SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The next stop for David Harris figures to be the Jets' Ring of Honor.

Harris, who spent 10 years as the anchor of the Jets defense before he was released last year, announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday afternoon. The 34-year-old inside linebacker ended his 11-year career through a short statement released by his agent on Twitter, less than three weeks after reaching the first Super Bowl of his career with the New England Patriots - although he wasn't activated for the game.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Will the Giants draft Saquon? 00:02:26
The Daily News Live crew debates if the Giants should draft running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the NFL draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: As the mock drafts start to come out, and the way-too-early guessing game begins, the Giants are widely believed to have two choices for the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Either they draft a quarterback or they draft Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

If only it were as simple as that.

That choice -- if that even is still the choice they have to make when the draft begins more than two months from now -- will still have more to do with their current quarterback situation than anything else. Yes, it will matter how they evaluate the top of the quarterback class. And yes, it will matter whether they think that Barkley is the best player in the draft...

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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When the Jets start their sales pitch to Kirk Cousins, he's going to want to know about more than just the size of their check. He's going to want to know, among other things, how they plan to protect him.

That's a project they can get started on right now.

The Jets should begin by re-signing center Wesley Johnson before the free-agent market opens on March 14, and solidify what was a young and better-than-you-think offensive line last season. Together with right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brandon Shell, it would give the Jets a strong young corps on the line to build around. And with two solid veterans on the left side -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard James Carpenter -- it's a line that could actually be pretty good.

Tags: Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Giants had only one player on their roster who knew what Pat Shurmur was like as a head coach. And now that player is set to return.

Veteran offensive lineman John Greco, who was with the Cleveland Browns during Shurmur's tenure there in 2011-12, re-signed with the Giants on Wednesday. The soon-to-be-33-year-old journeyman joined the Giants last November, when injuries were ripping apart their offensive line. He never started a game, but he added some much-needed depth.

That's likely why Greco is coming back in 2018, too. His signing won't necessarily help new GM Dave Gettleman achieve his goal of fixing the Giants' offensive line problem, but depth up front can be enormously important. Last season when the injuries started, the Giants' already-thin line was forced to turn to undrafted rookies like Chad Wheeler, players off their practice squad like Jon Halapio, or veterans off the street like Greco. They had to scramble for help, and the help they found wasn't always good...

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GEICO SportsNite: Cousins 00:02:18
The Jets hope to be in the mix to land highly touted free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to provide stability at the QB position.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire Jets offseason will be played out in the shadow of Kirk Cousins -- the biggest name on the free-agent market, and the franchise quarterback they so desperately need. And that's even true right now, as the NFL's 15-day "franchise tag" window opens on Tuesday.

The Jets aren't likely to use the tag, but the Washington Redskins are reportedly considering using it on Cousins.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.

The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.

The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent...

Tags: Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh (67) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh (67) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: One year from now, the "franchise tag" could be a source of great drama for the Giants if Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't have his mega-deal by then. If he doesn't, the Giants will surely tag him. And he surely won't be happy about it. He might not even sign it.

But that's a problem for 2019. Right now, the 15-day "franchise tag" period - which officially opened in the NFL on Tuesday - figures to be completely drama-free. The Giants seem to have only one player worthy of the "franchise tag" - guard Justin Pugh. And they aren't expected to use it, even on him.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants general manager, speaks after being introduced during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)  (Adam Hunger/AP)
Dave Gettleman, New York Giants general manager, speaks after being introduced during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (Adam Hunger/AP)

The Giants' head into the offseason unsure of what they really are. Two years ago they were an 11-5 playoff team. Last year they were a 3-13 mess with largely the same personnel.

Chances are the reality of the Giants is somewhere in between, which makes them a team like many others in the league: Talented, but flawed.

How they fix those flaws will determine how they fare in 2018 under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur. And as they get ready to begin their offseason overhaul, here's a look at their biggest needs:

Offensive line - This is everything for the Giants and the primary reason for their problems over the last six years. They need a total rebuild, especially with Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg headed to free agency...

