Raiders' Josh McDaniels Says It Took a 'Special Place' for Him to Leave Patriots

Doric SamJanuary 31, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 18: Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots stands on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders have hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their next head coach. They officially announced the hiring in a press conference Monday.

"It was going to take a special place for me to leave where I was. ... This is one of those iconic places, a historic organization," McDaniels told reporters.

McDaniels has spent the last 10 seasons as Patriots OC. He had joined the New England organization in 2001 as a personnel assistant and held the coordinator position from 2006 to 2008 after working his way up the coaching staff.

McDaniels said that the first thing Raiders owner Mark Davis told him was a reference to the team's 2001 AFC Divisional Round loss to the Patriots, which created the infamous tuck rule:

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Davis said first thing that McDaniels told him was “it was a fumble.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a>

McDaniels' first run as a head coach didn't go so well, as he led the Denver Broncos to an 11-17 record in less than two seasons before getting fired in 2010.

Josh Dubow @JoshDubowAP

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a> coach Josh McDaniels on what he learned from Denver: "When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football but I didn't know people and how important that aspect of the process and maintaining culture and building a team was. And I failed."

He spent one season as offensive coordinator for the then-St. Louis Rams before returning to New England in 2012.

A key moment in McDaniels' career came in 2018, when he backed out of a deal to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after the team had already publicly announced his hiring. His 11th-hour decision to remain with the Patriots was a controversial one, so much so that his agent dropped him as a client in the aftermath.

A six-time Super Bowl champion while working under New England head coach Bill Belichick and with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, McDaniels faced the test of building an offense around a rookie quarterback in 2021. He passed with flying colors, as the Patriots ranked sixth in the NFL in scoring offense and Mac Jones is among the leading candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The Raiders went 10-7 in the 2021 season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Cincinnati Bengals eliminated Las Vegas in the AFC Wild Card Round.

The team faced some early turmoil this season when former head coach Jon Gruden resigned on Oct. 11 in the wake of a series of leaked emails that revealed he made racist, anti-gay and misogynistic comments over the course of a decade.

The Raiders went 22-31 in three-plus seasons under Gruden and was 3-2 at the time of his resignation. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was named interim head coach. 

Midway through the season, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was arrested following a car crash that killed 23-year-old Tina Tintor. The 2020 first-round pick was released from the team.

Ruggs was charged with felony counts of DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm and two counts of reckless driving, along with a misdemeanor of possessing a gun under the influence of alcohol.

Soon after Ruggs' arrest, cornerback Damon Arnette was seen on video waving around a gun and threatening to kill someone. He was also released.

Despite the off-field tumult, Bisaccia was able to rally the team and ended the regular season with four consecutive wins. McDaniels said he's hoping to help the Raiders build around the right players who can be respected both on and off the field.

"We're going to build a character as high-character people," McDaniels said. "We want a tough, smart football team that is explosive."

McDaniels inherits a team that has a solid foundation in quarterback Derek Carr, running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller. The Raiders will pick 22nd in the 2022 NFL draft and should remain a competitive team in the AFC next season.