The NFL's Black Monday has come and gone and the league's coaching carousel has officially begun to spin. As a number of coaches have emerged as sexy candidates to fill vacant positions, one name that's usually popular this time of year is nowhere to be found. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has seen his star fall rapidly.
Given his success crafting an efficient offense for Tom Brady in New England, and the faith Bill Belichick has shown in him, McDaniels has often been a hot candidate for big jobs. The stink of his terrible two-season stint as the Denver Broncos head coach from 2009 to 2011 has largely worn off. He landed that job after four years as the offensive coordinator of the Patriots. He returned to New England in 2012 and has led the offense ever since.
In 2020, McDaniels completely reworked New England's offense to fit Cam Newton's style -- and while the results weren't great, it showed he could innovate on the fly. At 44-years-old he's right in the age range for a younger, dynamic head coach NFL teams seem to be looking for these days. And he's won six Super Bowls with his current franchise. So what gives?
I think it's fair to suggest McDaniels' dalliance with the Indianapolis Colts two years ago may have impacted his job prospects. On February 6, 2018, he was announced as the Colts' new head coach. Later that day he withdrew from the position and decided to stay in New England. It drew a ton of scrutiny and even his agent decried it, terminating his relationship with McDaniels.
Certainly that is a huge black mark against his prospects as a head coach. But, let's be real, if a franchise thought he was the right guy, they would almost certainly look past that incident. It's a cutthroat business and teams will do anything to win. Besides, he was on some rumor lists after last season.
Another knock on McDaniels could be how New England's offense took a step back this season without arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. Tom Brady got out of town and the Patriots fell to 27th in the league in total offense. But, frankly, a lot of that had to do with Newton likely being done as a legitimate NFL quarterback.
With guys like Jason Garrett, Marvin Lewis, Jim Caldwell and others getting interviews, it's just weird that McDaniels is suddenly not on anyone's lists. Has his star really fallen that far in one season? It would appear so.
If no head coaching opportunities come along, McDaniels is likely content to continue on his current track and hope that one day he'll take over the Patriots when Belichick eventually retires.