The Giants have their next head coach: Pat Shurmur, the conductor of Sunday’s Miracle in Minnesota.
Shurmur, the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, dialed up Sunday’s now-famous “Seven Heaven” play call that resulted in Case Keenum’s 61-yard walk-off touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to send Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game next Sunday night in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
And then Monday, both CBS Sports and NFL Network reported that Shurmur is expected to become the Giants’ next head coach. CBS Sports called Shurmur to the Giants “a virtual lock,” and while the Giants by rule can’t sign Shurmur until the Vikings are eliminated, NFL Network said Shurmur “is expected to accept the job when it is offered.”
The Arizona Cardinals also had interviewed and coveted Shurmur, 52, but as the Daily News first reported, Shurmur rose into the Giants’ top tier of candidates through the interview process, along with New England Patriots coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels.
And while Patricia (Detroit Lions) and McDaniels (Indianapolis Colts) are headed elsewhere, Shurmur’s combination of head coaching and coordinator experience, offensive background and quarterback work appeal to the Giants.
Shurmur, a 19-year NFL coaching veteran, is part of the Andy Reid coaching tree. By reputation he has a more laid back, steady personality that might not light the New York market on fire but could provide the steadiness the franchise needs after 2017 ran off the rails.
As a head coach, Shurmur has a 9-23 record in two years with Cleveland (2011-12) that arguably looks favorable in the context of what the Browns have become. He also went 1-0 as Eagles interim head coach filling in for the fired Chip Kelly in 2015, beating the Giants of course, 35-30.
He has extensive experience as a coordinator, including as Steve Spagnuolo’s offensive coordinator in St. Louis in 2009 and 2010, which could keep Spags with the Giants after enduring the final four games of this past season as interim head coach replacing McAdoo.
And Shurmur has a long resume of quarterback coaching, from Donovan McNabb to Nick Foles to this season’s success with Case Keenum (His top two quarterbacks in Cleveland were Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden).
Shurmur also has football in his blood. He is the nephew of the late Fritz Shurmur, who coached in the NFL for 24 years and was Green Bay’s defensive coordinator from 1994-98, winning Super Bowl XXXI, under head coach Mike Holmgren with Reid as the tight ends/assistant offensive line coach.
If the Vikings lose Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, the Giants would be free to hire Shurmur immediately. Co-owner Steve Tisch wasn’t present at Shurmur’s Jan. 6 interview in Bloomington, Minn., so in that scenario Shurmur could meet Tisch and finalize contract details on Monday and be introduced Tuesday in East Rutherford.
If Minnesota wins and advances to Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium as the first team ever to play a Super Bowl on its home field, the Giants would be permitted to hold a follow-up interview with Shurmur the week of Jan. 22-27, at which point Tisch likely would meet Shurmur before the Vikings played the big game and he took the Giants job.
Either way, the Giants have a coach, which should give GM Dave Gettleman a start on his next orders of business: assessing the Giants’ roster and evaluating free agency, with an eye on the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL draft.
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