It’s little surprise that Eli Manning will be quarterbacking the New York Giants come September 2018. What was surprising, however, was the Giants’ selection of what could be the last offensive coordinator of his NFL career.
After the Giants were denied permission by the Vikings to speak with Kevin Stefanski, their quarterbacks coach, many believed former Seattle’s offensive boss Darrell Bevell would take the job, while Philadelphia’s running backs coach Duce Staley was also mentioned as a possibility.
However, it’s Shula, son of NFL royalty, that has reportedly been chosen after his seven-year tenure with the Carolina Panthers ended with January’s wild card round loss in New Orleans.
The hiring, first reported by the NFL Network and is pending an official announcement from the Giants, now gives Big Blue three former Panthers personnel: general manager Dave Gettleman, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and Shula.
With the hiring of Shula, the Giants have earned themselves another “quarterback doctor” on their staff.
Cam Newton’s next start will be his first without Shula as either a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator, as Shula’s Carolina tenure began in 2011, when Newton was the top pick of the draft.
It was under Shula that Newton joined the brotherhood of elite NFL quarterbacks, beginning with one of the most illustrious rookie seasons in NFL history (4,757 total yards, 35 touchdowns) resulting in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Then there was Shula’s work with David Garrard in Jacksonville. Under his first year of a Shula offense in 2007, Garrard raised his passer rating by over 20 points, good for a 102.2 mark that was third in the league, behind only Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. The next year, Garrard set his career high in passing yards at 3,620.
Shula’s mark on Floridian football was not limited to the Jaguars. In Miami, Shula provided the most comfortable years of the post-Dan Marino era, guiding Jay Fielder to his best numbers.
To complete the Sunshine State trifecta, Shula worked alongside Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay as the team’s offensive coordinator, presiding over Trent Dilfer’s best numbers and helping put the Buccaneers on the NFL map.
If there was ever a time for the Giants to have two quarterback geniuses on the sideline, it’s now.
It’s a day Giants fans can never prepare themselves for, but Manning is nearing the end of his career.With Davis Webb already on board and a possible rookie coming in this year’s draft, having minds like Shurmur and Shula can only help in ensuring Manning leaves the game on ann upswing, perhaps setting a last run at a championship.
Once Manning’s day does come, the offensive coaching duo can then mentor the next generation, the new leader that the Giants hope will provide the same decade-plus stability at the most important position in sports.
Be it Webb, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or whoever the heir to the Manning empire may be, the Giants now have two accomplished teachers to take over the most important position on the team.