A snowstorm in Minneapolis canceled Pat Shurmur’s scheduled flight to New Jersey on Monday evening, but it could not derail his appointment as the head coach of the Giants.
The team made official what had been reported for the past week, that Shurmur will be the 18th coach in franchise history. Less than 24 hours after the end of the season for the Vikings, for whom he was the offensive coordinator in Sunday night’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles, Shurmur agreed to a contract for the new position.
According to a source, the contract is for five years.
Shurmur, 52, will be introduced at a news conference Friday morning at the team’s facility, but he’ll already have spent several days on the job by then. Instead of traveling to New Jersey, Shurmur is scheduled to fly to Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday — weather permitting — to join general manager Dave Gettleman at the Senior Bowl.
Shurmur originally was expected to have a perfunctory second interview with the Giants on Tuesday morning before getting the offer and accepting it. He won’t get that second interview, and the Giants, it seems, are not having any second thoughts.
“I can’t wait to start working with Pat,” Gettleman said. “I know he will provide the type of leadership we need to take our team back to where it belongs. I have followed Pat’s career for many years, and he has had great success wherever he has been. What struck me during our conversation is that being the head coach of the New York Giants is not too big for him. He is made for this moment and this opportunity.”
Shurmur first interviewed for the position Jan. 6 in Minnesota while the Vikings were on their postseason bye. He was one of six candidates to interview for the job, which became vacant after Ben McAdoo was fired on Dec. 4.
“We are pleased to welcome Pat to our organization and look forward to the leadership he will provide for our team,” co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a statement. “He has an outstanding track record in developing young players, and it is clear his players respond to his guidance and direction. We interviewed six talented and qualified candidates, and we feel like Pat, with his vision and experience, is the right person to lead our team.”
Shurmur, in a statement, said: “I want to thank John Mara and Steve Tisch for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of the New York Giants. I am looking forward to getting to work with Dave Gettleman and [assistant general manager] Kevin Abrams and starting the process to once again build a championship team. I have been fortunate to work with many great coaches and players, and I am thankful for those relationships. I would like to thank my family and friends for their tremendous support.”
A number of immediate issues face Shurmur. The first will be building a staff, and a league source told Newsday that former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio is a strong candidate to be named defensive coordinator. Former Panthers special-teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is expected to be named to that position with the Giants.
Shurmur also will have to weigh in on the future of Eli Manning, although he is expected to support his return to the team for the 2018 season.
Manning met with Gettleman on Jan. 12, and ESPN reported Sunday that Gettleman’s preference is to keep Manning on the team with two years remaining on his contract. That does not guarantee Manning the starting job, only a chance to compete for it. With the second overall pick in the April draft and Shurmur’s reputation for guiding young quarterbacks, the Giants could decide to invest in their quarterback of the future. When that future begins could be September 2018 or any time after that.
Shurmur has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, including two as head coach of the Browns in 2011 and 2012, when he had a 9-23 record. His tenure with the Vikings did not end well, as they were shut out by the Eagles for the final 55:14 in a 38-7 loss. But he helped a team that lost its starting quarterback and starting running back to finish 10th in the NFL in scoring (23.9 points a game) and seventh in rushing yardage (122.3 average).
The Giants also interviewed Steve Spagnuolo, their defensive coordinator the last three seasons, who served as interim head coach for the final four games, along with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and former Broncos associate head coach Eric Studesville (whom the Dolphins hired as running backs coach). The Cardinals hired Wilks on Monday, and McDaniels and Patricia are expected to be hired by the Colts and Lions, respectively, after the Super Bowl.With Calvin Watkins