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Once news broke that Josh McDaniels was re-hired as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, most assumed that he would be joining the team next year, not next week in a divisional playoff matchup against the quarterback he once drafted, Tim Tebow.
Although current coordinator, Bill O’Brien, agreed to become the new head coach at Penn State last Saturday, it was determined that he would still retain the role of New England’s offensive coordinator throughout this postseason. McDaniels, who had previously held the position for the Pats from 2006-2008, was chosen as his replacement shortly after and will shockingly serve the coaching staff as an offensive assistant beginning Saturday night with a trip to the AFC title game on the line against the Broncos.
Adding a new coach right before a huge postseason showdown is already an interesting move to begin with, but considering the fact that McDaniels brought in Tebow and coached Denver from 2009-2010, it is raising even more eyebrows across the league. Many are outraged by the idea of McDaniels possibly being able to provide New England new information about Tebow specifically.
That concept should not be too large of a concern, though. New England did an excellent job of containing Tebow’s heroic antics, handily defeating Denver on the road 41-23 back in Week 15, without McDaniels’ assistance. Tebow threw for just 194 yards that day, as the Pats were able to easily overcome an early deficit.
Still, that does not justify what New England has attempted to do coming into this crucial game. Hiring someone who once coached or played for your opponent is not a crime in sports. If anything, it is gamesmanship, as we have seen it occur countless times. However, the timing concept in this scenario is absolutely absurd.
Imagine if this happened to your team. With so much at stake in a do-or-die situation, would you not be livid knowing that the team you are battling against has inside information as to what you were trying to do – and that they were able to bring the informant in just days before?
The fact that the NFL allows teams to add unnecessary pieces to their coaching staffs in the middle of the postseason is simply unbelievable. We have never seen anything like this take place in other major sports, so why does this league think that it is acceptable, especially when preparation plays a bigger role than it does in any other sport?
If a team has to have a strict playoff roster set before the end of the regular season, then it should go the same way for coaches as well. The role that they play for their teams needs to be more respected.
Unfortunately, we are not psychics, so we cannot outright proclaim that actions like these really do change the outcomes of games. Instead of giving the fans, players, and coaches alike something to strongly complain about, do not give them the opportunity at all by forcing coaching staffs to remain the same during the postseason.