The Right Thing

Some Super Bowl, huh?

Sure, if you believe defense is optional.

America may have gotten most of its collective celebrated hatred for the Patriots out of its system, and the confetti has been swept off the streets of Philadelphia, but there’s still a hangover.

New England and Philly both gave the country reasons to hate them shortly after the big game.

More than the typical Twitter reasons.

The Pats ripped-off the Indianapolis Colts of their supposed next head coach, while Eagles fans lived-up to their reputation as the nation’s worst fanbase by literally burning their beloved city.

The Eagles, however, have gotten a pass. They defeated the “evil” Belichick and Brady and Bills fans sadly identify with their lack of titles, and an obnoxious sliver of nuts that live for YouTube fame.

The vitriol for Josh McDaniels’ decision to stay as Belichick’s heir, however, might seem understandable.

Sure, if you’ve never had to make that kind of decision.

Rumors have swirled for literally three months that the Patriots’ own doomsday clock of Bill writing his resignation on a cocktail napkin is at two minutes ‘til midnight. And the Super Bowl LII loss escalates the idea the Pats dynasty–Heaven forbid!–stops at five Lombardis, with Belichick’s possible departure and Brady’s eventual retirement.

Owner Robert Kraft knew he had no backup plan. The NFL and college football may have a dearth of quarterbacks, but the coaching ranks are even worse. If Nick Saban won’t relocate from Alabama for the Giants job, now twice, he’s staying in college. The last couple years, hires have been less and less inspiring. Who could possibly 1) replace the greatest, and–yes this is just as important–2) be a Brady guy? Brady’s own coach was reportedly forced to trade his backup due to the quarterback’s insecurities.

Exactly. There are no names. But there were signs. Some even read “vacancy” for the first time in 18 seasons. And Bob Kraft saw them. And so did the 41 year-old assistant with a wife and four kids.

Signs McDaniels wasn’t exactly sold on the Colts.

Signs that McDaniels wasn’t so sure he and his family were ready to leave.

Signs Andrew Luck may not be as healthy as an NFL  quarterback needs to be.

Signs the Irsays aren’t as stable as the Krafts.

So, despite the fact that a deal was agreed upon and assistants had taken jobs and relocated to Indy under the impression of McDaniels being their new boss, that new boss discussed his status with his old bosses and decided they’d still be his bosses, with a wink-n-handshake he’d one day be THE boss.

And, good for him.


Yes. Good for him.

His family is happy. He’s happy. He gets a raise, but not the millions he would as a head coach–at least for now. So, don’t blame money.

He still has another year to learn from the greatest, and coach the greatest.

His jilted assistants get to keep their promotions in Indy, and won’t have another failed New England assistant leading them, but perhaps another Super Bowl-winning coordinator in Frank Reich, as predicted here in January. Ready-made staff for Reich is a break in itself; he just has to organize his team like Marv Levy did when Reich was in Buffalo. And he either already has a stud quarterback, or can draft one.

Man, sucks to be them, huh?

Sooner, rather than later, McDaniels will coach an organization with stability, and not one with an unstable owner like the oddly-behaved Jim Irsay. Google it.

Yes, the timing looks bad. But it’s never a bad time to do the right thing. If McDaniels and his family are happy, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.

Sure, there are those who say McDaniels won’t get another job.

Got news for ya:

You see Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, or Romeo Crennel leading teams anymore? And Bill O’Brien’s career hangs on the ACL of Deshaun Watson.

If things failed in Indy, McDaniels would either spend the rest of his life as a coordinator, or a FS1 analyst.

Awful, huh?

Or, he’ll be the next head coach in New England, with the stability of strong ownership, and if he fails there, he’ll fail with a happy family knowing he made the safest bet he could make.

If he wins, he’ll be praised the way his boss has been the last two decades, with everybody outside New York laughing about those eight days he served as “H.C. of the N.Y. Jets” without ever coaching a game.

It’s funny how people forgot Bill Parcells illegally spurned the Pats as soon as he turned the Jets around. And it’s funnier, in hindsight, seeing Robert Kraft rip the NFL for allowing that (“The Two Bills,” ESPN 30 for 30), then turning on a fellow NFL owner and stealing his next head coach as alleged revenge for Deflategate 20 years later, and five days after the special aired.

There is no honor in the NFL that doesn’t involve winning. And there’s no happy household without a happy wife.

Sure, you and your team of moralists can yell, scream, hate, stomp your feet, tweet, write columns, condemn, point fingers, meme, forward conspiracy theory videos bereft of factual evidence and complain all you want. If McDaniels wins, none of it matters, and if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

In a perfect world, we’d all enjoy being Patriots fans today.

The real crime is lying to yourself and saying otherwise.

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