Josh McDaniels decided at the last minute to stay with New England instead of taking the head coaching job in Indianapolis, and is getting heavily criticized for it. The 41-year-old offensive coordinator for the Patriots called Colts general manager Chris Ballard on Tuesday to say he had changed his mind about the job.
The team had announced on its Twitter page on Tuesday that they had hired McDaniels. They were planning a press conference on Wednesday. Instead Ballard had to face the media and tell them his new hire had changed his mind.
“We were disappointed, unquestionably we were disappointed and surprised,” he said. “We had agreed to contract terms, we had an agreement in place. We followed all the rules, did everything right. two interviews, both of them went very well.”
Struggling Colts vs. Successful Patriots
McDaniels was part of a team that had won five Super Bowls and was facing the prospect of going to an organization that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2015. For next season New England is a 5/1 favorite to win the Super Bowl while Indianapolis is 40-1.
When he went to the office of his soon to be ex-employer Coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft met with him. They apparently gave him some concessions that made it too tempting to leave. Ballard said he never asked why he was pulling out.
“I didn’t want the explanation,” he said. “Either you’re in or you’re out. “That’s his prerogative and that’s his choice. He chose not to be an Indianapolis Colt.”
Former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said that if McDaniels wasn’t promised to be the successor when Belichick retires he could have made a huge mistake.
“In 31 cities, I’d say the odds of them hiring him (as head coach) would be slim to none, he told Sirius/XM radio. “But in one city, he’s endeared himself. Let me be the first to lay a wager in Las Vegas that when Belichick leaves, Josh McDaniels is the next head coach in New England. I’d say the odds of that happening are almost a hundred percent.”
Wednesday Morning Quarterbacks
The move alienated McDaniels from not only other teams but his own agent. Bob LaMonte told Sports Business Journal on Wednesday that he had terminated his relationship after what he called, “career suicide.”
“My word is my bond,” he said. “Once you break that, there’s nothing left.”
Former Indianapolis Colt Head Coach and now television analyst Tony Dungy was also critical of the decision. He took to Twitter on Wednesday blasting the decision and for also affecting the lives of assistant coaches that agreed to follow him.
“Haven’t read the article but I can tell you there is NO excuse big enough to justify this,” Dungy tweeted. “It’s one thing to go back on your word to an organization. But having assistant coaches leave jobs to go with you then leave them out to dry is indefensible.”