Since the franchise’s last Super Bowl, the New York Giants have had five head coaches and one playoff appearance. This offseason, the Mara and Tisch families brought in the brain trust of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll from the Buffalo Bills to try and change these meager results. Two games into the Daboll Era in New Jersey, the coach is already changing the culture, according to NFL insider Jay Glazer, and the G-Men are undefeated because of it.
The New York Giants have made bad decisions at head coach in the last six seasons
Since Tom Coughlin retired after the 2015 NFL season, the Giants have trotted out a series of uninspiring and seemingly overmatched head coaches.
This list started with Coughlin’s offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. He lasted just 28 games, putting up a record of 13-15 and overseeing the debacle of Eli Manning’s final seasons. After that, the team hired Minnesota Vikings OC Pat Shurmur. He lasted a little longer than McAdoo (32 games), but his record was a paltry 9-23.
Finally, the Giants brought in Joe Judge, the New England Patriots special teams coordinator. Judge got one more game than Shurmur (thanks to the expanded NFL schedule in 2021) and was one game better at 10-23.
After two years or less of this trio of incompetence, it looks like the Giants finally made a good decision with Brian Daboll. After just two weeks, he already looks like (at least) a competent head coach.
Brian Daboll is trying to change the culture for the New York Giants
In Week 1, Brian Daboll made the call of the week — and maybe the season so far. Down 20-19 after scoring a touchdown with 1:06 left on the road vs. the Tennessee Titans, Brian Daboll decided to go for two (and the win).
Saquon Barkley ran in the conversion to go up 21-20, and the team fended off a last-minute drive when Titans kicker Randy Bullock’s 47-yard field goal went wide.
On the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show, NFL insider Jay Glazer revealed a little of the behind-the-scenes goings on in the Giants organization.
“Brian Daboll told me the moment he got the ball back, and he knew, ‘I’m going for two if we score.’ Going for the tie was never an option,” Glazer shared. “He told the team the night before, ‘If we get chances to be overly aggressive in this game, we’re going to take those chances because I want to change the culture here.'”
That culture change continued in Week 2, as the Giants beat the Carolina Panthers in an ugly field goal fest, 19-16. Neither Daniel Jones (176) nor Baker Mayfield (145) had 200 yards passing, and star running backs Christian McCaffery and Saquon Barkley had good, not great, games.
In the end, though, it was the team with the new culture that came away with the W, and that’s good news for Giants fans.
The last culture-changer in New York brought Big Blue two Super Bowls
A decade of player-friendly head coaches Dan Reeves and Jim Fassel produced solid results in New York but never brought the Giants franchise its third Super Bowl win.
In 2004, the organization hired hard-nosed former Boston College and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. Once hired, the old-school disciplinarian did things like set all the clocks five minutes ahead in the Giants facilities to ensure punctuality from his players.
While Coughlin’s team didn’t make the playoff in his first season, he guided the team to the postseason the next three seasons, culminating in a miraculous Super Bowl win over an undefeated Patriots team on the David Tyree helmet catch.
Four years later, Coughlin, Eli Manning, and company did it again. The Giants upset Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots 21-17 to win the franchise its fourth Super Bowl title.
Time will tell if Brian Daboll has the same culture-changing magic as Tom Coughlin. With two wins in two games, though, Daboll is off to a solid start.