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Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
Pat Shurmur holds a helmet after being introduced as head coach of the New York Giants during an NFL football news conference, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in East Rutherford , N.J. Shurmur, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, was announced as the new coach less than 24 hours after he and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchivePat Shurmur wasted no time at all assembling his coaching staff with the Giants, and on Thursday he made it all official when he announced the hiring of 16 assistants, including six that were holdovers from Ben McAdoo's staff.

The big names, of course, were offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who came from the Carolina Panthers, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who came from the Arizona Cardinals. Shula was the last coach to be added, and he'll not only help with the game planning -- as Shurmur calls his own plays -- but Shula will be the Giants' quarterbacks coach, too.

"He'll assume all the roles that any offensive coordinator would have," Shurmur said in a press release from the team. "And he'd obviously be in positon to call (plays), if need be."

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveBobby Hart, the tackle who was cut by the Giants in late-December after refusing to practice and play in the season finale, has found a "fresh start" in Cincinnati. And he's hoping the Bengals can help him reshape a tattered reputation he believes is unfair.

The 23-year-old Hart, in quotes released by his new team, didn't deny that he refused to take the field with the Giants in the final week of their miserable 3-13 season. Instead, according to the release, he said he believed "some" in the Giants organization agreed that he shouldn't play because he was still bothered by a nagging ankle injury.

Hart didn't say who agreed with him, but it clearly wasn't new GM Dave Gettleman, who green-lighted Hart's release on Dec. 30 -- just one day after Gettleman officially started his new job...

Tags: Bobby Hart, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Jennings 00:01:39
Former Giants running back Rashad Jennings handed out roses to lucky ladies in Times Square on Valentine's Day.

Nine of the Top 10 rushing teams in the NFL made the playoffs last season. All but one of the 12 playoff teams finished in the Top 15. And the playoffs were littered with star running backs, too, like Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, and super-rookies like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara.

If only the Giants had a running back like that.

Then again, maybe they do.

Tags: Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur hasn't announced his coaching staff yet, but less than a month after being hired as the new head coach of the Giants he has completely filled it, according to multiple sources and reports.

Here's a look at who will be joining Shurmur in New York (though keep in mind, no official announcements have been made yet):

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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are projected to have somewhere around $22-23 million in salary cap space when the free-agent signing period opens on March 14. That's "healthy" as assistant GM Kevin Abrams back in December.

And during the next month, the Giants could become even healthier than that...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, John Jerry, Ralph Vacchiano
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Did Giants settle for Shula? 00:02:50
The DNL panel discusses the Giants' hire of Mike Shula from the Carolina Panthers to coordinate Big Blue's offense with Pat Shurmur.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur was unable to land his top choice - and possibly choices - for offensive coordinator. Instead, he has turned to one of Dave Gettleman's guys.

Shurmur has hired former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula as his offensive coordinator, SNY confirmed. The 52-year-old Shula will also serve as the Giants quarterbacks coach, a source told SNY.

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New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One good thing about the Giants' miserable season and their recent run of (mostly) futility: They don't have a lot of free agents on their roster that they absolutely must sign.

They do have 25 players approaching free agency, though, and a little more than a month to make some decisions. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Brett Jones, Devon Kennard, D.J. Fluker, Geno Smith, Jay Bromley, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Keenan Robinson, Kerry Wynn, Mark Herzlich, Nat Berhe, Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, Tavarres King, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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Oct 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenjon Barner (38) and running back coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Oct 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenjon Barner (38) and running back coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants' search for an offensive coordinator isn't over yet.

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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions, but the world hasn't yet spun off its axis. So for now, at least, Super Bowl LIII is still scheduled to be played next year.

The Eagles, who were the worst team in the NFC East just one year ago, are clearly among the favorites to get back to the Super Bowl again. But is there any chance the Giants can pull off their worst-to-first trick, too?

