This has obviously been well-documented, so let’s get right to the point: Bill Belichick’s coaching tree kinda sucks.
Or maybe it really sucks.
This is obviously relevant again today with the news that the Las Vegas Raiders have fired head coach Josh McDaniels, who second branch from the Belichick coaching tree ended almost as abruptly as the first. After 28 games (and an 11-17 record) with the Denver Broncos in his first stint as a head coach from 2009-10, McDaniels lasted only 25 games in this venture, going 9-16 with the Raiders. He now holds a 20-33 record in at least parts of four seasons as an NFL coach and is logical to assume he won’t get another chance, at least not as the Big Kahuna.
McDaniels, of course, is perhaps the most famous of Belichick’s assistant coaches, having served as offensive coordinator of the Patriots during two different stints under Belichick. In both instances the Patriots quarterback was Tom Brady, though it should be noted that McDaniels also led a successful Patriots offense in 2008 when an injured Brady was replaced by Matt Cassel. Brady obviously made everybody around him look good – including Belichick – but it was McDaniels’ performance with Cassel that ultimately may have landed him the Denver job.
Regardless, McDaniels’ stints as a head coach ended in spectacular balls of fire, and most head coaches in the NFL ultimately get just two chances.
Were McDaniels the only from Belichick’s tree – and we use the word tree lightly – we could certainly suggest that McDaniels was the problem. But as we’ve learned over the years, Belichick’s coaching tree is far more akin to the one from the Peanuts Christmas tree specials (image to the right), which was hardly a tree at all.
Purely for posterity, beyond McDaniels, here is a look at the offshoots of the Belichick coaching tree, which looks like a list of bad television spin-offs: