One of the unfortunate facts of life for NFL assistant coaches is that when there is regime change above them, they are usually faced with the prospect of losing jobs and having to relocate their families to find new ones.
Such is the case for New York Giants assistants as Sunday’s season finale vs. the Washington Redskins approaches. GM Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo were fired several weeks ago. Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo probably has little hope of keeping the full-time job, and that means both he and the entire group of assistant coaches could be out of work next week.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is one of those coaches. He will finish up his 11th season with the Giants on Sunday, covering two stints with the team separated by a two-year run as Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator.
Sullivan tried on Thursday to sell the idea that he hadn’t thought much about what happens after Sunday. After reading his full quote, I’m not buying that idea.
“I haven’t thought about it a lot to be honest with you. So much of the focus has to be on the task at hand – the mission, which is this game. It’s been a very difficult year like we mentioned. All of the injuries, all the circumstances that have come about and through it all we continue to try to do the very best that we can and just trying to focus on solutions rather than pointing out the problems or what’s wrong,” Sullivan said. “I love this organization. I bleed Big Blue. You don’t spend 11 years in a place, have a couple Super Bowl trophies and not have special feelings. But, again, as far as the future, that’s not going to be for me to decide.
“Whatever decision is made, I’ll either have great memories and great gratitude for being here and move on to the next opportunity, the next challenge, with all kinds of energy and passion or have a chance to stay here and rebuild and get back to what the New York Giants are supposed to be. It’s been very, very sad in terms of all that’s happened. I mean, this is the New York Giants and going beyond what happens on the field as far as the record so forth, it’s a special place and it’ll be special again.”
Sullivan was Giants’ quarterbacks coach in 2010 and 2011. He came back as QB coach in 2015, and was offensive coordinator the past two years. His relationship with Eli Manning is a special one.
“I just feel so blessed and so fortunate and even though the results haven’t been there, what we would have liked, having the opportunity to work with Eli (Manning) and call the plays has just been a blessing and I’m eternally grateful for that,” Sullivan said.
As for Manning, his future with the Giants is also in doubt.
“I think every coach and player knows that there’s an expiration date on the contract and often times you ideally – I think players and coaches would like things to end on their terms,” Sullivan said. “More often than not it’s not the case, so I think it’s just part of the profession.”
It’s one of the tough parts, and assistant coaches like Sullivan are often simply caught in the crossfire.