‘Don’t ever talk about the Patriots like that’: How a perceived shot at the Patriots reportedly played a role in Josh McDaniels’s firing from Raiders


The Raiders fired McDaniels after a 3-5 start to the season late Tuesday night.

Josh McDaniels was reportedly upset with something Antonio Pierce said about the Patriots in his final days as coach of the Raiders. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A perceived shot at the Patriots appeared to play a role in Josh McDaniels’s ousting by the Raiders.

On the Thursday before McDaniels’s final game as head coach with the Raiders, there was a big “airing of grievances meeting” where players “just unloaded” on McDaniels, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. McDaniels turned to then-linebackers coach Antonio Pierce to try to ease the tension, having him speak to the players on behalf of the coaching staff.

“When Antonio Pierce got up there, he said, ‘Look guys, we have to have our own culture. It’s got to be about culture here,’” Glazer said on “Fox NFL Sunday.” “He brought up the old Giants team that beat the Patriots, Josh McDaniels’s team, in the Super Bowl in the 2007 season. He said, ‘No matter who we played, and we have a game plan, we can beat them. We’ve got to believe that. That’s not here. We’ve got to believe here with the Raiders that we can beat anybody.’”

The speech appeared to win over most members of the team as Pierce attempted to get them to believe again after their 3-4 start to the season. But McDaniels was irked about one particular aspect of Pierce’s speech, according to Glazer.

“Well, he finishes up that speech and everybody thinks they’re great, except for Josh McDaniels,” Glazer said. “Josh McDaniels then went over to him and said, ‘Don’t ever talk about the Patriots like that.’ Then, we really saw how divided that building got. That got up to Mark Davis, and Mark Davis said, ‘I’m going to choose the guy who believes that we can win every single week.’”

That meeting also appeared to have shaken McDaniels a bit, too. At practice later that day, McDaniels “wasn’t himself” and “let plays happen instead of correcting them with players feeling like he was there in body, but not in spirit,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on “NFL GameDay.”

McDaniels, who was on the Patriots’ coaching staff from 2001-08 and again from 2012-21, coached one last game with the Raiders, a 23-14 loss to the Lions on Monday. McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were fired by the team late Tuesday night, with Pierce being named the interim coach and rookie Aidan O’Connell taking over at quarterback for Jimmy Garoppolo.

The overnight dismissal of McDaniels, Ziegler, and other coaches will be costly for Davis. The Raiders owner will owe roughly $85 million to the staff members he fired earlier this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

But Davis isn’t worried about money and is more concerned about building a winning team, Schefter added in his report. McDaniels’s tenure in Las Vegas certainly wasn’t a winning one, with the team going 9-16 in his time at the helm.

Pierce and O’Connell will try to turn things around for the Raiders when they take on the 2-6 Giants on Sunday.