There’s a fantastic story in Boston Magazine about the friendship between Brad Stevens and Josh McDaniels (Patriots offensive coordinator for you non-New England Celtics fans):
So how do two of New England’s most famous coaches like to spend their free time in the offseason together? “Dad stuff” is how Stevens characterizes it. They’ve barbecued with their families, and this summer they managed to squeeze in a round of golf. Josh has visited Brad during summer league play in Las Vegas. Their adolescent sons — 14-year-old Jack McDaniels and 12-year-old Brady Stevens — have crossed paths in spring and summer basketball. Despite the fact that they’re originally from the Cleveland area, the McDaniels family now cheers for the Celtics. This past spring, they attended a couple of playoff games, including Game 7 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. After that defeat, McDaniels sent his friend a sympathetic message, just as Stevens had done for him following Super Bowl LII.
This is great. Although I’m not sure why I’m captivated by this bromance. These guys are (part) humans, after all. I guess it’s kinda like seeing your grade school teacher in the supermarket.
They maintain a steady stream of conversation through regular phone calls, and their chain of text messages is filled with ideas about how to face hard decisions. They are chasing the legacies of Red Auerbach and Bill Belichick — one memorialized with a bronze statue near Faneuil Hall, the other still carving out his body of work — both among the most legendary coaches in their sports. Now they’re helping each other navigate the sports landscape of New England, where they’re learning to carry the expectations of two dynasties on their shoulders.
If you were to review any text messages between John and me over the past decade, you wouldn’t find anything close to philosophical advice on hard decisions. It’s nothing but blog talk, bad jokes and political rants. But then again, we’re not young Jedis climbing the ranks in professional sports:
If McDaniels and Stevens are young Jedis, Belichick, with his seven Super Bowl rings (five as Patriots head coach, two from his stint with the New York Giants), is their Yoda. Their quest to replicate his success leads every conversation between the two men back to coaching, as they exchange precious morsels of information that might help them take that next step toward the summit.
“You walk into Patriot Place,” Stevens is fond of saying, “and you walk out feeling inadequate.” Adds McDaniels: “Bill’s taught me most everything I know about how to do things at this level, and I learn from him every single day.”
Your day is coming, Brad. Very soon.