Tony Katz Today
KATZ: Josh McDaniels Reminds Colts And America About Character
(PHOTO: Colts_Getty_Jeffrey Vest_Icon Sportswire)
In the wake of New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels decision to say no to becoming the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in the last second of a five week courtship (he changed his mind after the Colts had already announced him. He allegedly was going to his office to clean out his desk. How much more "last second" could something be?) there is an important story that needs to become a conversation in households across Indy and across America: all you have is your character.
There is much fault to find in McDaniels' decision. From every look at it, McDaniels was not honest with the Colts (or anyone) about his desires, wants or intentions. He wasn't honest with those who would be working on his staff. Matt Eberflus was the linebackers coach of the Dallas Cowboys. McDaniels offered him the position of defensive coordinator of the Colts. Eberflus signed up. He packed his family. His wife used the Colts logo on a photo of the two of them on Facebook.
Eberflus wasn't the only one. Dave DeGuglielmo, who previously worked with McDaniels as the offensive line coach of the Patriots in 2014, agreed to be the line coach of the Colts. Mike Phair was the defensive line coach at the University of Illinois. He agreed to be a part of the McDaniels' staff. Now, the three of them are Colts. McDaniels is not.
McDaniels, according to reports, decided ultimately to spurn the Colts because of "family;" he didn't want to uproot his wife and four children. Yet, he had no problem asking three men to do the same with their families and lives! But go back to the guy himself: He didn't know he didn't want to uproot his family until the last second? Is anyone buying this story? Or, is it much more likely that he was playing a high-stakes game of chicken with the Patriots on whether or not he would really leave?
"Hey, Krafty! Throw a few more bucks my way, and I'll gladly screw over a whole bunch of people who only made the mistake of trusting a two-bit punk like me!"
Playing chicken with the Patriots by playing chicken with his own family?
He should have said no to the Colts after the first interview. He should have said no after the second interview, which included Colts owner Jim Irsay. He should have said no during the bye-week between the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. He should have said no before the Colts unzipped their pants, and announced the big press conference at the Colts' home field, Lucas Oil Stadium. Josh McDaniels did none of those things, because Josh McDaniels lacks the character of a man.
Josh McDaniels may have harmed the careers of three other coaches who are only guilty of trusting a guy like him. (As of writing this, the Colts remain committed to the contracts they have signed, and they will be coaches in the Colts organization in 2018.) Even his agent, Bob LaMonte, dropped him. LaMonte told McDaniels he was making the worst decision of his professional life, and is quoted by ESPN's Mike Garafolo as saying, "My word is my bond. Once you break that, there's nothing left."
He spit in the face of Colts owner Jim Irsay, and that's not a small thing. Now I don't know, nor have I ever met, Jim Irsay, but those who have all tell the same story: Intensely loyal. Wants to win. A guy you want to play for. The Colts are everything.
Is this the guy you spit in the face of? And even if Irsay was nothing like how he is described, do you still spit in the face of a NFL owner when you want to be a NFL head coach? Don't you think the other owners are going to notice?
USA Today came out with the greatest understatement headline of 2018: Josh McDaniels risks reputation by reversing course on Colts.
Risks reputation? REPUTATION!? (Or, as we say in Indianapolis, Jim Mora-style, "Playoffs?!") His character is revealed, and it's non-existent! Josh McDaniels has no reputation to risk!
Josh McDaniels is a perfidious man. Dishonest to his co-workers. Dishonest to the people like Irsay who do the hiring of guys like him (after all, there are only 32 places in America to get a coaching gig.) He seems willing to use his family as a shield. And, ironically, he trusts the only team that has proven it can't be trusted!
Perhaps he did line himself up to the be the Patriots future head coach, as current coach Bill Belichick's deal is up in 2018. And, maybe, there will be an owner out there who will be so hard-up for a chance at victory that they'll sell their soul to bring this devil on board. But, probably not. Like his agent has already proven, Josh McDaniels is not worth the risks. Men who lack character never are.
And that's the conversation that needs to be had; parent to child, friend to friend and right into the mirror. We need to teach our children and remind ourselves that how we act towards each other and treat each other, how we react to controversy and how we live up to our responsibilities, these things define us. And when you fail to match the moment, when you don't live up to your responsibilities, when you ask others to do things you yourself would not do, those things also define you; whether you're a pro athlete or a president, an actor or an activist, a construction worker or a coach. And they have well defined Josh McDaniels.
Of course, McDaniels could have just changed his mind. He may have actually had a last second epiphany that made him say, "I don't want this job. I don't want to move my family." He could feel terrible about it. He might try to make amends that we'll never see or never know about. He may have reached out to Eberflus and DeGuglielmo and Phair to apologize and explain himself and try and set things right. He may still reach out to Indianapolis, apologize for his callous behavior and how things went down and wish Colts fans well into the future.
No one in Indy is holding their breath. Indy has moved on. Indy is looking ahead, and can't wait to cheer the Colts to victory again and again and again. They'll welcome the new coach, whomever it may be, with open arms and Hoosier Hospitality. They'll give Irsay and General Manager Chris Ballard the chance to right the ship. That's Indianapolis. It's just their character.