Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Why did Josh McDaniels change his mind and stay with Patriots?

February 09, 2018 - 5:41 pm

By John Rooke

Thinking out loud…while wondering if the business of sport has any integrity attached to it, at all?

  • Tweet(s) of the Week, from several, about Josh McDaniels’ jilting of the Indianapolis Colts: “I hear the Colts are feeling a bit deflated today.”


  • Hey Indy?  What goes around, comes around.  Just sayin’. 


  • As far as integrity goes, ok, I’ll admit this isn’t a great look for Josh.  But if you’ve been around professional athletics (and the college game too, for that matter) for any amount of time, you know it’s ‘business first, business always.’  That includes personal business, which also includes financial business, don’t ya’ know?


  • Additionally, there are still more questions than answers surrounding the Snakes – uh, Colts – in Indianapolis.  Maybe no Luck at QB?  Reason enough for an offensive-minded coach to think more than twice about a move.


  • That, and the Patriots had never made a play for Josh to stay, until late in the process.  They were sort of involved in a big game, sort of.  Is he the heir apparent at head coach?  Maybe, maybe not.  A lot can happen between now and 2045.


  • Not for nuthin’, but didn’t McDaniels’ agent dump him this week?  Yes, Bob LaMonte decided to part ways with his client.  Most likely because he has another client in Colts’ GM Chris Ballard, and if he wanted to keep HIM on as a client, well.  That’s show biz.


  • Oh wait, wait.  When Ballard ended his press conference this week to confirm McDaniels left Indy at the altar, he said “the rivalry’s back on.”  Rivalry?  Don’t both teams need to win for a rivalry to exist? 


  • And the part about affecting coaches and families moving, and possibly ruining lives?  Ex-Colts’ coach/homer Tony Dungy called the move “indefensible.”  Bah, humbug.  If you’ve been around this game for any length of time, you know coaches all know what they’re getting into when they join this profession. 


  • Everyone is always on the lookout for the next job, the next gig.  Everyone.


  • As for L’affaire Butler, on the surface this qualifies as a rather large typo on Bill Belichick’s resume.  I like that Butler took to Twitter to defend himself, and that he got “likes” and comments from TB12, among others.  But if you believe nothing internally happened to start this monstrous mistake in motion, you’ve been sold some prime Florida swamp land.


  • Could Malcolm Butler have made a difference in SB LII?  By most standards, his season wasn’t what was expected of him.  But all the Patriots needed was one – just one – stop, somewhere.  Anywhere.  I’ll wager he could have made a play that could have helped get his defense off the field. 


  • And today, we’d be talking and writing about a 6th Lombardi Trophy, instead of Eagles’ fans rioting and looting in Philly.


  • Eagles fans did a few other things in their ‘celebration,’ as well.  Who caught the video of the imbecile in the streets eating horse manure?  Yeah, we just set the human race back about a century on that one.


  • His children and grandchildren will be so proud, some day.  “Yeah, there’s my pops, in the street celebrating the Eagles’ first Super Bowl win over the hated Patriots, and he’s eating s***!  But it was our first-ever championship win!  Fly Eagles Fly!” 


  • Other observations no one wants to talk about from the Big Blame Game?  Brady was off on several of his throws, was his hand an issue?  The special teams weren’t very special.  You had Eric Lee, Adam Butler, Elandon Roberts and Eric Rowe on defense – which is a lineup more suited to a final preseason game than a Super Bowl.


  • And another thing.  Your offense piled up a SB-record 613 yards, scored 33 points, and lost.  Why?  Your defense missed 14 tackles while purposefully leaving a former Super Bowl playmaker out of the lineup. 


  • Face it.  Philadelphia was better with what they had on the field.  Deal with it.


  • If I’m a Detroit Lions fan, I’m a little nervous about Matt Patricia.  Not because he can’t coach defense, because he can.  Probably because he allowed this big mistake of not playing Butler to happen in the first place.  What did he have to lose?  He was headed to Detroit, anyway.


  • Besides, it not just YOUR legacy, coach Bill.  It’s New England’s, too.  It’s Patricia’s and McDaniels’, too.  It’s the locker rooms’, too.  That’s the price you pay for immortality, remembering you are here for a reason beyond what you think is in the “best interests of the football team.” 


  • The Butler Benching was a football equivalent to a blown save in baseball, before the relief pitcher ever takes the mound.  Think about that. 


  • Speaking of baseball, how’s that J.D. Martinez signing coming along, Red Sox?


