When Josh McDaniels joined the New England Patriots as a personnel and coaches assistant in 2001, Tom Brady was just entering his second year in the league as one of the backups behind Drew Bledsoe. Over the 19 years since, the two have developed into core pieces of the franchise’s dynastic run: while Brady took over for Bledsoe that year and led the Patriots to their first of six championships, McDaniels quickly climbed up the coaching ladder.
In 2004, the two men eventually joined forces. McDaniels was named New England’s quarterbacks coach and would shape Brady’s career from that point on — first as his position coach and from 2006 on as the team’s offensive coordinator. The duo re-wrote the NFL’s record books together in 2007 and, after McDaniels’ return from an unsuccessful stint as head coach of the Denver Broncos, eventually won three more Super Bowls.
All in all, McDaniels and Brady spent 13 seasons together as a quarterback-position coach/coordinator combo and won a combined four championships in this role. Along the way, the two transformed New England’s offensive attack on a regular basis — from the spread formations used in 2007, to the tight end-heavy sets of the early 2010s, to the ground-and-pound attack that won their last Super Bowl together in February of 2019.
With Brady’s announcement that he would leave New England in free agency, he and his long-time coach have to find success without each other for the first time since the 2011 season. What remains is a trophy case filled with numerous accomplishments as well as countless memories — memories McDaniels touched on during a statement he released via the Patriots on Tuesday afternoon:
I have so much gratitude for Tom Brady. He has made me a better coach and more importantly a better person. He has always been genuinely kind and caring to me and my family. Yet at the same time, I have never met anyone as demanding and relentless in his pursuit of improvement, perfection and championships. His work ethic and drive propelled our offense and our team to perform at the very highest level throughout his career. He represented all of us with class and integrity. We will miss his passion and intensity, his character and wisdom, and his preparation and diligence. I will miss all the meetings, FaceTimes, emails and texts in our pursuit of a good play. He always performed his best in the most critical times under the most significant pressure. I have never coached a tougher player in my career.
Although I feel a great sadness knowing that he is leaving the Patriots, I am grateful for the years we were together and beyond blessed to call him my friend. He has made an indelible impact on my life and career and I will forever be in his debt.
He defined what it means to be a “Patriot.” He is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL. I wish him nothing but great happiness and success in all that he does. There will never be another Tom Brady.