In what can only be described as a shocking turn of events, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has decided not to accept the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching job. He will remain in New England as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for 2018.
Despite announcing his arrival as their next head coach on Tuesday morning, the Colts issued the following statement later that same evening:
“After agreeing to contract terms to become the Indianapolis Colts’ new head coach, New England Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels this evening informed us that he would not be joining our team. Although we are surprised and disappointed, we will resume our head coaching search immediately and find the right fit to lead our team and organization on and off the field.”
Confused? You’re not alone.
While this comes as a great surprise to most, McDaniels had been uneasy about this decision throughout the entire interview process. Apparently, he was trying to get comfortable with the idea of moving his family from New England to Indianapolis. McDaniels had emphasized to the Colts that he would need time to mull the decision and discuss it with his family. Still, the hiring of McDaniels seemed to be inevitable.
However, as he weighed his options, McDaniels began to reconsider staying in New England. ProFootballTalk (PFT) even reported on Super Bowl Sunday that McDaniels was having second thoughts. Despite these concerns, he informed Indianapolis of his decision to accept their offer on Tuesday morning. The Colts had their man.
Not so fast…
Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had begun talking with McDaniels within the past 48 hours. Although a verbal agreement had reportedly been reached, McDaniels had yet to sign the contract with the Colts. Kraft ultimately wound up enticing McDaniels to remain with the Patriots. After a reported ‘sweetening’ of his contract, McDaniels informed the Colts that he would, in fact, be staying with the Patriots.
McDaniels’ decision immediately ignited speculation that head coach Bill Belichick’s tenure was about to end. However, sources close to McDaniels have indicated that is not the case. In fact, it has been widely reported that Belichick will almost certainly be back as head coach in 2018. It was also speculated that McDaniels had been promised the head coaching position upon Belichick’s departure. Per Mike Florio of PFT, no such promise or indication was given to McDaniels by the Patriots.
Instead, the biggest factor to McDaniels was that the Patriots made an ultra-aggressive late push to try to entice him to stay. Until very recently, the team hadn’t addressed his future. Had that happened a month or so ago, McDaniels might not have pursued other head-coaching jobs as aggressively as he did.
Back to the Drawing Board?
As for Indianapolis, they are now left with coaching and quarterback questions. On Sunday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported there still are concerns about Andrew Luck’s shoulder and whether he could wind up needing additional surgery. By all accounts, Luck’s status was not a concern for McDaniels and did not factor into his decision.
Indianapolis will now immediately resume its search for a head coach. In fact, they reportedly had a contingency plan in place, for such a scenario.
For the Patriots, they are undoubtedly excited to welcome a familiar face back to Foxboro for the upcoming season.
They certainly don’t call it the ‘Coaching Carosuel’ for nothing, folks.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the AFC East. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC