Belichick's Minions Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler Succeeded in Destroyed a Franchise. Now it's Time to Report for Back for Duty in Foxboro.

Michael Owens. Getty Images.

I must admit when I opened my bleary, bloodshot eyes this morning to this:

… my first reaction was to squint at the source to make sure it wasn't some NFL parody account. Because head coach/GM duos simply to do not get fired in the middle of the night on Halloween. Not after a year and a half on the job. Not when they're still presumably dealing with a lot of the roster of the previous regime, getting out from under old contracts, and have yet to see their only two drafts (in 2022 their first pick wasn't until late in Round 3) bear fruit. But then I saw that Hubbs played Hero Ball, posting about it at 2am and it was confirmed. 

And now, after half a cup of coffee, it's all making perfect sense. Just another part of Bill Belichick's master plan. The diabolical supervillain might be having a rough go of things over the first half of the season, but when it comes to planting his moles in other franchises to destroy them from within, he definitely has not lost his touch. 

The list of his double agents, much like Slider's johnson, is long and distinguished:

  • Romeo Crennel, Cleveland and Kansas City
  • Scott Pioli, Kansas City
  • Nick Saban, Miami
  • Eric Mangini, NY Jets and Cleveland
  • Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta
  • Nick Caserio, Houston
  • Brian Flores, Miami
  • Joe Judge, NY Giants
  • Matt Patricia, Detroit

And that's just a partial list. Some were assets Belichick trusted enough to bring them back in from the cold and give them new assignments. Now McDaniels has succeeded in destroying second team. And as he did after completely undermining the Broncos - it's still astonishing they let a 34 year old first time head coach get away with using a 1st rounder on Tim Tebow - he'll return the fold along with Ziegler and await further assignments. 

It may sound like I'm joking. But I am not joking. I'm as serious as a 2-6 record that includes a loss to a team that just fired its coach and GM. McDaniels doesn't forget how to coach offense when he leaves New England. It has to be intentional. In his 13 seasons as the Patriots official offensive coordinator, his teams ranked in the Top 8 in scoring 12 times. And before you say, "Well that's just because he had Tom Brady," let me point out that in Mac Jones' rookie season, the Pats were 6th in the league in points. While this is where his teams have finished in his other coaching stints:

  • Denver, 2009-10: 20th, 19th
  • St. Louis, 2011: 32nd
  • Las Vegas, 2022-23: 12th, 30th

You either believe McDaniels forgets how to coach offense the further he gets from New England, like the Gillette lighthouse is the source of all his wisdom and he can't function when he loses the signal, or you accept that this is all part of Belichick's scheme. His long con. And my explanation is a lot more plausible.

Now Belichick gets his guy McDaniels back to be his quarterbacks coach. His Mac Jones Whisperer. Bill O'Brien continues to run the offense, but with McDaniels as his assistant, just like they did in 2011 after O'Brien had already accepted the job at Penn State. And when O'Brien inevitably gets another head coaching job, his replacement is already on staff. Zeigler meanwhile returns to assist Matt Groh in Player Personnel, where he's worn a lot of hats. Most notably, being the head of the department for the 2021 draft that produced Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson. And, as was the case with Judge and Patricia, the Patriots employ these guys while they're getting paid by the guy who just fired them. 

Giphy Images.


Whether being 2-6 was part of that plan, or losing to the Raiders in each of the last two seasons was part of the plan is beyond my ability to comprehend. The Hooded One works in mysterious ways. What I can say is that at the moment, the Pats have the 5th pick in the draft, are third in salary cap space with $92 million for 2024, and are first in 2025 with an astounding $210 million. And now get to bring back the man who has run their offense better than anyone and a personnel guy who knows all the inner workings of the organization. 

Meawhile, somewhere in his secret underground lair, Belichick is throwing his head back and letting loose with an evil laugh as yet another franchise falls into the trap he's been setting for 20 years. The only question now is, how soon McDaniels and Ziegler can land in Providence and start working on Sunday's game? Well, that and, was Belichick himself the mastermind behind the Raiders big team meeting? 

Don't put it past him. The GOAT has still got it.