Giants fans have waited quite some time to meet their next coach. After Ben McAdoo was fired Dec. 4, New York watched the G-men lose three straight on their way to a 3-13 finish, the second worst record in the league. Then, after ownership and new GM Dave Gettleman picked Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the team had to wait for Minnesota to bow out of the playoffs before officially announcing the decision. And now, Shurmur and Gettleman are in Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices, delaying Shurmur's introductory press conference until Friday. But why wait? New York, let's meet Pat Shurmur.
Five fast facts on the man now in charge of righting a marquee franchise: (1) He played center at Michigan State, (2) he spent nine months at IBM before entering coaching, (3) his late uncle, Fritz, spent 24 years coaching in the NFL, (4) he went 9-23 in Cleveland, his only previous head coaching stop (excluding one game—a win over the Giants in Tom Coughlin's final game—as interim Eagles coach), and (5) he's an Aries. Following his struggles with the Browns amid a lockout and an ownership change, Shurmur had success as an OC, getting career years out of Nick Foles, Case Keenum, and the like.
In New York, he has reportedly committed to keeping 37-year-old Eli Manning in town, but will certainly be evaluating Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and the other potential offensive cornerstones on display in Alabama. The Giants finished 27th in offensive DVOA in 2017. As for how Shurmur will handle the spotlight, here's what his cousin, Sally Ann, told northjersey.com. "If the New York media wants a down-to-earth guy who doesn't pull any punches, that's what you're gonna get. He's not flashy. He's just a football coach, very, very humble, and we think a very, very good one."
Big Blue is ready to find out.
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1. The Senior Bowl is—as always—packed with stories this year, like UCF's one-handed Shaquem Griffin, or Braxton Berrios, the University of Miami wideout hoping to overcome the fact that he's the shortest player in Mobile. If you're looking for a more detailed recap of the day's practices, Cleveland.com has you extremely covered.
2. In Glendale, Ariz., Thursday, a mysterious man told a marketing brand manager for KT Tape, "You may have just saved the game for us." Three days later, a hunk of that black tape was on Tom Brady's throwing hand, helping him win another AFC title.
3. New Cardinals coach Steve Wilks did not provide any hints about the type of scheme he hopes to run in Arizona, but the hires he makes over the next two weeks should give plenty of clues.
4. You're going to be hearing it a lot over the next 10 days, so why not learn the short history of the Eagles' fight song now.
5. “When I stand in front of these guys (when players report) on April 2 and they look at their head coach, I will have been every single one of those players in those seats," Mike Vrabelsaid. "I will have been the rookie that got drafted, that was having a tough time, that maybe wasn’t developing as fast as the coaches would have liked. I will have been the core special teams player. I will have been the starting linebacker that was expected to make some plays because he was a high-priced player. I’ll have been the aging veteran that needed to be a great leader, or I’ll have been the team captain. So I’m going to have a great opportunity to share my story, and what I’ve been through in each one of those experiences.”
6. Ratings for the conference championship games were down eight percent compared to last year.
7. Seven-year defensive line coach Eric Washington will replaceSteve Wilks as Panthers defensive coordinator.
8. The Patriots might be portrayed as the bad guys, but they're filled with compelling characters—players like Ricky Jean Francois.
9. Before the Jaguars can try to avenge their AFC championship loss, they'll need to make some tough decisions.
10. In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Paul Zeise argues that the Steelers should franchise tagLe'Veon Bell.
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Yes, Deadspin spoke to the guy in that viral Eagles-fan-meets-pole video. Asked to explain what happened, he said, "I just saw Eagles fans, and it got me all excited."
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