Hiring a Patriots Assistant Not A Guarantee of Success
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
Charlie Weis was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator from 2000 to 2004. New England won three Super Bowls during that time span as Weis led a potent offensive attack. He did such a good job that Notre Dame hired him to be their head football coach. In his final three seasons in South Bend, Weis won just 16 games and was fired.
It’s a similar story for former Patriots assistant coaches who have become head coaches in the NFL. Teams see the shiny luster of Patriots success in the latest hot assistant. He is hired with high expectations. Then, he fails proving that hiring a Patriots assistant doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
Eric Mangini Mangini rose through the ranks too quickly. He was a young secondary coach who became the Patriots defensive coordinator at the ripe age of 35. Mangini was the shiny new prospect of the day when he was hired by the New York Jets. He started with promise going 10-6 in his first season in New York. He followed that up with a 4-12 season and ended up fired. He was still shiny enough to get hired by Cleveland where he had two consecutive 5-11 campaigns and wound up unemployed once again.
Romeo Crennel While Weis was running the Patriots’ offense in the early 2000s, Crennel was in charge of the defense. Because of New England’s success, Crennel was hired away by the Cleveland Browns where he went 24-40 overall. That, of course, got him fired. He took over in Kansas City as the interim head coach in 2011 and was offered the job in 2012. After going 2-14, Crennel was fired once again. He was the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans this past season.
Josh McDaniels There may have been no other Patriots assistant as shiny as McDaniels, the then 35-year-old wunderkind. After serving as offensive coordinator of the Patriots for four seasons and leading the team to a number of NFL records, McDaniels was so hot the Denver Broncos hired him as their new head coach in 2008. The Broncos went a so-so 8-8 in Year 1. After a 3-9 start in Year 2, McDaniels didn’t even get the opportunity to finish the season. After a year with the Rams in St. Louis, McDaniels returned to the Patriots where he is still the team’s offensive coordinator. He is still a name mentioned with nearly every NFL head coach opening.
The Latest Matt Patricia rose through the New England system to become the team’s defensive coordinator in 2012. He served in that capacity for six seasons before being named the new head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2018. In his first season with the Lions, Patricia went 6-10. Detroit has struggled for years, so time will reveal his fate.
Lone Survivor The one former Patriots assistant to have any success at all has been Houston’s, Bill O’Brien. After serving as New England’s offensive coordinator, O’Brien took on the task of managing the Penn State program through the whole Jerry Sandusky ordeal. With the program in a good state, O’Brien jumped to the NFL and the Texans where, in five seasons, he has won three AFC South titles. He had his best season in 2018 going 11-5 but losing to Indianapolis in the Wild Card round. O’Brien’s overall record is 42-38.