile appears to be the old Denver Broncos run games. They could make effective rushers out of anyone, but put a player like TD back there and its a supercharged engine. So in this very specific case, I agree - its a both. But in general, I do think its an either or situation.

by jmaron :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 9:38pm

"NE is far less dynamic without Brady(duh), but they don't fall to pieces."

It's true they weren't horrible with Brady injured. Cassell put up an 11-5 record, and Garappolo and Brissett were 3-1, but you can't dismiss the 5-13 with Beldsoe. Bledsoe played 5 more years after his injury in NE ended his career there and he put up a 35-35 record with Buff and Dall. So it's not like Bledsoe was garbage when Belichick had him. He was 28 years old and to that point in his career had a 58-47 record.

Also the drop off in NE off from 2007 to 2008 when Brady got hurt was 43.5% to 12.5%, that 31%, that's kind of falling apart, it's just they were so ridiculously good with Brady and Moss on the same team that falling apart was relative.

by theslothook :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:55am

There's more to 2008 than just the raw season totals. By the second half of 2008, the Patriots had a better passing dvoa then the 2007 Patriots had. A closer look at the second half splits would show that Cassel was starting to throw more as well, a sign they were trusting him more.

I'm not sure we'll ever see a backup whose last start came out of high school replicate that stretch again. It certainly lend credence to the fact that the offense was able to get quite a bit out of its passing game with a player that most of us would accept is no better than below-average at best with a few years of experience

by MC2 :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:58am

Yeah, I've always thought Belichick gets way too much of a pass for 2008. They had, aside from Brady, virtually the exact same roster as in 2007, and according to FO's numbers, they played a much easier schedule in '08 than in '07. Yet they won 5(!!!) fewer games. I'm guessing that if they had gone from 12-4 to 7-9, or even from 14-2 to 9-7, that no one would be talking about what a "great coaching job" Belichick did.

by dryheat :: Sun, 02/11/2018 - 10:02am

When Belichick took over, the Patriots had Bledsoe, a pro-bowl QB on the downslope, yet the highest-paid QB in the NFL, and 52 below average guys at their positions. Maybe a slight exaggeration -- Bruce Armstrong may still have been above average, Ty Law was there, but very young, and Willie McGinest was there, but always hurt. They had a bunch of mediocre linemen on terrible contracts.

Remember Belichick signed something like 29 free agents that offseason, and probably half went right into starting roles -- and we're talking about guys like Mike Compton, Marc Edwards, Otis Smith, Roman Phifer, Terrell Buckley, Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, Antowain Smith -- not exactly a cast of wanted guys. Even Mike Vrabel was mostly a nobody then. David Patten had been out of the league for two years. And he pulled Richard Seymour, Matt Light, and other instant contributors out of the draft. On a scale from 1-10, Belichick inherited about a 2 in terms of teams set up for long-term success. He turned over half the roster, brought it to about a 5, and caught lightning in a bottle to win the first Super Bowl. Those early NE years was about as good as a coaching job as you'll see.

by MC2 :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 5:53am

If you think Brady is the GOAT, isn't the fact that Belichick took a scrawny, weak-armed sixth-round draft pick who couldn't even beat out Drew Henson for a starting job and turned him into the GOAT rather telling as to Belichick's skill as a coach? Shouldn't Brady's success be a testament to Belichick's coaching skill rather than a knock on it?

Well, that's one possible explanation, but it's certainly not the only one. It could also be that Brady's low draft position was the result of how ridiculously difficult it is to evaluate prospects at that position. Given the number of first round busts (Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, JaMarcus Russell, and numerous others) at that position, I'd say that explanation strikes me as more plausible. That would mean that Belichick's success is due, in no small part (though obviously not entirely), to the sheer good fortune of stumbling upon a first ballot HOFer at by far the most important position in the modern game.

Now, this is not to say that Belichick's coaching hasn't had something to do with how good Brady has become. I'm sure it has had quite a bit to do with it. But I don't believe that, to use your example, Belichick could have turned Tim Rattay into a HOF QB. I'm a firm believer that you just can't polish a turd. And I think that Belichick himself would agree, given that Brady is the one player that he has steadfastly refused to jettison. Surely, he wouldn't be paying a 40-year-old QB so much money if he thought it would be possible to effectively replace him with someone much younger and/or much cheaper.

