Thursday, February 8, 2018


Now that the stock market has plummeted 2500 points in the last few days, and while we are hearing about the white house chief of staff ignoring a sexual predator in the Trump administration (how could that be?), and an Alaskan airline pilot has pled guilty to flying drunk--let's discuss the outrage over Josh McDaniels decision not to move to Indianapolis.

Tony Dungy, a former Indianapolis Colt coach and current broadcaster called the decision indefensible.  McDaniels's former agent ended his professional relationship with the coach saying that McDaniels had committed professional suicide.  And Charlie Weis, a former college head coach called the decision "unbelievable" and suggested McDaniels's reputation now was toxic--such that McDaniels will never get another head coaching offer.

For those not keeping tabs on this saga, Josh McDaniels, had two interviews with the Indianapolis Colts. The parties had discussed terms and had agreed to them.  On Wednesday, McDaniels was going to be named head coach of the Colts. On Tuesday night, McDaniels decided not to sign on. This left the Colts in a lurch. More significantly, assistant coaches had decided to leave their current jobs and come to work with McDaniels.

Do I think what McDaniels did was wrong? Well, assuming he did orally commit to taking the job, and assuming that he did in fact tell assistant coaches to leave their jobs to come to Indianapolis--and those coaches did just that on the basis of such an understanding--then yes absolutely what McDaniels did was unethical.

Do I think he is now a pariah and will never get another job again.  Well, I don't think he is going to get a bottle of champagne from anyone in the Colts organization for a spell, but no he will not be a pariah for long and his ability to get another job is based solely on whether a team, down the road, believes he will be a good coach. 

Here's a scenario.  Let's say Bill Belichick is under contract.  A month from now he decides to break his contract.  He leaves the Patriots.  Will he be a pariah for breaking the contract?  Not really. Some may speak negatively of him, but Belichick would get a job in no time if he wanted one.

Gee, that's not a scenario. That is exactly what happened once.  Belichick was the coach for the New York Jets. For a few hours. He was under contract to be the Jets coach when Bill Parcells stopped coaching. Parcells stopped coaching. Parcells announced that Belichick would be the coach.  Belichick decided to break his contract.  Within a few days he was the coach of the Patriots.

I don't know if Josh McDaniels will be a good head coach. But if someone thinks he will be, the fact that he broke the oral contract he had with the Colts in 2018 will not be a factor in a decision to hire him. There may be a desire for him to sign at the same time he orally accepts the offer, but this 2018 incident will mean nothing.

An analogy.  You and your sweetheart pledge unwavering love and fidelity forever.  Two weeks later she decides to dump you for the college quarterback at the university of wherever.

Do such sweethearts become pariahs?  Not if they're hot.  Some folks might be wary but if the lover is sweet enough, there will be pursuers.

I don't think it is to one's credit to dump someone on Wednesday when you've professed love and loyalty on Monday--but that is not going to make you persona non grata.

Similarly with McDaniels--I don't think what he did was ethical, if he indeed committed to the Colts, but it is not professional suicide.  What is professional suicide in this business is not being able to perform. If someone thinks McDaniels can be the one, his phone will ring.

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