- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Remember when the AFC West was going to become New England West?
It was all the rage when on back-to-back days in January 2009, the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs entrusted their future to the Patriots’ Way. First, Denver hired New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as head coach. The next day, the Chiefs hired New England executive Scott Pioli to become general manager.
Both McDaniels and Pioli embraced their New England roots and didn’t hide their intentions: They were going to build their organizations using the Patriots’ model.
Well, it worked in one place.
A day after Pioli’s young, tough Chiefs took a two-game lead in the AFC West race, McDaniels was fired after leading Denver to a 3-9 record this season.
McDaniels‘ firing is further evidence that the Belichick head-coaching tree is far from being a sure thing. McDaniels is the fourth Belichick assistant to be fired from his first job after leaving Belichick’s comfort zone. He joins Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel who failed in their first job away from New England.
Weis and Crennel, ironically, are part of the Chiefs’ resurgence. They are assisting in the same role as they did in New England. Weis is the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and Crennel is their defensive coordinator.
A big difference why I think Pioli is having success and McDaniels did not is that Pioli has molded his team on the field like New England better than McDaniels did. Pioli fit players where they could be part of a greater plan.
McDaniels’ approach to the Patriots’ Way was to wear a hoodie and wield power. It was his way and his way only. That was the beginning of the end of his plan. It caught up to him quickly, once again showing that the New England Way isn’t for everybody.
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