To be clear, I do think Belichick is a great coach, and I think there's a decent chance that even if he had never stumbled upon Brady, he could have taken a pretty good QB (by which I mean someone with a similar amount of talent as, say, Donovan McNabb, or Boomer Esiason, or Mark Brunell) and won 2 or 3 Super Bowls with them. But, in my opinion, he never could have achieved as much with any of those guys as he has with Brady. And besides, all those guys were significantly better than any of Gibbs' Super Bowl QBs were, so even if Belichick had won one Super Bowl with each of those guys, I would still give the edge to Gibbs.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:10am

It's kind of interesting that both Brady and Manning walked into NFL teams with similar styles to their college teams. They didn't really have to learn a new offensive style.

Brees was similarly blessed.

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:15am

Obviously they got somewhat lucky that they uncovered a GOAT-capable QB in the 6th round, but Tom Brady was nowhere near TOM EFFING BRADY in the 2001-2004 portion of the dynasty. That was clearly Belichick's magic. Compared to later years where it shifted more to Brady (though coaching has a huge bit to do with it, particularly their scheme that gets the first read pen so often).

You could've plugged in probabl 8-10 QBs into the 2001-2004 Pats and they win two Super Bowls. Maybe in '04 Brady had turned himself to an equal contributor.

We'll never really know. It is easy to point to the Cleveland years to ding BB, but he also has gone 11-5 and then 3-1 in 2008 and 2016 without Brady.

by SandyRiver :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 4:36pm

IMO, the big change was in 2007, when the Moss acquisition lifted the WR corps out of Smurfville. Brady finally had a true deep threat (and perhaps the best jump-ball WR ever) and that opened up the whole field. In 9 of the 10 Brady years 2007 onward, his rating (not that valid but convenient) was better than anything he did 2001-06. His TD/INT ratio climbed from 1.9 to 4.1, and every other positive stat was raised considerably. Even when he no longer had anyone like Moss (though gaining Gronk) the lessons remained.

by MJK :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:38pm

Yes, I agree. That is what I meant by my "OR" and "AND" comment. (Sorry for the programming reference to non-programmers/math folks out there).

A great coach withe a good QB will be good. A great QB (who somehow must have become great under a previous coach) will carry a decent but not great coach and be good. But when an offense is truly great, it requires that both the coach and the QB be great.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:54pm

In 1999, Jeff Fisher, Steve McNair, and Neil O'Donnell finished 3rd in offensive DVOA.


by dank067 :: Sat, 02/10/2018 - 5:02pm

Here I am trying to remember that team and wondering, besides having Eddie George in his prime, whether they might have had an up-and-coming offensive mind helping lead that offense to success.

Not exactly! The immortal Les Steckel was their offensive coordinator.

by MJK :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 7:05pm

No time to do the analysis now, but I suspect

[Any coach] without [said coach's best QB]

would in most cases have a pretty poor record. It's basic statistics--if you cherry pick out only games without the coach's best player, you're probably going to end up with a poor record.

A couple of coaches, like Gibbs and Parcells, might not take too much of a hit because they succeeded in multiple locations.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:24pm

I think there's a Jim Irsay effect here which means McDaniels may not be utterly toxic to every team in the future; Irsay is erratic enough where McDaniels can just mention to people weird stories and how they scared him away in the end, and it cleans up his image. There are a lot of owners I find unpleasant or gross in various ways, but Irsay is erratic as hell, and I think it's easy to market yourself in the future by just tossing out a few stories.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 1:50pm

Well, Ballard has come out and said that there was a verbal agreement, and I tend to believe him more than Irsay or the media.

From Mike Reiss just now:

Another part of the Patriots' sales pitch that swayed McDaniels, per sources, was a long-term contractual commitment that would give McDaniels' four children, who are ages 12, 10, 6 and 3, the chance to stay in the same school system for an extended period of time.

I hate the ubiquitous "sources", but if this is true, it seems like a decent reason to change one's mind.

by sbond101 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 2:55pm

That makes a lot of sense. A long term contract makes sense for the Pats & McDaniels, and might be competitive financially with whatever the colts offered. By the same token it Puts McDaniels in the position of having a long time for the stink to wash off before he has to look for another job.

