PHOENIX -- It's been just more than four years since Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen decided he couldn't wait any longer, that he couldn't look at any more losses or empty seats in the team's home stadium, and fired Josh McDaniels in December of 2010, just 38 games into McDaniels' tenure as the 12th head coach in franchise history.
Now the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and preparing for Super Bowl XLIX, McDaniels said he's learned some things, understands what happened and he hopes for another chance to be a head coach again.
"I think I know now, each team is different, each player is different, I don't believe everybody has got to be the same," McDaniels said. "I think I'm a better listener than I was then. I was young, made a lot of mistakes, learned from them -- hopefully -- try to be a better person, a better coach.
"I learned every day from it," he added. "The players on the team are the reason why we win, you don't have to treat them all identically, they're not going to be all the same, your ability to lead and motivate those guys differently is important."
McDaniels' tenure with the Broncos started in flamboyant fashion -- 6-0 in 2009, including a win over the Patriots -- but things unraveled from there as the Broncos went 2-8 the rest of the way and started 3-9 in 2010 before McDaniels was fired. There was a Spygate scandal in 2010, when a former Broncos employee took video of a portion of the San Francisco 49ers' practice in Wembley Stadium during a London trip, and plenty of grumbling in the Broncos' locker room from players who believed McDaniels wasn't responsive to their questions or concerns.
In all, he was 11-17 as the Broncos' head coach. While he oversaw the drafts that included Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Zane Beadles and Tim Tebow, there were plenty of draft misses. He also traded quarterback Jay Cutler before he had coached Cutler in a single practice and then traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall the following year.
McDaniels said on multiple occasions in Tuesday's media day that he believes he would be "a better listener" in the job now.
"When you do something like that for the first time you feel like you have to run through everything and be in charge of too many things and sometimes that is a significant negative," McDaniels said. "I have tried really hard in St. Louis and then here back in New England. We really gather ideas, we listen to one another and try to do the best thing for the offense in this particular case and it has really been a great thing. Our atmosphere on our staff has been very healthy and a big part of that is that we have a lot of guys that can contribute and it doesn't come from one source. I made a lot of mistakes there and you know that."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked Tuesday why things didn't work out for McDaniels with the Broncos.
"I mean, Josh did a great job for us, he's always done a great job for us," Belichick said. "... [He] does a great job with the offense, works hard, very well prepared, great rapport with the quarterbacks and the entire offensive staff and the players, and I love having Josh on our staff. Really, I mean, I'm lucky to have a great staff and very fortunate to have Josh. You'd have to ask Josh about what his experiences were somewhere else. I don't know."
"He's a great coach, a great friend," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "... I hope he's my coach for as long as I keep playing."
McDaniels did receive interest in recent weeks for head-coaching jobs in Atlanta, Buffalo and San Francisco. But all but one of the open jobs have been filled already this offseason with the Falcons job expected to go to Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in the days following Sunday's game.
Following the 2013 season, McDaniels did turn down the opportunity to interview with the Cleveland Browns. Tuesday, he made no secret he would like another chance to be a head coach "for a team that sees it as the right fit, for them, and that it's the right fit for me."
"... Yeah, I would love to do it again," he said. "I think the most important thing to me is to just be in the right situation and just be in a place where I feel good about being. There are a lot of great teams and great places out there. I happen to be in a good situation for myself right now and for my family. If it comes up again and it is like there it is, that is the right spot, then I would love to do it again and give it another shot."