Josh McDaniels appeared set to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts before instead deciding to remain offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots. Apparently, it was the extended talks with Bill Belichick after Super Bowl LII that caused him to stay.
“Before the game, I’d say we had minimal discussions,” Belichick said Sunday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I’d say we had much deeper and longer and more in-depth and more constructive discussions immediately after the game.”
McDaniels had been expected to replace Chuck Pagano as the Colts head coach since early in the postseason, but teams are not allowed to announce a hiring of an assistant until his team is eliminated. With the Patriots’ advancing to the Super Bowl, Indianapolis remained without a coach.
Two days after New England’s 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Colts announced McDaniels as the head coach, but McDaniels withdrew from his agreement, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
“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,” the Colts said in a statement.
Following this incident, the NFL is proposing a rule change that would allow a team to announce a hire at any point as long as permission to interview has been granted, per Matthew VanTryon of the Indy Star.
Indianapolis eventually hired Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. McDaniels remained with the Patriots, where he has spent the past six seasons and 14 years overall. The organization has won five Super Bowls with the coach on staff, including two with him as the offensive coordinator.
Belichick discussed the impact of his return, via Reiss:
“I’m thrilled he’s still with us and is going to continue in his role. I think he’s a top offensive coordinator in the league. He’s done a great job for me for a long time in a lot of different roles. I’m very glad, based on the meeting we had—there were a number of things that happened—that we were able to work that out and keep him with us.”
With defensive coordinator Matt Patricia becoming head coach of the Detroit Lions, it was important for the Patriots to keep some continuity heading into 2018.