Josh McDaniels will be remembered as a longtime great New England Patriots assistant coach, having helped lead the team to plenty of success as offensive coordinator in between head coaching stints elsewhere.
The head coaching stints... Yeah, not so much.
Now, he's without a job fired by the Raiders along with general manager Dave Ziegler, and part of the reason he could never really find footing with the Raiders might be because he's too hung up on his Patriot days.
Josh McDaniels clinging to Patriots days contributed to Mark Davis firing him from Raiders HC job
Jay Glazer, reporting on McDaniels' firing from earlier this week, said that an "airing of grievances" team meeting in which McDaniels was explicitly in focus and called out by coaches and players, featured Antonio Pierce at one point bringing up the New York Giants and their win over the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl, a team Pierce was on, to inspire.
Players loved it, apparently. McDaniels, a member of that defeated Patriots team, was slighted and told Pierce to never talk about the Patriots like that again.
Glazer suggests that moment really expressed how divided the locker room was between the coach and players, and was more or less the straw that broke the back on his firing when team owner Mark Davis found out.
Davis, then, chose Pierce to be the interim head coach. He now has a good shot to prove he can build a better and stronger culture, and potentially get that interim title dropped when the Raiders look to hire a head coach this offseason.
Assuming the story is authentic, it's a real bad look for McDaniels, who shouldn't be getting bent out of shape over something someone said about a team he's no longer with. Importantly, it's not really as-if Pierce said anything out of line. The Giants winning in 2007 was a great underdog story, and an accomplishment the Raiders can model.
It's a microcosm of something that seems all too apparent: McDaniels' heart was never in this. He was always a whole-hearted Patriot, but just a half-hearted Raider.
If the coach is half-hearted, there's little shot in motivating the players beneath.
Now, the Raiders need to find their next head coach. It's important to get it right with the last two head coaches going out quickly and controversially.