Having observed Josh McDaniels' interactions with the media and with his staff and players on the sidelines, I have realized that he is one of the most emotionally intelligent leaders I've ever seen. If you are not familiar with the term 'Emotional Intelligence' (or EI as I will refer to it from here on) here is a very basic definition:
The awareness of and ability to manage one's emotions in a healthy and productive manner.
EI is a relatively new area of study, in fact, it has only been recognized as a term and studied in depth since the early 1990's. If you are interested in digging deeper on the subject, I suggest reading the work of Mayer, Salovey, Cobb, and Caruso.
Bringing the subject back around to Coach McDaniels and the Broncos
It is fairly obvious to anyone who has paid attention that McDaniels doesn't exactly fit the mold of your standard NFL coach. It has nothing to do with his age. To outsiders, on the surface he appears to be aloof or arrogant; however, if you ask anyone on the inside who really has looked the man in the eye, I'm sure they would tell you there is something more under the surface. McDaniels' leadership core is based on his extraordinary EI.
Looking at the basic definition of EI, you might say 'okay, so he's aware of his emotions and can manage them in a healthy way.' Well, that isn't the whole story- McDaniels isn't only keyed in on his own emotions, he has an innate ability to read the emotions of those around him. Further, he knows exactly how to work with people on an interpersonal level to get the very best out of them. This is why the media has been so very wrong about McDaniels- they have based everything they've said on the surface observations they've had access to.
Player after player, pundit after pundit- their perceptions of McDaniels change immediately after they have met McDaniels in person. I've never met McDaniels, but look at the record. Players have admitted they had negative preconceptions of McDaniels, yet after they met the Coach, they are 100% behind the man. Obviously, when you meet any leader worth his/her salt in person and you will come away with an understanding of why that person is a leader. McDaniels appears to far exceed that basic level. Look what happened with Brandon Marshall after McDaniels finally broke through to him. I predict that Marshall will be one of the most loyal players McDaniels will have in the long run. Marshall himself is very strong-willed/ yound and immature, but McDaniels recognized he could eventually reach him, thereby forming the strongest of bonds.
McDaniels' EI is such that he has been able to perfectly identify the players who he can effectively reach on an EI level. He removed those players who he could not reach (Jay Cutler.) Many of his players are above average EI as well. Kyle Orton and Brian Dawkins stand out. You might say, 'Brian Dawkins, are you crazy? He's a maniac all over the field and certainly doesn't seem to be in control of his emotions!' Well, actually, Brian Dawkins is a maniac on the field, but he effectively uses his emotions to lead the entire defense on the field like no other. Think about it. Look at Kyle Orton, when faced with the daunting task of driving his team down the field for a second 90+ yard 4th quarter drive in order to win the game, he embraced his own emotions, recognized the emotions of his teamates, cracked a joke and went on a calm Sunday drive to win the game. Also, I love that McDaniels shows his emotions on the sidelines. Don't think for a minute that he lost control when he pumped his fist 4 times while screaming his bloody head off- there was more to it than that.
McDaniels has EI at the core of everything he does. Mr. Bowlen could see that when he hired him. I believe that Shanahan was the greatest coach in Broncos history; however, he fell short of creating a dynasty in Denver. I never got the sense that Shanahan was high EI. It is for this reason, I believe McDaniels has a good shot at breaking records in Denver.
EI-that's why you can call him McGenious