Pope Benedict XVI leaves after leading the Vesper prayer with...

Pope Benedict XVI leaves after leading the Vesper prayer with members of Rome's universities at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (Dec. 1, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

When I woke up this morning to the headlines that read “Pope Resigns,” there were two thoughts that crossed my mind. The first was I wondered who the Giants would get to replace him, and the second was I wondered why the resignation of a tight ends coach was making such a big splash on national and international news desks.

I have since learned that the Pope in “Pope Resigns” is the actual Pope and not Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope. Which is good. For the Giants.

But it got me to thinking: How many Popes have there been since Mike Pope began his coaching career? Mike Pope will (unless he, too, suddenly resigns) coach his 31st NFL season in 2013 and his 23rd with the Giants. His service is the longest of any coach in franchise history, and he is the only coach to have appeared in all five of the Giants’ Super Bowls.

Anyway, since he first became a Giant in 1983, there have only been two actual Popes. The longevity of John Paul II covered most of that span. So, in order to come to a more impressive number, I decided to find out how many Popes there have been since Mike Pope began his collegiate coaching career with Florida State in 1970. Bingo

It turns out that the next Pope – presumably elected next month – will be the fifth since Mike Pope started coaching at the college level. It’s the same number if you go back to Mike Pope’s first coaching job, at Lenoir (NC) High School in 1964.

So that’s all I have about Popes. Here is a list of Mike Pope’s coaching resume since be became a college coach in 1970 and the Popes who have served since then.

1970-74 Florida St. receivers
1975-77 Texas Tech receivers
1978-82 Mississippi receivers/kickers
1983 Giants assistant special teams/defensive backs
1984-91 Giants tight ends
1992-93 Bengals tight ends/offensive coordinator
1994-96 Patriots running backs/tight ends
1997-99 Redskins tight ends
2000-present Giants tight ends

Paul V 1963-78
John Paul I 1978
John Paul II 1978-2005
Benedict XVI 2005-2013
??? 2013-

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