After not generating much momentum during last year’s NFL hiring cycle, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a lot more popular in 2020. Overall, three of the five organizations looking for new head coaches asked the Patriots for an interview with the 43-year-old to possibly fill their vacancies at the time. New England granted permission to all three clubs, paving the way for McDaniels to potentially leave the team.
However, one by one, other coaches were hired to fill those open spots. First up were the Carolina Panthers, who decided to bring Baylor’s Matt Rhule on board before even interviewing McDaniels. This move made the New York Giants pull the trigger on another Patriots assistant when they named special teams/wide receivers coach Joe Judge as their next head coach. Once again, McDaniels did not get a chance to interview with the team.
At that point, only the Cleveland Browns remained as an option for him. But while McDaniels was given the chance to interview with the club, the two sides apparently recognized rather quickly that they did not match: according to reports coming out of Ohio, McDaniels and the Browns’ finding committee had different structural views which led to the long-time assistant coach leaving Cleveland without a contract offer.
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski was named the Browns’ next head coach just two days later, all but guaranteeing that McDaniels will return to the Patriots in 2020 — it will be his ninth straight season, and 12th overall, serving as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This was a positive development from New England’s perspective, for numerous reasons.
It is therefore no surprise to find out that the vast majority of Patriots fans is feeling good about McDaniels returning for another year: according to SB Nation’s latest FanPulse survey, 92% of participants answered the question “Are you happy Josh McDaniels will stay with the Patriots” with yes earlier this week, compared to only 8% who are not viewing him staying with the franchise in a positive light. It is not hard to see why the result is that lopsided.
McDaniels staying in New England does not only secure stability among the coaching staff after it had already lost Joe Judge to the Giants, but it might also have an impact on the free agency status of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady — the 42-year-old might be more willing to return to the Patriots with a familiar play-caller in his ears on game days. Add it all up, and you can see why fans feel good about the outcome of this year’s hiring cycle as it relates to McDaniels.
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