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Kevin Gilbride learning the language of football on TV

Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride speaks with the

Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride speaks with the media before a day of team training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Aug. 12, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Kevin Gilbride was a football coach for four decades, but he never fit the tight-lipped stereotype embodied by his longtime boss with the Giants, Tom Coughlin.

The guy is chatty and amiable, which in theory should smooth his transition to television as an analyst for NBCSN.

"I hope so," he said last week. "That was my thinking behind it. I love the game too much, spent 40-plus years in it, and I didn't want to just walk away completely."

Gilbride, 63, retired as the Giants' offensive coordinator after last season and moved to Rhode Island, fulfilling a commitment to his wife to leave the daily grind.

NBCSN hired him to contribute to its "Pro Football Talk" show, on which he debuted last Thursday.

"I thought that having the background I have, I would certainly be aware of not just what was taking place but why it was taking place," he said. "Everyone sees whether a play worked or didn't work and might not quite fathom what went into the decision-making."

As with everyone new to television analysis, the biggest challenge for Gilbride will be boiling complex thoughts into brief, digestible nuggets that avoid jargon.

"There's no question I find myself falling guilty of that," he said. "Most easily is when there's tape on and you only have X amount of time to explain to the audience what's taking place. You revert to things that are second nature to you and language you used your entire adult life . . . It's best if I can limit it to one or two points at the very most and expand upon those points in layman's language.

"Definitely it is a challenge. I have found myself on more than one occasion using the language of the game as a coach or player would know it, but that's not the language necessarily familiar to the general public."

Gilbride then launched into a detailed, incisive description of the strategy that led up to Plaxico Burress' winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII -- at far greater length and complexity than would work on television.

Gilbride has many friends on the Giants' staff and roster, and his son Kevin is the tight ends coach. Will he be able to critique the team fairly this season?

"I certainly have some great relationships with some of the players that are there, although there are far fewer this year," he said. "I'm obviously pulling for them to do well. But I can say what needs to be said."

New York Sports