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Let’s find the next coach of the Giants

It’s the Gentlemanly thing to do

NFL: Washington Redskins at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are need of a new coach. New general manager Dave Gettleman has already begun his search, using the head start of Ben McAdoo being fired in-season to give himself more time to evaluate candidates. But pretty soon, coaches are going to start to get hired as the Bears, Cardinals, Colts, Lions, and Raiders also have openings. The Giants don’t want to lose out on musical chairs.

So today we’ll help them narrow down their search. The Giants helped the Eagles out in 2016 when they hired Ben McAdoo and the Eagles had to go to their second choice, Doug Pederson. What better way to return the favor than to help them find a new coach.

The Giants are supposedly looking for a coach with extensive experience as a coordinator, if not as a head coach. Their list of coaches they interviewed so far or plan to interview reflects that: Jim Schwartz, Pat Shurmur, Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels are former head coaches and current coordinators, while Matt Patricia is an experienced coordinator. Eric Studesville and Steve Wilks (no, not the guy from The Jerry Springer Show) are short on coordinator experience, but have lengthy resumes as position coaches and connections to the Giants, Studesville having been the Giants running back coach from 2001-2003, Wilks having been with Gettleman in Carolina. More importantly, they’re black, which allows the Giants to pass the Rooney Rule so they can hire a white coach with coordinator/head coach experience without penalty.

So it’s pretty clear what the Giants are looking for: familiarity. It’s the Giants way. With one exception, every Giants coach since Bill Parcells was previously an assistant coach for the Giants, the exception being Dan Reeves, who had been a head coach for 12 seasons and reached 3 Super Bowls. Gettleman himself is a familiar face to the Giants, having spent 14 years with the team in personnel. His non-Rooney Rule list of coaches are almost exclusively retreads, allowing him to recycle many questions in the interviews as he asks them about what they’ve learned since they were a head coach and what they would change if they could. The list of candiates may open up after teams are eliminated this weekend. Knowing what we know, let’s find the man who can lead the Giants for the rest of this decade.

The five white coordinators the Giants are already targeting aren’t what the Giants are looking for. We can immediately eliminate Spagnuolo, who didn’t get the job in 2016 and had his defense implode this season. Next, we’ll cross off Patricia, whose entire NFL coaching career is with the Patriots. If you’re going to town to interview McDaniels, you might as well also talk to Patricia, but with just one coordinator job and it being under the shadow of Bill Belichick, his resume is too thin compared to the other candidates, and it’s too thin for what the Giants are looking for.

Jim Schwartz would weaken a division rival, and he has experience with drafting and developing a good QB in Matthew Stafford, but he had one winning season and his fiery demeanor that includes an infamous brouhaha with Jim Harbaugh is too much for the supposedly stoic Giants.

If the Giants want to move on from Eli Manning, McDaniels might be their man, having immediately decided that in Denver he didn’t want Jay Cutler but did want Matt Cassel but settled on Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Come to think of it, that’s a disqualifier.

Pat Shurmur has a lot of the experience the Giants are looking for: six seasons as a coordinator, two as a head head coach. And no matter which direction the team goes with Eli Manning, he should be comfortable: twice his team drafted a QB in the 1st round, and he’s coached veteran QBs at all his stops. But he was terrible as a head coach, and the one good season his QBs have had is almost certainly a fluke.

This is the problem with trying to find a new head coach: the pool of candidates is either untested coaches, or coaches who have been tested and failed. Even the successful coaches who are occasionally available are on the market because they recently failed. The Giants search is notably weak on success: the coaches they are interested in have combined for one winning season in 12 years as a head coach.

They’re going to need to expand their search. We’re going to need to expand the search. The Giants need a coach who has both experience and success. That means hiring a coach who probably is coming off a bad situation, but they need to look beyond recency bias and see the big picture. Gary Kubiak won 2 games in his last year in Houston, in his next job he won the Super Bowl. The Giants should be looking for that. If they’re keeping Eli Manning, they need a coach who has had success with a veteran QB. If they’re moving on, they need a coach with success breaking in a starter. We also know that the Giants organization values familiarity, so we’re looking for someone who was assistant coach for the team. Looking to the future, if this coach has a history of recruiting good assistant coaches, that could pay dividends later. And of course, he has to be white.

Given all of these prerequisites, one candidate stands out above the rest.

John Fox.

He checks all the boxes.

-Experience and success? Only six coaches have been to a Super Bowl with multiple franchises, and John Fox is one of them.

-Success with a veteran QB? Peyton Manning had his best season under Fox.

-Success breaking in a starter? He got to the Super Bowl in Jake Delhomme’s first year as a starter.

-Familiarity? Fox was the Giants defensive coordinator from 1997-2001, helping them get to Super Bowl XXXV, to say nothing of the Manning connection.

-Good staff? Adam Gase, Mike McCoy, Vic Fangio, Jack Del Rio, Dennis Allen, Jim Bob Cooter, and Eric Studesville all worked under Fox.

John Fox. He might not be the coach the Giants need, but he’s the coach they want.