Pat Shurmur might not be the hottest assistant coach on the NFL's head coaching market, but NFL writers around the country have voted him the best.
Shurmur, the current Vikings offensive coordinator who will likely soon be the next head coach of the Giants, was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year on Thursday in a vote by the Pro Football Writers of America. He earned the award by directing an offense that lost its starting quarterback and running back early in the season but still ranked 10th in the league in scoring and 11th overall.
Under his watch, journeyman quarterback Case Keenum had a career season to help the Vikings to a 13-3 record and berth in the NFC championship game.
Those, of course, are among the many reasons why the Giants are "likely" to make him their new head coach, according to sources. They watched as he succeeded despite being without quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, and how he somehow turned the Vikings into one of the best running teams in the NFL even though they lost dynamic rookie running back Dalvin Cook early in the year.
The Giants are expected to have a second meeting with Shurmur early next week, according to a source -- perhaps as early as Monday. If the Vikings lose in the NFC championship in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Giants could immediately offer him their job. If the Vikings win and move on to Super Bowl LII, they can still conduct a second interview with Shurmur, but no offers or agreements can be made.
Assuming the Giants do hire Shurmur, they will hope he joins a long list of winners of the PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year award who went on to be successful head coaches. The list includes Pete Carroll (1995), John Fox (1997), Brian Billick (1998), Marvin Lewis (2000), Ron Rivera (2005), Rex Ryan (2006), Jason Garrett (2007), Mike Zimmer (2009), Bruce Arians (2012), Todd Bowles (2014) and Kyle Shanahan (2016).