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Colts - Patriots Beef Hits Fever Pitch over McDaniels

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The Josh McDaniels situation is turning one of the NFL’s most hate-filled relationships all the way up ... at least for the fans.

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Well, that was one of the crazier nights I’ve experienced while covering the Indianapolis Colts.

Over the weekend, after some speculation that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels may not become the Colts’ new head coach after all, the Colts and McDaniels came to an agreement on Tuesday, and the Colts finally announced it officially on Twitter.

Despite the rumors that McDaniels would have second thoughts, it didn’t make sense. He interviewed with general manager Chris Ballard and the Colts twice, which included owner Jim Irsay in the second meeting. Many assistant coaches were also brought on to work for McDaniels, including defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Nearly all of the who’s who of the NFL media was reporting this thing was a done deal for weeks. Until it wasn’t.

Less than 12 hours after the Colts made the announcement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped an atomic bomb:

There you have it. Patriots owner Robert Kraft not only has his successor to Bill Belichick when the head coach decides to retire (let’s not act like that’s not almost certain), but he also gets to stick it to the Colts again.

Really, Kraft? Get over it. In his public and private outbursts and chess moves since Deflategate, how can one person come off as such a bitter, old man? From what we have all been told, former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is who told the league about the deflated footballs. He has been gone for more than a year now and his replacement, Chris Ballard, has tried to repair the Colts’ relationship with the Patriots.

Beating the Colts seven times in a row to the tune of a 133-point margin hasn’t been enough? Winning three conference championships and two Super Bowls since Deflategate hasn’t been enough? Is Kraft trying to punish Irsay for letting it all happen, or just the whole Colts franchise?

Maybe Kraft should worry about his own team. The team whose future is being jeopardized by the owner overriding its legendary head coach and sending their next franchise quarterback away for far below his market value just to make Kraft’s sensitive, 40-year-old quarterback more comfortable as he “battles time.”

While the Colts now look foolish having announced the hiring of McDaniels, they had to have been confident McDaniels was coming. They scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to introduce him as the head coach for crying out loud. Make no mistake though, while this is a dirty string to pull by Kraft, this is McDaniels’ responsibility, and everybody knows it.

Don’t forget that the Colts and Patriots play in 2018. Will the Colts win? If recent history tells us anything, probably not. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be bad blood and a sour taste in the Colts’ mouths. The Colts’ players won’t have forgotten this come gametime.

The Colts may not win in Foxboro in 2018 (or who knows, maybe they will), but there is no doubt that it will be the most anticipated game on the calendar for Colts fans everywhere.

For a team that just lost one of its most beloved members of the locker room in a drunk driving accident on Sunday, and now just got hit with the biggest “pause, not!” in recent NFL history, the biggest bright spot that Colts fans have had in the last several months is seeing the Patriots crumble in defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday in Super Bowl LII.

Without the Colts and Patriots playing during the last couple of years, something like this is exactly the type of thing that will light a fire under the Colts’ fan base come game time in 2018.