Indianapolis — Colts general manager Chris Ballard showed up for a news conference Wednesday — just not the one he expected.
Instead of introducing Josh McDaniels as the team’s new head coach, Ballard stood in front of reporters trying to explain why New England’s longtime offensive coordinator reneged on a deal he initially accepted.
But if Ballard’s disgust about losing his top choice wasn’t clear from the occasional glare or the strong pitch in his voice, he left no doubt with one parting shot.
“The rivalry is back on,” he said before leaving.
Exactly 24 hours after announcing McDaniels’ hiring on the team’s Twitter account and roughly 16 hours after he called back to tell Ballard he was out, the Colts’ search begins anew.
Their other finalist, Mike Vrabel, has already taken the Tennessee job. Another top-tier candidate, Mike Nagy, has already been hired in Chicago. Baylor coach Matt Rhule, who also interviewed for the job, is back on campus getting ready for spring football. And it’s unclear where the Colts might turn next.
“We have a list of candidates, I’ve had them from the get-go,” Ballard said. “There are other guys we wanted to interview, but because of the playoffs, we weren’t able to.
“We’ll move forward with them and we will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts — one that believes what we believe and wants to go where we want to go. I’m very confident in this.”
McDaniels has yet to speak publicly about what factored into the 11th hour about-face. But his return as New England’s offensive coordinator keeps a possible successor for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in house.
Belichick gave no indication after the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night that he plans to exit in 2018. And just last month he said that it was “absolutely” his intention to be back for his 19th season with the Patriots.
But at age 65 he’s also the second-oldest coach in the NFL, behind only Seattle’s Pete Carroll at 66.
Ballard didn’t bother asking McDaniels why he made the decision.
McDaniels decision didn’t just leave the Colts in the lurch.
Three assistant coaches had already been hired in Indy.
While Ballard said he likes all three and will honor their contracts by keeping them on the next coach’s staff, others strongly criticized McDaniels from walking away from them.
Philadelphia is gearing up and shutting down for its first-ever Super Bowl parade, with universities, schools and city offices all shuttering and mass transit being shifted to serve the needs of parade-going Eagles fans.
Practically the entire city will be closed for business for Thursday’s celebrations, including all museums, the Philadelphia Zoo and city courts.
... Operators of the Minneapolis stadium that hosted the Super Bowl have some seats to replace, including one taken by an Eagles fan who was spotted with a stolen seat at the airport.