Shula is familiar to general manager Dave Gettleman. He was the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator while Gettleman was general manager. Shula was fired by the Panthers two days after their Wild Card loss to the New Orleans Saints. He was replaced by Norv Turner.
The Giants were denied the opportunity to interview Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski and head coach Pat Shurmur worked together in Minnesota when Shurmur was the offensive coordinator.
The Shula hire was first reported by the NFL Network and confirmed by ESPN.
Shula’s father, Don, is the NFL’s all-time winningest head coach. He was a three-year starter at quarterback at the University of Alabama (1983-86). Shula entered the coaching ranks after spending one season (1987) in the NFL. He was an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1988-90) and on his father’s Miami Dolphins coaching staff (1991-92).
Shula spent three seasons with the Chicago Bears as a tight ends coach (1993-95) before returning to the Buccaneers as offensive coordinator (1996-99). Although the Buccaneers reached the NFC Championship Game in 1999, the offense was never ranked higher than 22nd overall. Shula was fired by the Buccaneers after the 1999 season.
Shula returned to the Dolphins as a quarterbacks coach. After three seasons (2000-02), he returned to his alma mater to accept their head coaching position. Shula’s Alabama tenure was marred by NCAA sanctions that eventually led to 16 of his victories being vacated. In addition, the teams Shula fielded were not good by Crimson Tide standards and neither was their performance.
Shula was fired after the 2006 Iron Bowl game with in-state rival Auburn with the regular season finale and the Independence Bowl still on the schedule. He was replaced by Nick Saban, who has won five National Championships as Crimson Tide head coach. Shula’s record at Alabama was 26-23 overall (10-23 after vacated wins), 13-19 conference (5-19 after vacated wins), 1-1 bowl games.
Shula, who was paid $4 million by the Crimson Tide when he was fired, returned to the NFL as a quarterbacks coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-10). He worked extensively with David Garrard, who went from a fourth-round pick to the team’s starter in his rookie season.
Garrard was 9-3 in his rookie season, throwing 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His 102.2 passer rating was the third highest in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 200 passing attempts, behind only the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger. Garrard was named to his only Pro Bowl (2009) under Shula’s tutelage.
Shula joined the Panthers as a quarterbacks coach in 2011. His primary mandate was working with their No. 1 overall draft pick: quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 400 yards in his first NFL game (422). He also shattered Otto Graham’s 61-year old record for passing yards by a quarterback in their NFL debut (Graham threw for 346 yards in his NFL debut for the Cleveland Browns in 1950). Newton finished his rookie season as the first rookie quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards (4,051), the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season (14), and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Shula was named offensive coordinator in 2013. In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season. He also became the only quarterback with 300 yards passing, five touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. Newton was named NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, leading the Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl 50.
Shula’s Panthers tenure is mixed. The Panthers ranked first overall in points (31.2 points per game) during their 2015 Super Bowl season but the offense was largely average with Shula calling the shots: 18th overall in 2013 (22.9 points per game), 19th overall in 2014 (21.2 points per game), and 15th overall in 2016 (23.1 points per game).
The Panthers ranked 12th overall in 2017 with 22.7 points per game. They may as well have been the 2007 Patriots or 2013 Denver Broncos when compared to the Giants under the previous regime. The Giants only managed 19.4 points per game in 2016. The offense sank lower in 2017: 15.4 points per game, worst in the NFC and second to only the 0-16 Browns.