In 2009, the Denver Broncos hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to be the new head coach of the team. It was a disaster. In addition to screwing up their draft capital through awkward trades and taking a huge chance on Tim Tebow, McDaniels coached his way to an 11-17 record and was let go before he even completed two seasons with the team.
The McDaniels experiment was just one of many examples that further compounded the common belief that the Bill Belichick coaching tree is a poisoned chalice. On eight separate occasions since 2000, a former Belichick assistant has been hired as an NFL head coach and just one of those men still currently holds a job -- Bill O'Brien, who is currently in his second year in command of the Houston Texans.
Now that our beloved New York Giants have a vacancy at the head-coaching position, the team would be crazy to look towards the Patriots as the source of available talent, right? Well, it depends on why you're looking there. Ed made some excellent unbiased arguments against hiring either of the New England coordinators as the next coach of the Giants. He outlined all the previous examples -- Romeo Crennel, and Eric Mangini, and oh dear, even Charlie Weis. It's a tough case to go up against, and I'm not yet crazy enough to convince myself on McDaniels, but hear me out, I would still hire defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Let's begin with the basics. Patricia attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, so he's a local Troy boy, where he balanced playing offensive line and studying aeronautical engineering. Native son -- check. Former player -- check. Crazy genius -- check, check, and triple check. Patricia has been calling the plays for the Patriots since 2010, despite only receiving the coordinator title in 2012. He's more experienced than you think, and there's a reason other teams are interviewing for their respective head-coaching gigs, yet the Giants haven't even contacted him regarding a potential interview?
What I like about Patricia isn't the fact that he's a football pure-blood, but rather the fact that he has overseen a defense that consistently overachieved with underwhelming talent. The Patriots have as many misspent draft picks as the Giants in recent years, and yet still managed to compose themselves in a reasonable manner every season. In 2014, Patricia's defense ranked 12th in the league according to Football Outsiders' DVOA metric. In 2015, they repeated this ranking without shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis. How many coordinators could lose their best player and maintain production? After your own defense invented a new brand of inefficient football this year, would you not want to, at least, talk to this man?
The mistake with previous Belichickian hires is that many were given top jobs for the wrong reasons. Teams were desperate to secure some kind of heir-apparent and that's a mistake. You must judge an individual for their own accomplishments rather than those around them. We see it every year when a team wins the Super Bowl and the roster is pulled apart in free agency as others attempt to scrape some shavings from a gold brick as if success is so easily transferable. It's a fool's game, and we need to be smarter than that.
So don't hire Patricia as your head coach because he's a disciple of the dark lord of Boston, but don't rule him out either. Judge him for who he is and nothing else, because I don't know about you, but an over-achieving young defensive mind who understands subjects as complex as fluid dynamics and jet engine propulsion sounds like someone I'd want to interview if I was a needy New York-based ball club.