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:
Stunner: Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels has decided NOT to accept Colts’ HC job and will remain with New England, sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2018
In the past 48 hours, Patriots owner Robert Kraft began talking with Josh McDaniels and ultimately wound up sweetening his contract, helping to entice him to remain in New England, per sources. Bill Belichick has his OC back.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2018
Text from one league source: “That’s Kraft putting it to the Colts again. He will forever try and (expletive) that place ever since deflate gate.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2018
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.
Of course this is embarrassing for the Colts, but It's kind of hard to put a ton of blame on the groom (Colts) when you have the venue, dress, flowers, caterer, and honeymoon booked, yet the bride (McDaniels) bolts after the rehearsal dinner. https://t.co/lMdR1W4qyE— Derek Schultz (@Schultz975) February 7, 2018
NFC GM: “It’s easy to mock the Colts but what Josh did was unprofessional. I know that’s not a popular take but it’s true.”— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 7, 2018
Not only that, but Josh McDaniels was calling assistants earlier today and offering them jobs. No more. https://t.co/13RCMZQMJP— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 7, 2018
Spoke with several members of what was supposed to be McDaniels’ Indy coaching staff. They have not heard from Josh McDaniels regarding the change of heart. Just as blindsided as the rest of us. #Colts— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) February 7, 2018
Wow. He'd asked men to pick up their families and move, then doesn't even call them when he leaves them out to dry. https://t.co/j3ga1KheOh— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) February 7, 2018
Colts fans, if it’s any solace, you don’t want a head coach who isn’t 100% committed. And McDaniels sure as hell wasn’t.— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) February 7, 2018
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.