  • That rumbling you hear from Florida isn’t the sound of the Sox’ truck heading to Fort Myers.  It’s the sound of Yankee bats already booming in the distance, like so much thunder.


  • One more thought as we proceed into the long, dark pigskin offseason – bring back Danny Playoff.  Re-sign Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead.  I’d even consider giving James Harrison one more shot at his personal pursuit of the Fountain of Youth.  And Nate Solder, because he’s a good tackle and an even better person. 


  • Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner need to be considered, too, if for nothing more than locker room leadership and integrity.  The rest of the impeding free agents?  Pass.  And I don’t mean Patrick.


  • Rob Gronkowski retiring?  Don’t believe it for a minute.  Maybe he says he’d like to try acting, or wrestling, or something else…but what he does best is catch (and then spike) footballs.  This is pure grandstanding by Camp Gronk over a presently incentive-laden contract.  Can’t say I blame him, it’s just bidness.


  • But when you SIGN a deal, shouldn’t THAT mean something?


  • New York’s Empire State Building was bathed in Green and White lights Sunday night in the aftermath of the Eagles’ victory.  Was that more about Patriot Hate or Philly Love?  Doubt it was the latter.  Or, they were just testing out those colors for when the J-E-T-S win in 2069.


  • My buddy “Big E” was at the playground with his grandson recently, and overheard an interesting conversation. His grandson’s friend asked, “what does your daddy do?”  E’s grandson replied, “my daddy’s a lawyer.”  The kid responded with “Honest?”  To which Big E’s grandson answered, “no, just the regular kind.”


  • Toughness and grit.  Something this year’s Friar basketball team has had difficulty displaying, at least until this past week.  Getting one on the road at Marquette has been rare, but this year it was a must – given the Golden Eagles’ earlier OT win at the Dunk. 


  • And even though the Hoyas aren’t blasts from their past, they have steadily improved this season.  PC’s Tuesday night come-from-behind win would not have happened in December, so perhaps the seniors now know this is the time to bring it. 


  • Alpha Diallo = budding star.  But he’s gotta be a consistent threat with a jump shot.  And Makai Ashton-Langford, for all his hype and ability, needs to find one, too.


  • Patrick Ewing has Georgetown headed in the right direction.  They have talent and athleticism.  His Hoyas are a point guard away from being very dangerous, and being very good.


  • What was that last Saturday?  The worst team in the Big East beat the (alleged) best team in the ACC?  St. John’s, for one, isn’t really the worst in the Big East, regardless of their record.  And Duke may not be the best in the ACC, either.  But it sure made for a fun afternoon.


  • And anyone who believes the new iteration of Big East basketball will never measure up to the “old” league?  It’s because your team isn’t in it. 


  • The Big East launched itself back into the #1 conference RPI slot, ahead of the Big 12 and ACC, thanks to the Johnnies’ stunner.  How could they not be?  First Duke, then Nova?  It was the first time in the Associated Press poll era – ever – for a team at least 0-10 in league play to beat the nation’s #1 team.


  • 11 straight losses, then two straight wins over Top Four teams?  C’mon man.  But that was St. John’s week.  How did your week go?


  • This Week in the Big East features Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, former Villanova coach Steve Lappas – who was on the mic for CBS at St. John’s took down the Wildcats – and CBS Sports Network college hoop insider Jon Rothstein.  103.7 WEEI-FM has it Saturday mornings, as does ESPNU Radio on Sirius/XM Channel 84, followed by replays on Sirius 108/XM 201 and App Channel 961 at 11:00 am ET. 


  • Or, just download the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play. and also have it online.  This Week in the Big East is currently the top-ranked show for “NCAA Basketball” on Apple iTunes.  Yours truly and the Journal’s Kevin McNamara belt it out every week.  Kinda cool.


  • Rhody worked itself up to #18 in the AP poll this week, the highest-ever ranking achieved by the program.  19th in the USA Today coaches’ poll, too.  14 straight wins heading into Friday night’s game at the Ryan Center against Davidson.  They rollin’.


  • But the Rams are rolling because largely, they take care of the ball.  7th fewest turnovers in the country, with outstanding backcourt play.  Valuing the ball, and every possession that goes along, isn’t a common trait among most teams.


  • Going into Friday, URI is also one of 11 teams in the country left unbeaten in its respective conference.  This season, the Atlantic-10 may not be as strong as it has been, but Rhody is also better than it has been.  That’s a volatile mix for the rest of the league.


