Colts hire Reich after McDaniels' fiasco
On Feb. 11, Frank Reich was named the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Strangely, he was the second man to be named the Colts' head coach in a week. In the days leading up to Super Bowl LII, the Colts believed that the next man to lead their team would be New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels, a longtime veteran of the Patriots organization, spent seven years with the Patriots from 2001 through 2008 before departing to become head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009 through mid-2010.
Following a year as the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams in 2011, McDaniels returned to the Patriots during the 2011 playoffs before being named offensive coordinator for the 2012 season.
After firing Chuck Pagano on Dec. 31, the Colts began the search for their next head coach. After a pair of interviews, it was reported that McDaniels would be named the new head coach following the conclusion of the 2017 Super Bowl.
As the Colts made plans for an announcement, on Feb. 5, McDaniels began his exit interviews with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, President Jonathan Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick.
The Patriots made one final attempt to keep McDaniels in the fold by promising more insight into decisions made in the organization, such as personal decisions and construction of the roster, as well as a substantial pay raise.
On Feb. 6, the Colts announced via Twitter that McDaniels would indeed be named their next head coach, and would be formally introduced the following day.
Later that day, McDaniels personally called Colts general manager Chris Ballard, stating that he was withdrawing from the position and would be staying with the Patriots. The decision to remain with New England drew a significant backlash from former NFL coaches and players alike. However, perhaps the worst reaction came from McDaniels’ agent Bob LaMonte, who dropped McDaniels as a client.
LaMonte blasted his client for changing his mind at the last moment, and doing so without consulting him before making a final decision. LaMonte, who represents a number of NFL coaches and general managers including Ballard, can not afford to have a negative relationship with the Colts.
While the exact details of what the Patriots promised McDaniels are unknown, the personal involvement of Belichick in trying to sway his decision has led to speculation that McDaniels is being groomed to take over as Patriots head coach when Belichick decides to step down, which may be sooner rather than later.
Keeping McDaniels in the fold provides the Patriots with some continuity in an offseason that has already seen defensive coordinator Matt Patricia depart to become head coach of the Detroit Lions.
After being blindsided by McDaniels, Ballard worked quickly to make a choice from his list of remaining candidates. After three days of interviewing candidates, it was announced that Reich was chosen for the job. Reich, the offensive coordinator of the 2017 Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and a 33-year NFL veteran, as both player and coach, agreed to a five-year deal.
The Colts learned from their previous mistake with McDaniels. To have a bit of fun with the situation, they made their announcement on Twitter alongside an image of Reich signing his contract with a separate image of Reich holding up that day’s newspaper for further validation.