Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels decided to remain with the team in part because head coach Bill Belichick plans to open the vault for his pupil.
“Bill Belichick said to him, ‘I want you to be by my side. I am going to open my world to you,’” said Mike Reiss of ESPN.com last week. “‘Show you how I view roster building, how I look at financials and the salary cap.’ To McDaniels, who is 41 years old, the chance to be with Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of all-time, 65 years old, to have that opportunity was viewed as to be extremely valuable to him.”
It sounded great, but here’s the thing. As a reader with an excellent memory has pointed out to PFT, Belichick opened the vault in 2008, before McDaniels took his first head-coaching job.
In a Sports Illustrated article written by Jim Trotter (now of ESPN), the then-33-year-old McDaniels explained the things Belichick did to prepare McDaniels to run a team of his own.
“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.
“‘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 told Trotter. “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 was blown away by the gesture from a decade ago.
“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.”
The two men spent time during the 2008 season discussing the various aspects of the five-page document, with McDaniels eventually crafting 60-to-65 questions that he would pose to teams that were supposed to be interviewing him. So how did he come up with those questions?
“When you say where did the questions come from, it was Bill’s background,” McDaniels said. “He had been a head coach in Cleveland and New England, he was a coordinator in a number of different places, and he understands the salary cap, free agency, the draft, contracts, all that stuff. He gave me as much of that information as I could possibly ask for — and then he gave me a whole bunch of information that I never would have asked for. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.”
So either he traded the chance to coach the Colts in order experience that again, or this notion of “opening the vault” had nothing to do with McDaniels’ case of cold feet.
[Editor’s note: As to anyone out there who wants to get a copy of Madden 18 for the PS4 in an effort to extend football season, the first one to redeem gets the freebie. A29G-24NF-FDED.]