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur has finalized most of his Giants coaching staff already, but one significant piece is still missing. And it's possible his search for an offensive coordinator will last into next week.

That's because Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is believed to be one of Shurmur's top targets, but he's also a candidate to get Shurmur's old job as Vikings offensive coordinator, too. Meanwhile, the Vikings are still interviewing candidates, and they appear to be interested in Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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Manning, Beckham star in ad 00:01:42
Eli Manning found a way to steal the show from Tom Brady again by appearing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. in an entertaining Super Bowl ad.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveIn the closing moments one of the best Super Bowl commercials in years, Odell Beckham, Jr. comes running into Eli Manning's arms and the Giants quarterback lifts his star (and injured) receiver high above his head. It was a near-perfect replica of Patrick Swayze lifting Jennifer Grey in the big finale of the 1987 movie "Dirty Dancing."

But was it real?
 

The short answer is: It was real enough...

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Eli Manning and Odell Beckham during preseason play Saturday. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham during preseason play Saturday. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Leave it to Eli Manning to steal the spotlight from Tom Brady in a Super Bowl again -- this time without even being there.

While Brady and the New England Patriots were losing Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. starred in one of the most popular and best Super Bowl commercials which aired during the game on NBC. It featured Manning and Beckham doing a choreographed touchdown celebration to the "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack, complete with some of that movie's most famous moves.

Manning did most of the wildest dancing, including a head-spinning and startlingly accurate homage to Patrick Swayze's dancing in the movie's final scene. He was also joined by some of his offensive linemen. Giants safety Landon Collins made a cameo appearance in the commercial for the NFL, too...

Tags: Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker, Eli Manning, John Jerry, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Loud Mouths on the Super Bowl 00:05:06
Chris Carlin and Jon Hein host Loud Mouths from the Mall of America to discuss the Super Bowl and how they think it will play out.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. the AFC Champion New England Patriots (15-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Thank goodness for domes! Outside the Super Bowl stadium the temperature won't even reach double digits, with a forecast high of 9 and a low of 0. Inside it'll be fine. Hopefully it'll be nice and toasty in front of your TV, too.

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Loud Mouths on the Super Bowl 00:05:06
Chris Carlin and Jon Hein host Loud Mouths from the Mall of America to discuss the Super Bowl and how they think it will play out.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. the AFC Champion New England Patriots (15-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Thank goodness for domes! Outside the Super Bowl stadium the temperature won't even reach double digits, with a forecast high of 9 and a low of 0. Inside it'll be fine. Hopefully it'll be nice and toasty in front of your TV, too.

Read More

Daily News Live: Jets 00:03:12
Manish Mehta joins Daily News Live and discusses the possibility that the Jets pursue quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It's been more than 10 years since Kirk Cousins last had a choice about where he wanted to play football. He chose Michigan State back then when he was coming out of high school.

The stakes are higher and much more complicated now.

The 29-year-old Cousins will be the marquee free agent on the NFL market this month -- an extremely rare franchise quarterback hitting free agency in his prime. The money will be enormous -- surely well over $100 million, with probably more than $75 million guaranteed. If the bidding gets fierce enough he could end up as the highest-paid player in the history of the league...

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveKirk Cousins will be the biggest name on the quarterback market this offseason. He will also be the most expensive -- and some would say, best -- option for the Jets.

But he won't be their only option in an offseason when a surprising number of quality quarterbacks will be available. As the Jets try to make their move out of 'Quarterback Hell' -- a place they've resided in for decades, really -- GM Mike Maccagnan will have a plethora of choices, and the tools (a high draft pick and oodles of cap room) to help the Jets get their man.

Whether it's through the draft, a trade, or free agency, there's no excuse for the Jets not to come out of this spring without their quarterback for at least the next five years or so. Here's a guide to the quarterbacks who will likely be available in the coming weeks...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Amber Searls)
(Amber Searls)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets' search for a franchise quarterback might have gotten a little bit easier on Tuesday night.

