NBC sports host Tony Dungy talks prior to an NFC divisional playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons on January 13 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. File photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo
After labeling Josh McDaniels as an "offensive genius" last month, Tony Dungy offered a much harsher assessment of the New England Patriots offensive coordinator after he recently spurned the Indianapolis Colts.
McDaniels had a change of heart and opted to remain with the Patriots on Tuesday evening, hours after the Colts scheduled a press conference slated for Wednesday to announce him as the team's next head coach. That press conference has been cancelled.
Dungy, who was a former Colts coach, came out swinging on Twitter.
"I can tell you there is NO excuse big enough to justify this," Dungy wrote of McDaniels' decision. "It's one thing to go back on your word to an organization. But having assistant coaches leave jobs to go with you then leave them out to dry is indefensible. For COMFORT??"
Dungy sang a decidedly different tune on WISH-TV last month when asked about McDaniels, who was the likely candidate to become the Colts coach. Indianapolis could not hire McDaniels at that time as the Patriots were still playing in the postseason.
"Josh McDaniels I think will do an exceptional job of putting a very good football team out there," Dungy said at the time. "'Offensive genius,' that term gets thrown around a lot, but you look at what New England has done, and yes, they have had Tom Brady who has been exceptional. But putting together offenses when it was running-based, when it was throwing to the tight end Rob Gronkowski... Tom Brady gets hurt; Jimmy Garoppolo goes in; we have a different offense. Playing well, (Garoppolo) gets hurt, Jacoby Brissett goes in. Another different offense played well. So he'll tailor things to Andrew Luck and the personnel that they have there.
"But I have talked to Josh a few times since his time in Denver and I think he learned a lot there. I think he's going to be outstanding. Not only for the team, but in the community as well."
McDaniels was fired during his second year with the Denver Broncos, with whom he posted an 11-17 mark during the 2009-10 seasons, his first stint as an NFL head coach.
The 41-year-old McDaniels has captured five Super Bowl titles in New England after joining Bill Belichick's staff in 2001.
McDaniels began his NFL coaching career as a personnel assistant for the Patriots in 2001. He became a defensive assistant two years later before being named quarterbacks coach in 2004 and offensive coordinator in 2005. After a brief stop with the then-St. Louis Rams as their offensive coordinator in 2011, McDaniels returned for a second stint with the Patriots in the same position in 2012.
In his nine seasons as Patriots offensive coordinator, McDaniels had six top-10 rankings in total offense.