Kevin Gilbride was often a lightning rod for criticism during his run as the Giants' offensive coordinator. But as much as Giants fans second-guessed his play-calling, they ought to be grateful for Gilbride's work.
He was a major contributor to Eli Manning's development, and Gilbride can take plenty of credit for the Giants' success during their two Super Bowl championship seasons. After taking over for John Hufnagel in 2006, Gilbride was a settling influence on Manning, and their work together during the 2007 season -- especially late in the year, when Manning went into the playoffs with plenty of confidence -- was a huge factor in the team's Super Bowl success. Same in 2011, when Manning proved unstoppable in the postseason.
It's a good time for Gilbride to step away, especially after the Giants' offensive woes in 2013. But Gilbride was hardly the only one at fault here; injury problems at running back and on the offensive line, Hakeem Nicks' miserable season and limited production at tight end would have handcuffed any offensive coordinator.
The Giants would do well to bring in Mike Sullivan, who worked under Gilbride in New York before going to the Buccaneers as Greg Schiano's offensive coordinator. And if that happens, Sullivan will be sure to give credit to Gilbride for helping to shape his own play-calling ability. As he should; Gilbride, despite his foibles, can leave the game knowing that his overall body of work was commendable. And no one can take away those two rings.