After 10 seasons and two Super Bowl championships, New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has decided to officially retire from the NFL following the 2013 season. Under his play calling, Gilbride helped progress Eli Manning into the quarterback he is today, while also calling the shots for two of the most magical Super Bowl game winning drives in NFL history.
The retirement may have been pushed by ownership following the 7-9 season put forth by Big Blue, in large part due to the immense offensive struggles throughout the campaign. His schemes were widely regarded as “old school,” and in the modern day NFL, speculation was at its greatest that his style was very much outdated.
However, even with the season to forget of 2013, Gilbride enjoyed much success on the sidelines for the Giants. He coached up Eli Manning into one of the NFL’s best signal callers, one that ultimately won two Super Bowl MVP awards in 2008 and 2012.
His prior experience as a coach of football must not be forgotten as well. As a successful coach since the mid-70’s, Gilbride has had numerous jobs over the course of his career, beginning his coaching life as a linebackers coach for Idaho State University as a graduate assistant, in which he spent just one season in the position. He then was hired by Tufts University to become their linebackers coach for the 1976 and 1977 seasons, but following that job was when Gilbride came into his own.
Gilbride was offered the job of defensive coordinator for American International College for the 1978 and 1979 seasons to help bolster their struggling defense in hopes to contend out of the small college in Massachusetts. After that stint at AIC, he was hired by his alma mater of Southern Connecticut State as head coach and enjoyed great success, garnering an astounding 35-14-2 record in five seasons with the Owls.
With much success at SCU, Gilbride was recruited to serve as an assistant coach for the Ottawa Rough Riders, a Canadian football team in the 1980s. He helped the Rough Riders make the playoffs in his first season as an assistant coach, but failed to qualify for the postseason in his second season with the team.
Gilbride finished his collegiate career as a coach at East Carolina University as a passing game coordinator (which is a modern day quarterbacks coach), and was then promoted to offensive coordinator, while finishing the season a disappointing 3-8.
A large transition came in 1989, as he was hired as the quarterbacks coach for the Houston Oilers, a season where future Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon played exceptionally well, with a resounding 23 touchdowns and over 3,600 yards, a stat line that was unheard of in the then run heavy NFL. Gilbride was then promoted to offensive coordinator for the next five seasons, and his offense finished in the top five in each campaign. His time in Houston took a turn for the worst when fellow defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan threw a punch at Gilbride on a nationally televised game against the New York Jets.
In 1995, in the inaugural season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gilbride was hired as offensive coordinator, along with the hiring of Tom Coughlin as head coach. His offense helped provide a spark playoff run in the second season, making it all the way to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, but ultimately fell 20-6.
Gilbride was then given his first professional head coaching job with the San Diego Chargers following the surprise playoff run with the Jaguars. This was short-lived, however, due to two consecutive losing seasons, and he was ultimately fired in 1998.
The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to take a chance on Gilbride in 1999 to take the reigns of the offense, but to not much prevail, as his Steelers failed to crack the top 15 in offensive production in his two years with the organization. He was fired following the 2000 season.
As things were looking grim for the coach, Gilbride decided that it was in his best interest to pursue a career as an NFL analyst for ESPN, where he resided in 2001.
The following year, the Buffalo Bills gave Gilbride a call, in hopes that he would return to the NFL to continue coaching. He accepted, and he helped lead the Bills to an 8-8 record, and also set seven team records on offense. However, 2003 was not as successful, as his Bills ended the season ranked 30th on offense.
His most important move in his long football career came in 2004, as he accepted a job as a quarterbacks coach for the Giants to again team up with Coughlin, and to work with rookie Manning in hopes of developing him into the face of the franchise. Two years into his career with the Giants, he was promoted to offensive coordinator, and has since won two Super Bowl trophies.
At the age of 62, he decided to call it quits, and has had quite the career in the NFL with numerous teams and success leading offenses. Congratulations to Kevin Gilbride on a decorated career with two Super Bowl rings, and best of luck in the wonderful years of retirement in Florida.