BOSTON (CBS) — When NFL owners gathered to vote on — among other things — a policy change that would allow teams to hire coaches off other staffs during the postseason, it was assumed that such a movement was born from Josh McDaniels’ sudden change of heart in February. McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, agreed to become the Colts’ head coach before deciding to remain in New England after meeting with Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft.
Colts GM Chris Ballard was very professional in his public comments about the matter, but still, most people assumed that he was a big proponent of the new rule proposal. Yet after that rule was tabled by owners, Ballard said he was not in favor of adopting it.
“When you’re a playoff team, you’re trying to eliminate all the distractions that you can,” Ballard said, per The Indianapolis Star. “And we’re going to be a playoff team and we’re going to have these issues. It becomes a slippery slope. We have rules in place for a reason. I think they’re good rules. It gives you a chance to interview and then, after the season, whatever happens, happens. In our case, he changed his mind and we moved on.”
Ballard — who worked quickly to hire Frank Reich as the Colts’ new head coach — said the McDaniels matter may have been overblown by people outside the organization.
“Even though it was painful, and everybody reacted, I kind of didn’t see what the big deal was. You move to the next scenario. That’s just what we do,” Ballard said. “And that playoff team who has worked their [butt] off, they’re trying to win, man. The rules are in place to protect them. It’s already a distraction, but now you’re creating a whole other issue.”
The rivalry, apparently, is not fully back on.