  • Brown’s fab frosh, Desmond Cambridge, was named as the Ivy League’s Player of the Week for a 2nd time this past week.  32 points in a win over Princeton, 29 in an OT loss to Penn.  It’s a big weekend for the Bears this week with home games against Cornell and Columbia. 


  • At 3-3 in the league, Brown is in the hunt for an Ivy postseason spot.  Top four regular season finishers make it to the Palestra.  They’re currently in a 3-way tie for third.


  • Wednesday was national football signing day across the country, but as you might imagine it barely made a blip on our radar.  Bryant’s class signed four players from Massachusetts, zero from Rhode Island.  How about the State U?  Two from Mass, two from Connecticut, but no room in the Inn for a single Rhody resident. 


  • Is this an indictment of the local Division I programs, or on the state of high school football around here?  And are the two mutually exclusive?  Discuss.


  • 18 wins in the last 23 games for the Boston Bruins definitely qualifies as a ‘hot streak.’  And this with Brad Marchand suspended on the pine for some of that time.  They have my attention.  Yours?


  • Did anyone notice Jamele Hill left ESPN’s “SC6” show?  No?  Me either.


  • Congrats to the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton, who leaves the Red Sox beat for a new post in New York, covering the Mets for  Good, young reporter who hasn’t yet been beaten down by the industry’s many foibles.  Or Mets’ fans, yet.


  • Speaking of foibles, the Boston Herald’s story (before it was pulled) on Tom Brady wanting a Jimmy Garoppolo-styled deal, saying he would hold out if he didn’t get it, was shameful.  That it turned out to be a prank and a hoax, is even more ridiculous.  Even if you don’t “know” Tom Brady, wouldn’t something like this appear to be out of character for TB12?


  • Lesson #1 in Journalism 101 – reporters need to verify MULTIPLE sources saying the same thing.  Sadly, this apparently did not happen here.  That the Herald’s Ron Borges may have fallen victim to a catfishing prank in this instance by a WEEI caller still could have been sidestepped, had the story been thoroughly vetted. 


  • I weep for the Fourth Estate.  Where have you gone, Edward R. Murrow, Grantland Rice and Damon Runyon?  When I grew up, catfishing meant sitting at the lake with a fishing pole in my hands, not pranking someone to the point of potentially irreparable harm.


  • The Josh McDaniels’ story took on several shapes and forms this week, most of them bent negatively due to his jilting of the Indianapolis Colts at the head coaching altar.  Was there an alleged handshake between the parties?  Sure appeared to be.  Anything signed?  Nope, no ink on the dotted line.  Does that keep McDaniels from having his integrity skewered by Colts’ fans, or anyone else who believes your “word” should be your bond?  Please.


  • The business of sport has long been a nasty one.  Just because we “hope” our athletes and coaches – that we root for as fans – are good people, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look out for themselves first.  If someone offers you a better deal – more money, better lifestyle – after you have agreed in principle to go somewhere else first?  You’d be hard pressed not to do what is in YOUR OWN best interest. 


  • The business of sport is ruthless.  The business of sport is unforgiving.  It ain’t as glamorous as it appears to be.  Teams, GM’s, coaches, bosses will wear you out, then move onto the next gullible, willing candidate.  Seems silly then, to simply think you should sit back and take it, without getting something in return for yourself somewhere along the way.  I mean, what do you sacrifice for? 


  • If you believe your word should be your bond, I agree with you.  But if you believe you shouldn’t look out for yourself first, then I’ve got swamp land in Florida to sell you.


  • My friend Wayne from Swansea, MA found a willing partner to tweet at me this week, because he doesn’t do ‘that Twitter thing’: “How is Emmitt Holt doing in his recovery, and what is the latest status on Dajour Dickens?”   


  • Wayne (and Robin):  I know you’d rather have had Ed Cooley answer this one, but we just ran out of time -- on his coaches’ show this week.  Emmitt is doing very well.  Not only is he on the bench for home games, he’s traveling with the team and has been working out on his own steadily since he returned to campus following his illness.  He’s gaining weight, and getting back into shape.  His current plan is to lead the team onto the floor next fall.


  • As for Dickens, he also continues to work out, practice and participate with the Friars home and away.  But his talent is raw, his ability needs refining to play in the Big East.  He’s also had some physical struggles, and the hope is he’ll be able to retain his freshman year of eligibility through a redshirt.


  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to [email protected]. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, ...


Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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