Walking away from a verbal agreement because of a change in the available opportunities is a bit of a slimy thing to do (in my view); but it's something that happens with some regularity in competitive employment markets. It looks bad on McDaniels, but its only one of a long list nasty things that go on in negotiations like this, and might have gone on here without the public ever knowing.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:28pm

The only real objection I have to a guy changing his mind on where to raise his children is if he got other people to sign contracts, and thus commit to where they would raise their children, based upon the guy's verbal commitment.

by nat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:30pm

The only reason this is even an issue is that the Colts made a big announcement prematurely. It would have cost them nothing to wait until McDaniels actually reviewed and signed the contract... a couple days to a week for his legal advisors to review things. Or, in this case, for him to decide "no" after deeper consideration and a discussion with his family and other advisors.

It makes you wonder why they announced early. Was there some special media window they were eager to hit? Or was it to put pressure on McDaniels to sign without adjusting any of the detailed terms and conditions? Was it to keep Luck's condition from being a factor? Was there another reason? Because there had to be a reason to jump the gun so publicly.

If someone shouts "Buy before midnight tonight!" not buying is almost always the right decision. Same goes for deals that are announced before they are signed.

This is much more about poor business practices by the Colts than it is about McDaniels changing his mind. People change their mind about contracts before they sign all the time. That's why contracts have signature lines.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 3:41pm

I'm sorry, it is more on McDaniels than you make it out to be.

He was on the phone with assistant coaches telling them to come to Indy the same day he backs out.

There's a number of assistants who either thought they were on the way, or had already signed.

The reaction around the NFL seems to be way more anti-McDaniels, including his agent quickly firing him and distancing himself.

I'll be shocked if he's a head coach ever again for any team that is not the Patriots, unless he does so well there he builds his reputation back up.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:23pm

His agent firing him is interesting. I wonder if the agent accepted the job on Josh's behalf, without his (McD's) direction, and is trying to save face.

Note that I'm not at all suggesting McDaniels is blameless in this. I do wonder if he plans on giving a statement. Even if he does, I'm sure he won't answer and probing questions with anything more than "personal decision", if even that much.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:28pm

McDaniels recruiting assistants, and encouraging them to sign contracts with the Colts, suggests the agent was acting with McDaniels' full participation.

by jtr :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:40pm

Agreed. The agent is definitely right to fire McDaniels here; it looks terrible on the agent to have a deal in place only for his client to back out at the last minute. It makes it look like McDaniels and the agent were working with the Colts in bad faith. The agent has to signal to the rest of the NFL that he expects his clients to follow through on their promises if he's going to have any shot in future negotiations.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:48pm

I wonder if he wouldn't fired him if he wasn't also Ballard's agent.

by jtr :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 6:07pm

He 100% HAD to ditch McDaniels based on McDaniels double crossing the Colts. The agent's job is to negotiate agreements with football teams. His ability to do that is dependent on those teams believing that his client will follow through on their own side of the agreement. The agent has to show that his clients will do what they say they will do, or he has no credibility.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 6:50pm

He's apparently one of the premier agents for coaches/executives, so again probably not a good bridge to burn, and someone who when they tell you that 'you might be making the biggest mistake of your professional career' you better be sure you're making the right decision to ignore.

by dryheat :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:46pm

I have no knowledge of the conversations between McDaniels and the other coaches. I agree with your post somewhere up thread, that it is some degree of reprehensible if he told the coaches that he was 100%, or near 100% going to take the Colts' job, and the signature was a mere formality at that point.

I'm sure that if the Coaches in question wanted, the Colts would release them from their contracts. I don't know if the jobs they left behind have been filled yet, but I don't know why they'd want to. If a guy like DeFilippo or Reich gets the HC job, would they suddenly not be interested any more? I don't think these guys joined the Colts due to McD's personality. If anything, he did them a favor (which doesn't excuse the means).

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:08pm

I can't imagine an assistant coach would sign a contract with the Colts, unless McDaniels encouraged him to do so, and told the assistant that he was 100% certain to sign after the Super Bowl.

I'm thus about 99.99% sure that McDaniels has been a creep in this matter.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:08pm

If McDaniels was encouraging assistants to sign contracts with the Colts, and he told those assistants that he was 100% committed to signing his contract after the Super Bowl, there's just no excuse for that.

by perly :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:41pm

I don't think it needs to be that nefarious. The Colts have the only head coaching vacancy left in the league, and they have it because they were waiting on McDaniels. Patricia had announced his departure, McDaniels hadn't, and PFT was reporting before the Super Bowl that McDaniels was no longer 100%.

