The news that Josh McDaniels had stiffed the Indianapolis Colts on the head coaching job and opted to remain as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, even after the Colts had gone so far as to issue a press release for the formal announcement of McDaniels’ hiring, sparked a spectrum of observations, some involving the Bears and their own top field job.
Does anybody really feel sorry for the Colts, who slunk out of Baltimore under cover of darkness (and ahead of a move by Maryland to exercise eminent domain and make the team stay) and jilted that city for Indianapolis? John Elway had refused to play for the Colts in ’83 due in large part because of concerns about management; only McDaniels knows what part the overall Indianapolis situation played in his change of heart.
The Colts didn’t lose McDaniels because of a premature press release, one that was put out before they had a signed contract with McDaniels, and the Bears did not blow up their hiring of Dave McGinnis back in ’99 because of a premature press release, either, as is sometimes mistakenly reported.
Then-Chairman Michael McCaskey did have a release sent out before a deal had been reached (actually, before negotiations had even started), and McGinnis was highly upset. But he did come in to Halas Hall that day and the two sides reached agreement on a four-year deal. But McGinnis walked away from the Bears for good the next day because of being asked to conceal from potential assistant coaches (which would have included Leslie Frazier and Mike Martz as his coordinators) that there was two-year buyout language in McGinnis’ contract, potentially making the deal just a two-year gig, something McGinnis believed his staff deserved to know before they took jobs and moved families to Chicago.
McDaniels’ reported reasons have included concerns about again uprooting his family, as he’d done to take jobs in Denver for two years and St. Louis for one before returning to the Patriots.
The Patriots aggressively sought to keep McDaniels over the past couple of weeks with contract improvements. Could John Fox and the Bears have held onto Adam Gase as offensive coordinator in 2016 with a similar push?
Not likely. Gase had a chance to be a head coach for the first time in his career, which comes with more of a pay bump than coordinators command. But Gase had been five years in Detroit, six years in Denver, and with three young kids, the prospect of not moving his family might’ve been appealing.
Still, no contest, Miami vs. Chicago? Not so fast. Gase is from Ypsilanti, Mich., and coached in Detroit. He can function with cold.
At this point 25 percent of the Bears’ games in 2018 will be against teams with new head coaches: Detroit (two games) hired New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia; Arizona hired Carolina DC Steve Wilks; and the Giants will play under former Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
The Colts could be something of an unofficial tiebreaker, but maybe not. No clear NFL offensive-or-defensive trend unfolded in this year’s hires. Arizona, Detroit and Tennessee (Mike Vrabel) went for coaches from a defense base; the Giants, Raiders (John Gruden) and Bears (Matt Nagy) went offense. The Colts, tba. Maybe former Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub.