For fans of the New York Giants, this is going to come as absolutely no surprise; but for casual NFL fans or diehards of other teams, seeing the names of Mike Pope and Pat Flaherty listed amongst the top assistant coaches from around the league might cause them to raise an eyebrow. But it shouldn't.
On Friday, the National Football Post listed six assistant coaches who they deem to be the best of the bunch. Assistant coaches that should, eventually, land themselves a head coaching job. And the aforementioned Mike Pope and Pat Flaherty were right at the top.
Mike is the dean and regarded as the best tight ends coach in the NFL. He has been coaching tight ends in the league since 1983 when Bill Parcells hired him for the Giants staff. He left New York in 1991 and spent some time with Cincinnati, New England and Washington before returning to the Giants in 2000. Along the way, he has coached five Pro Bowl players (Mark Bavaro, Rod Holman, Ben Coates, Stephen Alexander and Jeremy Shockey). These are some of the best to ever play the position. At the Combine every February Pope is the man who oversees the tight end workout. On top of being a great coach he is a great person.
It’s no secret in league circles that the Giants have one of the best coaching staffs in the league. Flaherty is one of the reasons. This will be Pats 14th year coaching in the NFL after a 20-year run as a college coach. He had successful stops as a line coach at both Penn State and Rutgers. His first job in the NFL was with Washington as tight ends coach followed by a three-year stay in Chicago. Pat has been the Giants line coach for nine years. One of the marks of a good coach is how he operates under adversity. Many times while in New York, Flaherty had to replace an injured starter/starters and keep winning. He has done this so successfully that often you don’t realize the starter is out. The Giants have won two Super Bowls since Flahery has been the line coach. It’s no coincidence!
Just as Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross will eventually land a General Manager position, so to will Pope and Flaherty eventually land themselves a head coaching position. In the mean time, the Giants (and their fans) should consider themselves lucky to have them.
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