I don't think it's a huge assumption that the Colts tried to get McDaniels to sign before making the announcement, and only did so when he demurred. It's not pretty, but it's not like they could afford to let this play out much longer.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:16pm

Couple of things here from a Jets fan. 1) Belichick wasn't being a dick by benching Butler, he must have had a reason for it. 2) Belichick isn't being a jerk by kicking off to the 1 yard line, he's making the best coaching decision for his team in that situation. It's not like he's part of Jeff Fisher's coaching tree and has players continually cheap shot opponents. When Gronk went WWE on TreDavious White, Belichick kept him on the sideline for the next series. Belichick has a record on of not being ok with stupid dangerous play from his team. 3) What McDaniels did here was worse than what Belichick did when he resigned from the Jets. Belichick had no idea who the next owner of the Jets would be; he had a handshake agreement with Parcells, Gutman and Leon Hess, and Hess had passed away, so everything was different then. He also didn't hurt the careers of any assistant coaches in that situation. 4) the McDaniels situation smells like Kraft trying to repeat what happened in 2000; he keeps an up and coming assistant coach to be a head coach and then wins a bunch of games and championships. My new mantra for the next few years comes from cranky old Luke Skywalker: "This is not going to go the way you think." I don't think this is going to work out for the Patriots for several reasons, the main one being that McDaniels isn't a great coach. 5). Will any other team try to hire from the Patriots organization after this? If not, why would any decent assistant coach go there?

by anotherpatsfan :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:46pm


Equal parts creepy and funny - McDaniels is back because BB said "I am going to open my world to you..." (full quote or paraphrase of discussion:"I want you to be by my side. I am going to open my world to you. Show you how I view roster building, how I look at financials and the salary cap.)" The Force must be strong in McDaniels.

Without regard to whether BB is kind of a dick, I believe (and this is now one of the data points) that he is a bit of a freak. Glad the Pats have him but he is an odd duck.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 5:51pm

Somewhere, Admiral Carroll shouts, "It's a trap!".

by GlennW :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 6:16pm

These quotes are not from Belichick but Mike Reiss' description of what *might* have happened, of course. Which may be more telling of Reiss' personal fantasies than McDaniels', which in itself would be odd given how dismissive Belichick has been of Reiss of late (I'd call that behavior "dickish" at the risk of opening back up that rathole).

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 7:16pm

Regarding the plight of the Colts assistants who signed contracts thinking that McDaniels would be the head coach, I agree that they are now in a situation that they did not anticipate and if they made that decision based on McDaniels being their boss, they got screwed a little. However, assistant coach contracts are guaranteed just like head coach contracts, right? So if they are let go either immediately or after one season by whoever the next Colts coach is, they still get paid. And unless their performance is truly atrocious, no one will blame them for being fired after a season since everyone in the league will know that the head coach did not hire them.

As for the question of who will take the Colts job now, there are only 32 head coaching jobs in the league. Someone who is considered a hotshot candidate probably will wait for another job in a year or two and the chance to pick their own assistants, but someone less revered would gladly take it even with the restrictions. Of course that's not a good thing for the Colts...

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/07/2018 - 7:23pm

The nomadic life of an NFL assistant coach is hard enough on families without an a-hole like McDaniels slathering on more uncertainty because he is only looking out for himself.

by DEW :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:50am

Really, it's hard on anybody, NFL assistant or not. These people have been approached, headhunted if you will, asked to take a job which was explained to them in a certain way, left their existing job, moved to a new city, possibly with their families, only to find that the job isn't as was promised to them. The fact that they'll still get their promised salary is good, but money is not the totality of why they took the job. And it could well end up being a wasted year in their future career paths.

If Schefter's source is right about this really being Kraft jumping in and outbidding Irsay in some kind of p***ing match over DeflateGate, this is an absolute dirt move.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 2:06pm

And since McDaniels is the guy who made assurances to assistants, it's all on him.

by Lebo :: Sun, 02/11/2018 - 6:48pm

Looks like Frank Reich is the new Colts headcoach.