December 30, 2019
The New York Giants fired coach Pat Shurmur on Monday after two seasons on the job, but the team is keeping general manager Dave Gettleman.
Giants fire coach Shurmur, keep GM Gettleman
Shurmur was told of his dismissal a little before 9 a.m., according to a source. Shurmur still plans to meet with the team at 11 a.m. ET, and his assistants will be met with individually later Monday.
Baylor coach Matt Rhule is a focus of the Giants' coaching search, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Rhule served as an assistant offensive line coach for the Giants in 2012.
The Giants have requested permission to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers also have requested permission to interview McDaniels, the source said. The Giants also have requested permission to interview Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a source told Schefter. The Panthers also have requested an interview with Bieniemy.
Shurmur amassed a 9-23 record. His .292 career winning percentage (19-46) in four seasons as head coach with the Giants and Browns -- and one game as Philadelphia Eagles interim coach -- is the seventh lowest in NFL history.
The Giants (4-12) finished in fourth and third place, respectively, in the NFC East each of the past two seasons with Shurmur at the helm. They earned top-six picks in the draft for their struggles.
The Giants issued a statement from team president John Mara and chairman Steve Tisch on Monday.
"Steve and I have had many extensive discussions about the state of the Giants," Mara said. "This morning, we made the very difficult decision that it would be in the best interest of the franchise that we relieve Pat of his duties. The last three seasons have been extremely disappointing for the organization and our fans. Pat has been a successful and highly-respected NFL coach for 21 years and he is not solely responsible for our record. But we came to the conclusion it is best to have a fresh start with the coaching staff. We very much appreciate how much Pat has done for this franchise. He is a man of character and integrity and the team has conducted itself with pride and professionalism."
The statement also said that Mara and Tisch will aim for a "rapid and substantial turnaround" and think that Gettleman is "the right person to lead us going forward."
"Dave has a long record of success," Mara said. "We think he's capable of putting a great team together and he's going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we're going to discuss that."
Shurmur knew he was on the hot seat down the stretch this season.
"This is a wins business -- I get it, I get it," Shurmur said after the Giants' 34-17 loss to the Eagles on Sunday. "We've been talking about [my job] for, I think, about six weeks. You've been asking me the same questions for six weeks. So I don't know if I'm getting good at answering them, but I'm answering them a lot. But that's the reality of this business. When you don't win, that's the line of questioning. Listen, I get that, I get that."
Shurmur was working with limitations. He was saddled this year with a roster devoid of top-level talent (especially on defense) and a quarterback group that had an aging franchise legend, Eli Manning, and a promising but mistake-prone rookie, Daniel Jones. The Giants also didn't have a game in which all their top offensive players were on the field with Jones. They had more than $40 million in dead money, and 10 rookies started at least one game.
Shurmur leaves despite believing the team is in a better place now than when he arrived off a 3-13 season in 2017.
"I think so. I do," he said. "These guys battled. We can talk about the dynamics of how the team was built and where it's going. We're building a team. A lot of dead money this year, a lot of cap space next year, and some prime picks where we can use the draft wisely and make decisions on making this team better with impact players.
"You need to have a quarterback, you need to be able to play defense, you need to run the ball. On defense, you need to have impact players that, when the game is on the line, can do things. We have some strung throughout this roster and we'll have a chance to go get more. I think that's exciting."
The Giants didn't have nearly enough. It led to Shurmur being relieved of his duties just two years into a five-year deal despite quickly making the move from Manning to Jones early this season.
Shurmur was hired in 2018 after a successful run as the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator. Gettleman was intent on fixing the team's culture after firing Ben McAdoo.
Gettleman, also a new hire at the time, even wrote the word "adult" at the top of his notepad during Shurmur's interview. Gettleman thought it was the right hire.
Shurmur's time with the Giants didn't come without incident. His relationship with Odell Beckham Jr. soured quickly during his first season as head coach, to the point that the star wide receiver was traded last offseason to the Browns. Shurmur also had a run-in with edge rusher Olivier Vernon, who also was traded to the Browns.
The Giants weren't able to restock their roster and get back to their winning ways with Shurmur and Gettleman in charge. As a result, they will now be looking for their fourth head coach in the past six years. The Giants have the worst record in the NFL (12-36) since the start of the 2017 season.
Shurmur, 54, knew the heat was on in recent weeks when the Giants were in the midst of a nine-game skid. He was going to be judged by the win-loss record, no matter how many rookies were playing prominent roles this season.
"I'm well aware of it. I'm well aware of it," he said after a home loss to the Green Bay Packers. "People will change what they think of us and me when we win games. I'm a realist when it comes to that, and I get it. ... I expect fans to be upset, because we are, too. But we go about trying to fix it."
It never happened. Shurmur will not get the opportunity to see through the time and investment placed in Jones. The former quarterbacks coach was a major voice in the room when the Giants selected Jones -- despite intense criticism -- No. 6 overall in April's draft. So was Gettleman.
Jones flashed potential working with Shurmur throughout his rookie season. This was Shurmur's best case for remaining the Giants' coach, at least for another season. Mara said before the season the futures of his coach and general manager would "absolutely" be tied to their new quarterback.
Jones finished with 24 touchdown passes and 23 turnovers in his rookie season. It wasn't enough for Shurmur to retain his job with losses piling up and the fan base enraged by the results on the field.
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