New York Giants: Philly writer sandbags Pat Shurmur


With Big Blue seemingly set to hire Minnesota Viking coordinator Pat Shurmur as head coach, it was time for the fourth estate to weigh in.

Unfortunately for Elliot Shorr-Parks, he didn’t learn from the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta’s hatchet job of Doug Marrone in 2015. If you haven’t read that piece, invest a couple moments of your time  to see journalism at its worst. Just like Mehta did two years ago, Shorr-Parks of NJ Advance Media, came out with his “opinion” before the New York Giants officially hired Shurmur. Which means that Shurmur was convicted before he even committed the crime!

Past performance is no indication of future results.

This week, Marrone’s team plays in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, Pat Shurmur will be calling the plays for the Minnesota Vikings as they face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. That game will decide NFC supremacy.

Yet according to Mehta and Shorr-Parks, neither coach is an inspirational leader. So it’s anyone’s guess, how Marrone ended up in a title game. And how Shurmur could actually end up being the New York Giants head coach.

These games are mentioned in order to provide context to this discussion.

In reality, both articles represent a cut and paste job of two careers, and each column views events from a vacuum. Neither writer had a view behind the curtain, so the value judgments they make, are unproven – at best.

Apples to Apples

Like Mehta, Shorr-Parks goes down a dangerous and unfair path of predicting a coach’s future. In Mehta’s case, he used unnamed sources. Shorr-Parks uses his own personal lens to predict the future.

According to NJ Advance Media, he wrote:

"“During his time with the Eagles, [Shurmur] never displayed the kind of attitude or charisma you would want to see from a head coach tasked with turning around a franchise. He didn’t get the quarterbacks on the roster to improve. He was part of Kelly’s sinking ship.”"

New York Giants
New York Giants /

New York Giants

Understand this, coaches are like players – no two are alike. As journalists, we try to report fairly, and for players, that’s an easier task. We have statistics and results to rely upon. Pivoting to coaches, that’s more of a challenge. Can you imagine a similar piece written about Ben McAdoo before he was hired? The answer to that questions is a resounding – no. The reason for that is because there really wasn’t much tangible experience for anyone to rely upon.

Shurmur has a decade + of more experience than McAdoo, and in the football world that has to be viewed as a positive. That is – if the coach in questions learns from past experience. Shurmur’s two seasons with the Cleveland Browns has to be viewed differently than McAdoo’s two seasons with the G-Men.

Hue Jackson, head coach of the Cleveland Browns, is another example of giving context to someone’s career. Is his win – loss record indicative of his abilities as head coach? Clearly, with a franchise devoid of talent, like the Browns are, wins cannot be the sole determining factor.

Lacking Context

The slope gets more slippery when talking about assistant coaches. And for Shorr-Parks to make iron-clad pronouncements that uses Shurmur’s assistant coaching experience and then projects that onto him in a head coaching job creates bad optics. One painful example from his recent article includes:

"“As a leader and motivator, however, it is tough to see him inspiring much confidence.”"

The only basis to form this opinion is the writer’s view from afar. It’s almost worse than utilizing an unnamed source. To be blunt, Shorr-Parks knows nothing about how Shurmur operated “behind the scenes”. Nor can Shorr-Parks predict the future, and there are plenty of head coaches who grew into their positions. Giants fans have to look no further than the great Bill Parcells. Using this soapbox, readers have to question whether or not Shorr-Parks criticism appears “personal”.

In the end, Shurmur might become a great head coach, or he may be ineffective. One thing that cannot be questioned – he certainly has earned the right to manage the New York Giants, if hired. Right now, he doesn’t deserve to be criticized through cutting and pasting individual events from his tenure in Philadelphia. No one, including Eliot Shorr-Parks, knows what went on behind the scenes in Philadelphia, and this type of speculation only creates animosity.

Today’s society seemingly cannot wait for events to play out. Like many things today, Shorr-Parks article creates a narrative before an event or events play out. Editors would be wise to keep these articles in moth balls in the future.