Josh McDaniels' coaching history: Timeline of stints, record as head coach with Broncos, Colts & Raiders | Sporting News (2024)

Josh McDaniels was supposed to become the head coach of the Colts during the 2018 NFL offseason. When that didn't happen, it seemed likely that he would remain with the Patriots until Bill Belichick retired.

After all, what NFL team would hire a coach who spurned another after a month-plus of negotiations?

Well, the Raiders weren't scared off by McDaniels' cold feet. Four years after the Colts-McDaniels saga, Las Vegas hired McDaniels to be its new head coach.

This was a relative surprise. Rich Bisaccia had been successful as the interim coach in Las Vegas, but evidently, Raiders owner Mark Davis was "blown away" by McDaniels.

As such, McDaniels became the Raiders' 22nd head coach and got to add another interesting chapter to his coaching history. Here's a breakdown of the 46-year-old's second chance as he looks to prove himself as a head coach in 2022.

MORE: Why did the Raiders hire Josh McDaniels?

Josh McDaniels coaching timeline

New England Patriots (2001-2008)

  • Roles:Defensive assistant, QB coach, Offensive coordinator

McDaniels got his NFL start with the Patriots in 2001. He previously had worked as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban in 1999 before taking a year away from coaching and working as a plastics sales representative.

During his time with the Patriots, McDaniels rose rapidly through the team's system. He began as a personnel assistant and then spent a couple of seasons as the team's defensive backs coach. In 2004, he moved over to the offensive side of the ball and has remained there since.

McDaniels was New England's quarterbacks coach in 2004 and 2005, and he helped the team win Super Bowl 39 over the Eagles. From there, he was promoted to offensive coordinator — a role in which he served from 2006 to 2008, though it was suspected that he also served as the team's primary play-caller in 2005 after Charlie Weis' departure.

McDaniels' claim to fame in his offensive coordinator role with the Patriots was the 2007 New England offense. It ranked No. 1 in the NFL and helped the team go undefeated in the regular season. Tom Brady had the best season of his career in that offense, completing 68.9 percent of his passes for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns. All of those numbers led the league and allowed him to win MVP.

That performance made McDaniels a strong head coaching candidate, but the then-31-year-old decided to stay with the Patriots in 2008. He helped lead the team to another top-five offense and an 11-5 record during that season with Matt Cassel at quarterback. After that, he felt he was ready to make the jump to a head coaching job.

Josh McDaniels' coaching history: Timeline of stints, record as head coach with Broncos, Colts & Raiders | Sporting News (1)

Denver Broncos (2009-2010)

  • Role:Head coach

The Broncos hired McDaniels as their new head coach just a few months shy of his 33rd birthday. That made him the seventh-youngest coach in NFL history and the fifth-youngest since the AFL-NFL merger.

Things didn't go all too well in McDaniels' brief stint in Denver. They started poorly when McDaniels was forced to trade quarterback Jay Cutler after trust between the two parties was broken due to rumors surrounding a potential Cutler for Matt Cassel trade package. As such, Cutler was shipped to Chicago in exchange for Kyle Orton and two draft picks (first- and third-round selections).

Still, the Broncos won their first six games under McDaniels in 2009. At that point, it looked like McDaniels was an innovative, offensive genius and was set to be one of the NFL's best coaches for a long while. In essence, he looked like an earlier version of Sean McVay.

However, things collapsed after that. McDaniels went 5-17 in his next 22 games. The Broncos dismissed him after Week 13 of the 2010 NFL season in part due to that poor record but also due to an unreported video-taping scandal that saw director of video operations Steve Scarnecchia film a 49ers walkthrough and attempt to view the tape.

McDaniels declined to view it, and the Broncos didn't gain a competitive advantage from it. However, he never reported it to the league office, so that factored into his dismissal. That meant McDaniels never got a chance to start his 2010 first-round pick, Tim Tebow, in any games.

In total, McDaniels' offenses ranked above average in total yards but below average in total points. Not all was lost on that side of the ball, but the team's defense went from a top-10 unit in 2009 to the worst in the league in 2010. That is part of what led the Broncos to move on from McDaniels and bring in a defensive-minded head coach in John Fox.

MORE: Josh McDaniels explains why he failed with Broncos but will succeed with Raiders

St. Louis Rams (2011)

  • Role:Offensive coordinator

Despite his struggles in Denver, McDaniels was still a hot name on the coaching market. Numerous teams wanted him for an offensive coordinator position, but it was the Rams that ended up landing McDaniels.

McDaniels spent just a year with the Rams and coordinated one of the worst offenses in the NFL during his time there. Part of the issue was that the Rams had to start three different quarterbacks — Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley and Kellen Clemens — due to injuries. Thus, McDaniels never had consistency at the position.

The Rams went 2-14, fired head coach Steve Spagnuolo, and told McDaniels, who was under contract through 2012, that they would do the same. That opened the door for his return to New England.

