As vocal as the last years began with “on notice” references and promises (until recently) unfulfilled, they New York Giants organization thankfully doesn’t handle things in a manner that most in today’s instant gratification society demand.
At long last, the disrespectful “Fire Killdrive” rants have reached their overdue death. It’s rare that the Giants do something impulsive and it’s even rarer that they do it hastily during the season. Former Giants offensive coordinator John Hufnagel was even given some type of dignity in late December 2006. Outright firing their offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride (that had the extensive and impressive 10-year background with quarterback Eli Manning) wasn’t going to happen in 2013. It isn’t the Giants' way — especially under Tom Coughlin.
What some speculate is that with the impending conflict between head coach Tom Coughlin and Giants owners, another loyalty may have prevailed. Perhaps Gilbride stepped up and claimed he would rather retire than have Coughlin fire him (or possibly walk away) from the team he ultimately restored to glory twice. As New York keeps most inner information close to their vest, the reality of any assumption may never be known. The bottom line is that the 62 year-old football coach was given some pride on his way out of this finer shade of blue.
“It’s hard to say, ‘It’s time’. To finally do it, it’s a very unnatural feeling," said Kevin Gilbride. “It is difficult to walk away after a season like that, no question. You made the adjustments and you continue to modify and adapt and do the things you had to do to give your guys a chance. But all of the success we’ve had offensively through the last five or six years, we just weren’t able to get it done this year with all of the things that took place. But the thing we never did, we never used it as an excuse or explanation. We just continued to battle through and to win seven of our last 10 the way we did, I was very proud of our coaches and players.
"I’ve enjoyed every minute of coaching. Certainly the last 10 years with the Giants has been a special time, to be part of the bringing the Super Bowls to New York and New Jersey and the Giants organization. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the development of some of the young players that we brought along, certainly starting with Eli. But (also) Steve Smith and Victor Cruz; they hadn’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since 1968 and we brought two back to them. That’s been fun. And I thoroughly enjoyed being part of those exciting last-minute drives that we seem to excel at. That 2011 season, we had six or seven of them, including the Super Bowl.”
“I have great respect for Kevin and Debbie and their family, so it’s not an easy thing to part ways,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “Kevin is a professional. He’s been an exceptional football coach for the New York Giants. He helped win two Super Bowl championships. Kevin was the play-caller in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He has done a great service to the franchise.”
One special person that cannot ever forget Gilbride is the Big Blue franchise quarterback.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Kevin,” said Eli Manning. “I’m really sad to see him retire. He has been with me from day one as my quarterbacks coach and then my coordinator. He really taught me everything I needed to learn to become an NFL quarterback. We’ve had so much success together, obviously winning our two Super Bowls. His offenses have had great success in this league for many, many years. He’s been a great coach and great friend over these 10 years, and I’m definitely going miss him on the field and in the meeting rooms.”
Facts are facts (as are stats) and while this 2013 season cannot be ignored, neither can the entire body of work.
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