Patriots' history with rules preceded them

January, 14, 2012
1/14/12
1:30
PM ET
For the record, the New England Patriots did not break any rules by hiring assistant coach Josh McDaniels this week.

The move was announced shortly after McDaniels' former team -- the Denver Broncos -- advanced to face New England in the divisional round. That gave the impression the Patriots were trying to get the upper hand on an upcoming opponent.

That has forced the NFL to look into the matter. ESPN is reporting the Patriots may prompt a rule change for hiring coaches in the postseason.

This is simply a case where the Patriots' not-so-great reputation with rules -- "Spygate," anyone? -- preceded them. (It's also the 10th anniversary of the "Tuck Rule" game, where the rule worked to New England's advantage.) Would it be a big to-do for the NFL if McDaniels were hired this week by the Houston Texans or New Orleans Saints?

The truth is the Patriots were going to hire McDaniels whether they faced the Broncos, Texans or Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. New England brought in McDaniels to replace current offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who is leaving for Penn State after the playoffs. Everyone quickly lost sight of that when Denver and quarterback Tim Tebow -- a McDaniels protégé -- became the opponent.

So, once again, it's all about Tim Tebow. (just kidding)

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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