This isn't the first time Belichick promised to show McDaniels how to be a head coach
Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts last week to return to the Patriots
It's been one week since Josh McDaniels left the Colts standing, mouth agape, at the alter. And in the hours and days that followed, we got a sense for why the Patriots offensive coordinator got cold feet. There were the concerns about uprooting his young family, as well as New England owner Bob Kraft reportedly relishing any chance to stick it to the Colts, but according to ESPN.com's Mike Reiss, one of the big selling points was Bill Belichick .
Specifically: The head coach would show his assistant the inner workings of building a roster and managing the salary cap, which would be invaluable in preparing McDaniels for his next coaching opportunity.
(Related: McDaniels' agent fired him after he backed out of the Colts job, reportedly calling the decision "career suicide.")
But here's the thing: Pro Football Talk, via an eagle-eyed reader, notes that way back in 2008, when McDaniels was in his first run as the Pats' offensive coordinator -- and before he imploded as the Broncos' head coach -- he got a peek behind the "here's how to prepare to be an NFL coach" curtain. Jim Trotter, then writing for Sports Illustrated explained in this piece published in October 2009 exactly how it went down.
"When the coaches returned from a two-week break [after Super Bowl XLII], Belichick called McDaniels into his office and handed him a five-page, typed report on what it takes to be an effective coach and have a winning organization," Trotter wrote at the time.
"'I had been talking to Bill for a few years about being a head coach, and after I didn't do any interviews during the bye week in the '07 playoffs he said, 'I will help you in any way I can to get you ready for all the other things that go into the job,'" McDaniels said. "Just being around him every day was going to help me from a football standpoint because I could see what he did and how he did it. But he was saying he would help me with some of the things that you won't really get a chance to witness or understand or become knowledgeable about until you're in that position."
McDaniels said he couldn't believe Belichick's generosity.
"I remember when we first came back after our break, that very first day, that very first morning, he brought me into his office and he gave me five pages, typed, of all the topics and things that he felt like I needed to be educated about to become an effective head coach," McDaniels said at the time. "I'm thinking to myself, here he's got 10 or 12 days where he can do whatever in the hell he wants to do — we've just come off a season where we were 16-0 and lost in the Super Bowl — and the very first day back he gives me this? That was kind of like my bible."
McDaniels was hired by the Broncos ahead of the 2009 season, where upon his arrival he immediately ruffled feathers. And after a 6-0 start, he finished his first year with an 8-8 record. In Year 2, the Broncos went 3-9 before McDaniels was fired.
His 11-17 record in a season and a half doesn't seem to indicate he took any of the lessons he learned from Belichick with him to Denver. Whether that would have changed nearly a decade later had he taken the Colts job will remain a mystery. For now, McDaniels remains in New England and Indianapolis has moved on, hiring the winning offensive coordinator from Super Bowl LII, Frank Reich.
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