In a stunning move to kick off an offseason that has barely just begun, the Kansas City Chiefs traded quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, according to multiple reports. And that, of course, means that Washington has no need to keep Kirk Cousins, who will now become an unrestricted free agent on March 14.

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Dec 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against New York Giants during second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against New York Giants during second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is an inherent danger that teams searching for a quarterback always face. Choose the wrong guy, and the damage to a franchise can be severe and long-lasting. It was perfectly described last week by new Giants GM Dave Gettleman as "Quarterback Hell."

It's where the Jets have resided for far too many years...

Tags: Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 29, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 29, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman made it clear that one of his top priorities in rebuilding the Giants is to fix the broken offensive line. He told that to the coaches he interviewed too.

And "as soon as he said, 'Everything starts with the offensive line,'" that's the moment Pat Shurmur said he was sold.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Brett Jones, Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

New Giants coach Pat Shurmur has had his first conversation with Odell Beckham Jr., and he came away convinced that the star receiver was "inspired" to have a bounce-back year.

That's at least a good first sign at the start of one of the most anticipated player-coach relationships in the Shurmur Era. The new Giants coach has said repeatedly that he wants to sit and talk with Beckham, and get to know him before he makes any judgements on his often-controversial behavior.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants new head coach Pat Shurmur answers questions from media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants new head coach Pat Shurmur answers questions from media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the Giants began their search for a new coach, there were candidates they knew far better than Pat Shurmur, and at least a couple who were much bigger names. Shurmur entered the field as a long shot only because the Giants didn't really know a lot about him.

All it took was one interview, though, and they were sold.

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Aug 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Davis Webb (5) during a preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Davis Webb (5) during a preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the Giants drafted Davis Webb in the third round last spring, they believed there was a chance he'd be their Quarterback of the Future.

Now, thanks to how the Giants handled him last season, it's hard to see how that's still possible at all.

Tags: Davis Webb, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; (From left to right) New York Giants executive vice president Steve Tish with new head coach Pat Shurmur and owner John Mara during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; (From left to right) New York Giants executive vice president Steve Tish with new head coach Pat Shurmur and owner John Mara during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A new coach is supposed to be a beacon of light for a struggling franchise - a reason to believe in brighter days ahead. So it didn't seem like a good omen when, just 25 seconds after Pat Shurmur was introduced as the new head coach of the Giants, the lights in the auditorium suddenly went off.

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Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants new head coach Pat Shurmur answers questions from media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jan 26, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants new head coach Pat Shurmur answers questions from media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pat Shurmur will call his own plays on offense for the Giants. He just won't run the offense alone.

Though Shurmur will have the play sheet in front of him on the sidelines and will make the big decisions, he does intend to hire an offensive coordinator.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pat Shurmur has been described by the people that hired him as "an adult," "a professional football coach," "mature," and "a presence."

He'll need to be all that if he wants to gain control of a Giants locker room that sometimes seemed more like a day-care center last season.

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Aug 31, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Aug 31, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Pat Shurmur looked at the Arizona Cardinals defense, he saw they were stingy, aggressive, and stout against the run. So when their defensive coordinator became available, he made the easy and obvious choice.

Tags: Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Giants have said for years that they needed Odell Beckham Jr. to grow up and show some maturity.

Now it sounds like he'll have to do that for real if he wants to get paid.

That was the not-so-subtle message coming out of the Giants' introductory press conference for new coach Pat Shurmur on Friday. Shurmur had high praise for Beckham the player, of course, but also said he has a "zero tolerance" for players who, among other things "show a lack of respect."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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SNY Exclusive: Pat Shurmur 00:01:47
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano chats with Giants head coach Pat Shurmur about Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Eli Manning was unceremoniously benched in early-December, it looked like the end was near for his era in New York.

