Josh McDaniels and Adam Gase were roommates at Michigan State. They’re also former colleagues turned rivals.
They worked two years together in Denver, where McDaniels was head coach and Gase ran the receivers room. They didn’t win a ton of games together (going 11-17) but when the Broncos fired McDaniels, they kept Gase on staff.
Nearly a decade later, it’s Gase in charge of his own team, and McDaniels who’s the assistant -- but a darn good one.
Sunday is his sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2001, and third as New England’s offensive play-caller.
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In the days leading up to the big game, McDaniels reflected on his time with Gase -- and what he expects out of Miami’s second-year coach.
“Hard worker. Highly intelligent. Fun guy. Good friend,” McDaniels said. “When we were in Denver together, grinding. There were no hours that were too long for Adam. If it meant putting in more, he did it.”
Gase, McDaniels said, relates to his players very well and understands all types of different people.
“Creative guy,” McDaniels added. “Not afraid to try new things. Not at all surprised by the success that he had in his first year at all. That's Adam. Adam's a guy who's going to figure it out. He's going to get the best out of his team or his group or his position, whatever he's coaching. It'll be another tough year competing against him next year.”
McDaniels and Gase remain in touch, even though they’ll be battling for the AFC East crown for the forseeable future. He’s 2-0 so far; the Patriots outscored the Dolphins 66-38 in 2016.
As for his best Gase story? McDaniels chuckled but demurred.
“Obviously, we compete hard against each other when we have the opportunity to play one another,” McDaniels added. “Adam's always trying to get better. I admire what he's done. He's certainly deserving of the opportunity that he had in Miami. I'm happy for his success. We compete our butt off against each other a couple times a year, and I don't think that will change.”