Under the leadership of Joe Judge, the downtrodden New York Giants are coming off a 4-13 season. It led to New York firing its head coach after just two seasons.
Such is the nature of the beast for an irrelevant NFL franchise that has put up five consecutive losing seasons while boasting a combined record of 22-59 during that span.
With general manager David Gettleman having also announced his retirement, things are going to change big time in Jersey. Below, we look at five ideal candidates to become the next New York Giants head coach.
Related: Ranking NFL head coach openings
New York Giants hire Josh McDaniels
Whether it’s a recipe for success moving forward remains to be seen. What we do know is that these Giants are likely to move off Daniel Jones after just three seasons. He has not proven himself to be anywhere near a starter-caliber quarterback. Boasting an additional first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, there’s a chance that New York opts to go quarterback.
Could that dictate who the team hires as head coach? If so, McDaniels would make the most sense. He’s been a top-end candidate throughout the NFL since an ill-fated tenure with the Broncos from 2009-10. He has a history of leading elite offenses with the New England Patriots. While doubling down on a Patriots assistant after hiring Judge away from that organization might be a hard move from a PR perspective, McDaniels could be the guy to turn around the ship in Jersey.
New York Giants shock everyone, hire Doug Pederson
Let’s be honest here. The 53-year-old Pederson wouldn’t be a horrible hire for New York. Sure he bombed out in his final season with the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) record, but we’re talking about a Super Bowl champion head coach and someone who led Philadelphia to three consecutive winning seasons.
To put that latter point in perspective, the Giants have had one winning season since all the way back in 2012. Pederson is known for working with quarterbacks dating back to his days with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. He would bring both experience and previous success to a fledgling organization. Pederson has also received a ton of interest in this year’s coaching cycle. That can’t be lost on it all.
New York Giants promote Patrick Graham
Seen as a savant on the defensive side of the ball, the 42-year-old Graham has been considered an under-the-radar head coach candidate over the past couple cyles. He took over as New York’s defensive coordinator and associate head coach back in 2020 after one season as the Dolphins’ defensive head. Prior to that, Graham worked in assistant roles with the Packers, these very same Giants and the New England Patriots.
What does this all mean? Graham has a ton of experience. He has a reputation around the league and a built-in relationship with current Giants defenders. Regardless of who is calling the shots, Graham should be given a shot after the Giants moved off from Judge.
New York Giants bring in Byron Leftwich to turn around offense
A former NFL quarterback, Leftwich has been a hot name on the circuit. There’s good reason for this. Sure some will point to Tom Brady as being the primary reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has dominated. But it must be noted that this same unit put up huge numbers under Jameis Winston in Leftwich’s first season with the Buccaneers back in 2019.
Leftwich would give the Giants that young offensive mind that they have been missing. Regardless of who is under center, bringing in someone of this ilk could potentially turn around the fortunes of this long-downtrodden franchise.
New York Giants go big game hunting, hire Jim Harbaugh
There’s a number of reports out there suggesting that Harbaugh might bolt Michigan after five seasons and return to the NFL. Apparently, his camp has confirmed this behind the scenes after the Super Bowl head coach led the Wolverines to the College Football Playoffs this season.
While Harbaugh has been linked primarily to the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s not yet known how that situation is going to play out with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia having led Vegas to a surprising playoff appearance. In any event, Harbaugh moving on from college ball to coach in North America’s largest media market would make a ton of sense.