Pat Shurmur is poised to become the 18th head coach of the Giants, according to the NFL Network.
The Vikings’ offensive coordinator still has to finish the postseason run with his team, but according to the network’s source, the Giants will offer him the job when he becomes available and Shurmur is expected to accept it. A source confirmed those expectations to Newsday on Monday but cautioned that minds can change and nothing is official.
Thanks to their thrilling comeback win over the Saints, the Vikings will play the Eagles on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. The Giants cannot officially speak with Shurmur again until next week, which is the bye week before Super Bowl LII. If the Vikings do advance to the Super Bowl, the Giants will not be able to name him coach until Feb. 5 at the earliest.
At least one of Shurmur’s potential future players was excited by the hire. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. retweeted a link to a story about Shurmur and the Giants with the comment: “God really works in mysterious ways . . . let the journey begin . . . I’m geeeked.”
Shurmur has a lot of what the Giants seem to be looking for in a head coach. The 52-year-old has developed a reputation as a “quarterback whisperer” throughout his 19-year NFL coaching career, and this season he helped to turn Case Keenum into a championship game quarterback.
In his first four seasons, Keenum played for three teams and had a passer rating of 78.4 with 24 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. In his first season with Shurmur, Keenum’s regular-season rating was 98.3 (seventh in the NFL), and he threw 22 TD passes and only seven interceptions to lead the Vikings to the No. 2 seed in the NFC. His record as a starter entering the season was 9-5. In 2017, it was 11-3.
Shurmur also spent three seasons as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. He guided Nick Foles (the opposing quarterback in Sunday’s NFC title game) to a breakout season in 2013, throwing 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions while posting the third-best rating (119.2) and third-lowest interception percentage (0.63) in NFL history.
In 2010, as offensive coordinator for the Rams, Shurmur helped first overall draft pick Sam Bradford set rookie records for completions (354) and attempts (590), and his 3,512 passing yards were the second-most ever by a rookie at the time. Bradford was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
All of that would be appealing regardless of whether the Giants want to stick with Eli Manning for the immediate future or invest their No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft in a potential franchise quarterback.
The Giants hope to capture some of that mojo after Ben McAdoo was unable to deliver on the promise of being an offensive spark. In McAdoo’s two seasons as coach, the Giants never scored as many as 30 points in a game. They finished 2017 ranked 21st in total yards (314.2) and 31st in points per game (15.4).
The Vikings were 10th in scoring (23.9 points), 11th in yardage (356.9) and seventh in rushing yardage (122.3-yard average). Minnesota also was ranked third in third-down conversion percentage (43.5, 94-for-216).
Shurmur brings experience, having coached the Browns in 2011-12 (with a 9-23 record). He has the CEO persona that general manager Dave Gettleman said he prefers, and he would be a stabilizing presence for a team rocked by on- and off-the-field drama the past two seasons.
Shurmur’s NFL coaching career began in Philadelphia, where he spent 10 seasons (1999-2008). He was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach from 2002-08, during which Donovan McNabb went to three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. Shurmur spent 1998 as the offensive line coach at Stanford and was the tight ends, special teams and offensive line coach at Michigan State from 1990-97.
A native of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Shurmur played at Michigan State and was All-Big Ten as a senior co-captain and starting center in 1987.
The Giants had three finalists for the job: Shurmur, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. McDaniels reportedly could be the next coach of the Colts and Patricia reportedly will be the next coach of the Lions.