Why Did Josh McDaniels Spurn Colts, Chris Ballard and Jim Irsay?
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INDIANAPOLIS – Josh McDaniels has left the Indianapolis Colts standing alone at the altar.
In a scene very rarely seen in the NFL, McDaniels ended up saying ‘no’ to the Colts despite agreeing to terms on a contract to become the team’s next head coach, having the team announce an introductory press conference and leaving assistant coaches already in place to work in Indianapolis out to dry.
Stunning. Shocking. Maybe snake-like?
Call it whatever you want, Josh McDaniels stood the Colts up.
So, what could have happened for McDaniels to all of a sudden turn his back on the Colts and decide to stay in New England?
-Andrew Luck’s health taking an ugly turn? The Colts announced the hiring of McDaniels at around 11:00 AM on Tuesday morning. A little past 8:00 PM, McDaniels had all of a sudden backed out. Did some Luck news trickle out in 9 hours that had the New England offensive coordinator scared? That’s unlikely. Any coach taking this job has to have reservations about Luck’s health going forward. It’s something that Ballard and McDaniels had to have discussed throughout this process. Does working with a 40-year-old Tom Brady for another year really offer much of a reassurance for what New England’s QB future will look like if McDaniels ever becomes the head coach there? There are questions about Luck’s health. That’s not new news and shouldn’t have been to McDaniels on Tuesday.
-The Patriots bolstering a package to stay? Reports from New England indicate that Bill Belichick is definitely returning in 2018 and the possible succession plan of Belichick to McDaniels has not been etched in stone. Even if Patriots Owner Robert Kraft created some salary incentives for McDaniels to stay, that still wouldn’t have matched a head coaching salary that Jim Irsay could have offered. Let’s say McDaniels becomes New England’s head coach in 2019 (he’s going to have a really hard time convincing any other organization for such a gig), how much longer is Brady the quarterback there? Who is the successor at QB with Jimmy Garoppolo now in San Francisco? The Patriots do not have a ton of young assets, on either side of the ball, that make you think they will definitely be able to sustain this incredible run of success. Even if Luck’s injury lingers, the Colts still have attractiveness in the form of $80 million in cap space, a top draft pick in every round, a well-thought of general manager and an owner who is very committed to winning. Is following a legend in Belichick really a guarantee to be a better opportunity?
-Cold feet about taking another head coaching gig? People playing the family card for McDaniels wanting to stay in New England, I ask what I said above: What could have changed in 9.5 hours on Tuesday? Josh McDaniels is from the Midwest. And it’s not like he didn’t move his family once already, halfway across the country to Denver. Do not tell me something suddenly arose on Tuesday afternoon/evening that caused him to have a change of heart. What about the families of these other assistant coaches who left their current posts to take a gig that might no longer be there in Indianapolis, and are now way behind the eight ball when it comes to other openings around the league? If the Patriots had lost to the Jaguars back on Jan. 21, would McDaniels have taken the Indy job then?
This was the timeline of Tuesday’s events:
10:58 AM: Colts announce Josh McDaniels has agreed to terms to be their new head coach.
4:14 PM: Press conference time announced for Wednesday’s introductory presser of McDaniels.
8:33 PM: Colts say McDaniels has informed them “he would not be joining our team.”
What changed in 9.5 hours?
McDaniels showed his true character and that the guy who failed in Denver has not completely learned how to handle such an opportunity again.