The New York Football Giants defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, has only been with the organization since 2010. He won a Super Bowl with the team in 2011, but has watched players like Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora go from being his featured weapons to players giving it all for new coaches and teams moving forward.
When it comes to Perry Fewell, most people know that he was the Bills Interim Head Coach in 2009, but how many know he also worked with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville as the defensive backs coach — where Coughlin and Fewell took an expansion team to the AFC Championship game twice.
That was Perry’s first NFL coaching job in 1998, launching a career that has spun the defensive minded leader around the league to study the Art and Science of football DEFENSE. He did so for almost a decade before reuniting with Tom Coughlin, accompanied with more responsibility, and ultimately winning the Lombardi Trophy during the 2011 season.
Perry Fewell didn’t just magically appear in the NFL’s coaching ranks in the 1990′s… the guy was everywhere in the college ranks. According to his Giants.com bio, Perry Fewell spent well over a decade learning how to coach at several prominent schools and even was inducted into two separate Hall of Fame’s:
Fewell was a collegiate coach for 13 years prior to entering the NFL. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina in 1985 and 1986. Fewell was the defensive backs coach at Army in 1987. The following year, he began a four-year stint as the wide receivers coach at Kent State University. In 1992, he returned to West Point, where he spent three seasons as the defensive line coach. Fewell’s final college job was at Vanderbilt University, where he coached the secondary from 1995-97 and was also assistant head coach in his final season there.
During the 2012 playoffs, even the media took notice of how Fewell yelled at the players, highlighting his use of ‘jeez oh Pete!’, in a NY Times piece titled, As Critics Howled, a Coach Didn’t Curse His Lot:
Despite their recent success, the Giants have struggled at times against pass-heavy attacks — most notably in consecutive weeks against the New Orleans Saints and the Packers. The blowout loss to the Saints, in particular, was one of the rare times Fewell’s upbeat demeanor splintered and he excoriated his players.
But Fewell’s rants are not vulgar. As a defensive assistant at Kent State from 1988 to ’91, Fewell worked under the defensive coordinator Chris Smeland, whom Fewell said used an expression he remembered as “jeez minetti!” to show frustration.
The theme of the article focused on Fewell and his relationship with the players, and it’s important to note that the players spoke only fondly about him. Early in the piece it’s suggested that Perry was criticized heavily for the Giants early failures in the 2011 season, but Mathias Kiwanuka suggested Fewell was instead the reason for the success:
“He didn’t deserve it, not even a little,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “To have a game like last week? It made all of us feel good for him because he has been working all year.”
Now… going back and looking at the results, it’s obvious the New York Football Giants did in fact do better the next week. And in fact became champions of the world. However, that was a few years ago, and how many years can the city that never sleeps keep dreaming about Perry Fewell’s past glory?
The answer to that question is: not long. In the Giants history, when the team has struggled, whether it was after a Super Bowl win or not, the fans and media want to win again. It’s just the way it works. The Giants have been around since the 1920′s and they’ve been involved in 20 world championships — winning eight. Success is expected. With Perry Fewell, however, success was delivered. This season, it’s vital for the defense to continue to work to Fewell’s accredited strengths.
Fewell and company understand that WIN doesn’t come from reproducing failure. The question is, can the GIANTS and Perry Fewell duplicate success?