Before Kevin Gilbride decided to announce his retirement from the NFL and walk away from his duties as New York Giants offensive coordinator, there was a lot of speculation that Gilbride was going to be fired by the team.
The reports came after the Giants finished 7-9 and struggled terrible on offense this season and Giants co-owner John Mara finally hit a breaking point in which he called the offense a broken unit after the season concluded two weeks ago and while Tom Coughlin was safe from getting the axe as head coach, Gilbride was far from safe and it looked like he would be shown the door.
However, as Ralph Vacchaino of the New York Daily News reported, even though Eli Manning regressed a bit in 2013 and the entire offense was extremely predictable, the 67-year-old Giants head coach was ready to fight to keep Gilbride around before he retired.
Tom Coughlin knew John Mara wanted to shake up the Giants’ “broken” offense by firing Kevin Gilbride. But Coughlin apparently wasn’t willing to let his offensive coordinator go without a fight. That fight never happened, because Gilbride decided to retire instead, but according to two sources familiar with the situation, Coughlin was prepared to defend his embattled offensive coordinator in his sit-down with Mara and GM Jerry Reese on Thursday. Knowing Mara’s intention to replace Gilbride, Coughlin told at least one person “I’m not going to let that happen.
The battle between Coughlin and Mara never transpired during the team's organizational meetings, as Gilbride decided to take the graceful way out and essentially, may have saved Coughlin from either walking away and quitting or even worse, getting forced out by Mara if push came to shove an Coughlin wouldn't budge on a coaching change from his staff.
Shortly after the season, Coughlin had met with Gilbride to discuss his plan to fight for Gilbride's job, but as Vacchaino had pointed out, Gilbride had already made up his mind and wanted to be closer to his family back in Rhode Island; the same family that he was away from because Gilbride's wife was taking care of their daughter and granddaughter.
The 62-year-old Gilbride had been with the Giants dating back to the 2004 season when he was the quarterbacks coach until 2006, then was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007 after Coughlin relieved John Hufnagel of his play-calling duties on the team. Gilbride's ties to Coughlin go back as far as 1995 when Gilbride was the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-1996.
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