Now it sounds like Manning's career is picking up a second wind.

If there's one thing that was made crystal clear on Friday, as the Giants introduced Pat Shurmur as their new head coach, it's that the Giants are all-in on their 37-year-old quarterback. And that's not just for the 2018 season either.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur celebrates after the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur celebrates after the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Pat Shurmur's big moment in the spotlight will come at 11 a.m. Friday, when he gets his lone chance to make a first impression on New York. And while that impression may not matter nearly as much as how much he wins in the next few seasons, it's still important and many people will be watching.

Will he take charge with a Patton-style speech like Tom Coughlin did 14 years ago? Or will he become the punchline for the internet like Ben McAdoo did two years ago when he showed up in his oversized suit?...

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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur celebrates after the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur celebrates after the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Pat Shurmur's big moment in the spotlight will come at 11 a.m. Friday, when he gets his lone chance to make a first impression on New York. And while that impression may not matter nearly as much as how much he wins in the next few seasons, it's still important and many people will be watching.

Will he take charge with a Patton-style speech like Tom Coughlin did 14 years ago? Or will he become the punchline for the internet like Ben McAdoo did two years ago when he showed up in his oversized suit?...

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Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

One of the many things that undermined Ben McAdoo's tenure with the Giants was his attempt to be a head coach and call the offensive plays at the same time.

Apparently, Pat Shurmur is going to try to do that double-duty, too.

That has been expected since Shurmur was revealed to be the new head coach of the Giants, but it was confirmed (pretty much) by Giants GM Dave Gettleman at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Wednesday. He said that based on his interview and conversations with his 52-year-old coach, he expects Shurmur will be the Giants' play caller.

"I believe so, yes," Gettleman said...

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Dave Gettleman made it clear that one of the biggest reasons he hired Pat Shurmur to be the Giants' next head coach is because the 52-year-old is "an adult".

And yes, that certainly sounds like a subtle dig at former Giants coach Ben McAdoo, and maybe even a couple of the other candidates that were high on the Giants' list.

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Oct 22, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 22, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Pat Shurmur told the Giants that he believes he can win with Eli Manning as his quarterback, which is exactly what his soon-to-be new bosses wanted to hear. They don't believe Manning is finished. They also don't know who'll replace him when he is.

So the only thing that makes sense -- the only thing that ever made sense -- is for Manning to return as the Giants' starting quarterback in 2018. And if GM Dave Gettleman puts the right team around him -- and the right offensive line in front of him -- there's absolutely no reason to think that the 37-year-old Manning can't win.

That, of course, is exactly what the Giants plan to do, according to multiple sources familiar with the plan. The Giants will build around Manning in the short-term - as Gettleman confirmed to reporters at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. on Wednesday afternoon. At the same time, the Giants will groom his successor for the long-term. And whether that successor is Davis Webb, their third-round pick from a year ago, or a quarterback they take with the No. 2 pick in the draft, that's still to be determined...

Tags: Davis Webb, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brian Losness)
(Brian Losness)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A year ago, after his first year as a starting quarterback at Wyoming, Josh Allen took a summer job as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, Louisiana. It was his first job working alongside Eli Manning.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) (Bruce Kluckhohn/AP)
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) (Bruce Kluckhohn/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Shortly after the Giants began their head coaching search, a team source described the pool of candidates as "uninspiring." That wasn't an indictment on their abililties. Their names just didn't generate any buzz.

But just because there was no Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, or Jon Gruden in the (realistic) group doesn't mean the Giants didn't pick a winner. Pat Shurmur, as dull as the hiring may seem, might just be the right guy to turn the Giants around.

Shurmur was officially named the Giants' head coach on Monday, and will be introduced on Friday. And while he doesn't come with a handful of Super Bowl rings, TV fame, or a Q rating, he comes with plenty of experience and a trail of NFL success. He may seem like a bland choice based on name recognition, but he's a far better choice than the man he's replacing...

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