Josh McDaniels' coaching history: Timeline of stints, record as head coach with Broncos, Colts & Raiders | Sporting News (2)

New England Patriots (2012-2021)

  • Role:Offensive coordinator

McDaniels returned to New England in 2012 and was positioned to succeed Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator. O'Brien had recently accepted the Penn State coaching job, so McDaniels worked as an assistant on the Patriots' staff during the postseason.

Bill Belichick acknowledged that he was excited to have McDaniels back when the team officially hired him.

"It's good to have Josh on the staff," Belichick said, per ESPN. "He's a person I've spent a lot of different time with, in a lot of different situations, and I have a lot of confidence in him. He's smart, has great experience and background, and he knows our system."

Bringing McDaniels back proved to be a wise choice. He showed no signs of the struggles that plagued him with the Rams, and coordinated the league's No. 1 offense in terms of yardage and points scored during the 2012 NFL season.

That was just one of many great offensive units that McDaniels put together during his time with Brady and the Patriots. Below is a look at where the team's offense ranked in each season of his decade-long second stint in New England.


So, save for the 2020 season — in which Cam Newton started all but one game at QB for the Patriots after Brady's move to Tampa Bay—McDanielsroutinely had one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL. And in terms of yardage, they ranked below average just once and had six top-10 offensive units.

McDaniels also helped the team to win three Super Bowls and Brady win another MVP. That's why many were interested in hiring McDaniels as their coach over the years. He came with not only high-level production, but also with experience that would position him to avoid the mistakes he made during his first coaching stint with the Broncos.

Indianapolis Colts (2018)

  • Role:Head coach

The Colts were among the many teams that tried to hire McDaniels during his time with the Patriots. They appeared to succeed during the Patriots' playoff run in 2018, but things didn't go as planned.

McDaniels ultimately spurned the Colts at the altar after an extended courtship. McDaniels' decision caused his long-time agent, Bob LaMonte, to stop representing him and led many to believe that he wouldn't get another chance to be an NFL head coach.

Since that decision, McDaniels has spoken about how much he regrets how that situation played out. Still, he knew it was the right one to make at that time.

“There are a lot of things that go into these opportunities and chances to advance,” McDaniels said, per Colts Wire. “At the end of the day, the best thing for me at that time was to stay. And it took me a little longer than I wish that it had to realize that, but once I realized that that was the right decision, I felt like I had to do that even though it was going to be unpopular.”

While McDaniels stayed in New England, the Colts hired Frank Reich as their new coach. He has posted a 38-30-1 record during his time with the franchise but has won just one playoff game in two playoff appearances.

Josh McDaniels' coaching history: Timeline of stints, record as head coach with Broncos, Colts & Raiders | Sporting News (3)

(Getty Images)

Las Vegas Raiders (2022)

  • Role:Head coach

Many assumed that the longer McDaniels stayed in New England, the more likely he would eventually be tabbed the successor to Belichick. But during the 2022 NFL offseason, the Raiders hired McDaniels as their head coach, and he accepted the job.

What drew McDaniels to the Raiders?

"I understand the vision that they have in mind," McDaniels said at his introductory press conference."You can tell where this organization is headed and I’m excited to be part of it."

Las Vegas' decision to hire McDaniels came in the wake of the Jon Gruden email scandal that caused the veteran coach to step down midway through the fourth season of his second stint with the team. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia had led the Raiders to the playoffs in his stead, but the Raiders opted to go with McDaniels' upside.

McDaniels vowed that his coaching performance would be better in 2022 than it was 12 years ago. The major difference? He felt like he learned about the importance of people and managing people in those roles.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels: "When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football. I didn't really know people ... and I failed, I didn't succeed with it."

Says he's improved in being more collaborative, working with his staff.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 31, 2022

McDaniels' second coaching tenure started the complete opposite of his first, as the Raiders were winless in their first three games. However, they beat the Broncos in Week 4 to get off the schneid and earn McDaniels a measure of revenge.

MORE: Josh McDaniels has a closed-door meeting with Raiders owner Mark Davis

Josh McDaniels coaching record

McDaniels' record as a head coach has not been very good. He has posted a record of 12-20 through four weeks of the 2022 NFL season, and his .375 winning percentage is tied for 294th all time among the 516 people to ever coach an NFL game.

Below is a year-by-year breakdown of McDaniels' head coaching record to date:

YearTeamRecordWinning %

In general, McDaniels has found little success outside of New England. The Patriots were consistently highly competitiveunder the watch of Bill Belichick and McDaniels. But when McDaniels hasn't been withNew England, his results haven't been nearly as strong.

Below is a look at the record McDaniels has by team in his stops as an offensive coordinator and head coach.

TeamYearsRoleRecordWinning %
Patriots2006-08; 2012-21Offensive coordinator154-55.737
Broncos2009-10Head coach12-17.414
Raiders2022-presentHead coach1-3.250
Rams2011Offensive coordinator2-140.125

So, McDaniels hasn't found a lot of success without Belichick to date. We'll soon see if he becomes another bust of the Belichick tree's coaching branch or whether he can shape up as his first season in Las Vegas goes on.

Josh McDaniels' coaching history: Timeline of stints, record as head coach with Broncos, Colts & Raiders | Sporting News (2024)


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